Jean de Mesmaeker, better known under the pseudonym Jidéhem, is best known for the lovely 'Sophie' series and his contributions to the 'Gaston Lagaffe' series. He made his debut at the age of 19 in Fernand Cheneval's Héroïc Albums with 'Ginger', a detective series à la Tillieux, that appeared from 1954 to 1956. When the magazine folded, Jidéhem tried his luck with the publishing house Dupuis and its magazine Spirou.
He became André Franquin's assistant in his atelier in the Avenue du Brésil in Brussels. He did the backgrounds on 'Spirou et Fantasio' from 1957. He also joined Franquin in the creation of the hilarious anti-hero 'Gaston Lagaffe'. Jidéhem did most of the artwork on the initial "half page" gags, until Franquin took over all the artwork in 1968. Jidéhem's father was the inspiration for one of the most legendary characters of the 'Gaston' series: the ill-tempered businessman De Mesmaeker, who always came to the offices to sign papers but always left in a rage.
In 1960 he was present in the advertising mini-comic Bonux-Boy with 'Joseph Tripotté', about a collector of oldtimers.
Jidéhem's talent for detailed technical drawings came out especially through his illustrations for Spirou's automobile section 'Starter', which he took over from Franquin in 1958. He used the 'Starter' character as the title hero of a comic series in 1959, when Starter made his appearance in the centrefold mini-book 'La Révolte des Autos'. More stories followed, although 'Starter' was soon reduced to a secondary character in favour of 'Sophie', the charming little daughter of an inventor, that was named after Jidéhem's daughter.
From then on, Jidéhem drew numerous long and short adventures of 'Sophie' for Spirou until the early 1990s. In the early 1980s, he additionally restarted the semi-realistic 'Ginger' comic for another five stories. He also did the backgrounds for two episodes of the 'Natacha' series by François Walthéry in the 1980s. Between 1990 and 1993, he drew some 'Chansons Cochonnes' for Éditions Top Game, and illustrated some chronicals in Auto Journal. Jidéhem drew one final 'Ginger' book for Éditions Joker in 2000.