John Kennis was born Johan Cornelis Joseph Kennis in Amsterdam, as the son of tailor. He lived in Bussum during World War II, and then moved in Blaricum and Amsterdam. In May 1945, John C. Kennis believed that people would more easily understand the war if its story was told in only one small book. So he wrote and illustrated 'De Sprinkgermanenplaag en de Stoute Dingen die Toontje deed'. It was written in rememberance of the five year occupation of The Netherlands by the German army. In his book, Kennis used a lot of code-words that were also used by the Dutch resistance during the war. Kennis also drew 'O, Dat Wintertje '45' under the pseudonym Van Ribbentel-Magerbuyk.
In addition, he drew illustrations, cartoons and the gag strip 'Piccolo Pietje' for the magazine Kiekeboe. Other strips for this magazine were 'Pietje Poppesnor' (signed with Dompey) and 'Kaatje Koekebier' (signed with Morton Mill). Around 1950, he drew several comics for Sparkrant. He was presumably the sole artist of the magazine Tommy Tip, that was published in Antwerp between 1945 and 1948 (about 7 issues). All of the strips and illustrations in this magazines were signed with "John" or "J.".
Krul, Sul en Bul, from Tommy Tip
The Kennis family owned a rental company for clothing in Amsterdam (and divisions in Belgium and Germany) from the 1950s throughout the 1980s. John Kennis was not involved in the family business, but he did illustrate the company's advertising folder. John Kennis was his artist's name, in everyday life he went by the name of Hans Kennis. His son Hans (b. 1946) is also an illustrator.
John Kennis biography