Japie Eigenwijs by Wim Giesbers

Wim Giesbers was a Dutch animator and illustrator, who had a very short stint as a comic artist working with Jan Kruis. Together with him he made the children's riddle comic 'Japie Eigenwijs' (1962) for Olidin. 

Early life and career
Virtually nothing is known about Wim Giesbers' early life. The Rotterdam-based artist first came to notice in 1957, when he submitted several drawings to a contest held by newspaper Het Vrije Volk. He won a prize in April 1957, and was praised for his knowledge of perspective one week later (Het Vrije Volk, 20 April 1957). Het was 23 at the time, so his birth year is either 1933 or 1934.

Japie Eigenwijs
Giesbers assisted Kruis on several advertising projects for the Van Maanen agency in The Hague during the 1960s, alongside Jan van der Voo and Martin Lodewijk. One of his co-creations with Kruis was the comic 'Japie Eigenwijs', a riddle comic in which a smart kid solves a mystery. The strip ends with the question if the reader knows how Japie came up with the solution? The feature was created for Olidin, a promotional comic magazine produced by Van Maanen for petrol company Shell from 1958 to 1963. 'Japie Eigenwijs' appeared in the early 1960s, and was in a way the successor of the similar riddle comic 'Ben jij een goede detective?' by P. Visser. Other important contributors to Olidin were Emile BrumsteedeFrits GodhelpFriso Henstra, Niek Hiemstra, Hans G. Kresse, Jan Kruis, Ted Mathijsen, Joost Rietveld, Chris Roodbeen, Jan van der Voo, Dick Vlottes, Carol Voges, Joop Wiggers and Piet Wijn

Japie Eigenwijs by Wim Giesbers
'Japie Eigenwijs' (Olidin #12, 1962).

Later animation career
Giesbers later turned to animation, focusing on corporate films and commercials. He worked at the animation department of the Toonder Studios as a background and storyboard artist in 1964. In 1977, he provided the animated opening credits and promotional spots for the worker's broadcasting corporation VARA, which had just received a new design and house style by Swip Stolk and René Coelho. The more prominent role of the corporation's iconic rooster mascot caused quite some controversy at the time, mainly within the VARA ranks. One fear was that the animated animal would replace the human announcers. In her 'Sonja's Goed Nieuws Show' of 8 December 1978 VARA star presenter Sonja Barend called the creation "horrific". The whole matter was chronicled and exhibited in an exposition about Stolk and Coelho's work at the Groninger Museum in April 1979. Giesbers was also one of the animators of the 1987 'Home of the Future' campaign of Philips.

Wim Giesbers additionally provided the illustrations for a book with Chinese poems, published by Van Sijn & Zonen in Rotterdam in 1959. It contained translations of work by poets like Li-Tai Bo, Syn-yu-seng and Wang We. Little is known about his life since. 

One of the VARA spots featured an entire rooster choir. 

Series and books by Wim Giesbers you can order today:


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