'Olle Kapoen en de Gestolen Kroon' (1946-1947), artwork presumably by Richard Klokkers.

Richard Klokkers was a Dutch 20th-century comic artist and a longtime staff artist with the Dutch Toonder Studios. Employed from the early 1940s until the mid-1980s, he was an inker, colorist and occasional penciler on many of the studio's productions. These included Marten Toonder's newspaper comics 'Tom Poes', 'Kappie' and 'Panda', as well as the weekly 'Tom Poes' balloon comics for the magazines Donald Duck, Kleine Zondagsvriend and Revue. Between 1946 and 1955, Klokkers was a pencil artist on the studio's 'Olle Kapoen' strip, created and written by Marten Toonder's wife Phiny Dick. Richard Klokkers additionally worked on comic productions like 'Puk en Poppedijn', 'Aafje Anders', 'Arman en Ilva' and the Swedish 'Pelle Svanslös' strip.

Toonder Studios
Richard Klokkers was born in 1924 in Amsterdam. He studied to become a lithographer, and then worked at a printing firm. In 1943, he applied for a job with the Amsterdam-based Geesink-Toonder Tekenfilmproducties, led by Joop Geesink and Marten Toonder. They initially hired him as an apprentice without pay. Here Klokkers learned the tricks of the trade in the animation department, trained by studio co-workers Henk Kabos, Geertje Knoef and Cees van de Weert. At the time, the studio produced animated shorts for companies like the Dutch Railways and Philips. The team was also working on an animated film starring Marten Toonder's newspaper comic characters Tom Poes and Olivier B. Bommel. The project was never finished, but did help many of the studio's co-workers avoid being sent to Nazi Germany for forced labor. Toonder and Geesink eventually parted ways, and the company continued as solely the Toonder Studio's. Klokkers remained an employee for over fourty years, until his retirement in 1985.

Production artist at the comic department
Near the end of World War II, the Toonder team also contributed to the resistance movement. Klokkers took part in forging German stamps for falsified documents. After the war, he moved over to the comics division. Together with fellow staff artists Wim Lensen and Frits Godhelp, he did additional artwork on many of the company's newspaper comics, which at the time were mostly still personal creations by Marten Toonder. Unlike his colleagues, Klokkers never drew a strip of his own, but did work as either penciler, inker, background artist, letterer and colorist on nearly all the famous Toonder comics. Klokkers also did production work, which included reworking comic strips like 'Panda' and 'Kappie' from their original text comics format (with text underneath the images) into balloon comics for international syndication. One his first assignments in 1946 was joining Carol Voges in the inking of the third 'Robby' story, a funny animal creation of Hans G. Kresse.

'Olle Kapoen en Schuimpje Het Zeemeerminnetje' (1950), artwork presumably by Richard Klokkers.

Olle Kapoen
As a penciler, Klokkers illustrated many episodes of the 'Olle Kapoen' newspaper comic. Created and written by Marten Toonder's wife Phiny Dick, the series starred the gnome Olle Kapoen and his sluggish friend Puk Troffel who live in a forest world full of funny animal characters. Launched in Amsterdamsch Dagblad on 22 October 1945, the first three stories were written by Dick and illustrated by Coen van Hunnik. When Van Hunnik left the studio, the series went on a short break, only to return after a couple of months with Richard Klokkers as regular artist. By the time Klokkers took over, on 2 November 1946, the 'Olle Kapoen' comic appeared in Algemeen Handelsblad, where it remained until late October 1954. After that, it ran for little over another year in Het Binnenhof. Since all co-workers remained anonymous, identification of the artists can only be done through statements by former Toonder employees or carefully studying the art styles. Phiny Dick wrote at least the first six stories, after that amount her involvement remains cloudy. It is known that Klokkers drew many 'Olle Kapoen' stories, but other pencilers and inkers possibly worked on the feature as well. All in all, 'Olle Kapoen' remains the only Toonder comic on which Klokkers provided full story art.

'Tom Poes en de Toverleerling', published in Donald Duck #41 of 1955. Art attributed to Richard Klokkers and Wim Lensen.

Between 1947 and 1950, Klokkers assisted Marten Toonder on the inking of his signature newspaper comic, 'Tom Poes' ('Tom Puss'), which at the time was penciled by Ben van 't Klooster. Around 1950, he moved over to the 'Panda' comic, inking the pencil art of successively Ben van Voorn, Harry Hargreaves, Andries Brandt, Dick Matena, Terry Willers, Jan Steeman and Jan van Haasteren, until in 1970 Piet Wijn became the comic's sole artist. During the 1950s and 1960s, Richard Klokkers and his colleague Wim Lensen served as pencilers, inkers and colorists for the 'Tom Poes' weekly balloon comics that appeared in the magazines Donald Duck (1955-1968), Kleine Zondagsvriend (1955-1959) and Revue (1957-1966). Between 1957 and 1969, Klokkers was also the regular inker for 'Kappie', Marten Toonder's newspaper comic about a jolly tugboat captain, penciled by successively Ton Beek, Dick Vlottes, Fred Julsing, Jan van Haasteren, Terry Willers and artists from the Spanish Selecciones Illustradas agency. In addition, Richard Klokkers provided illustrations to Tom Poes Weekblad and the Belgian children's magazine Pum-Pum.

comic art by Richard Klokkers
Sample art for Richard Klokkers, printed in Stripschrift #86 (1976). Source unknown.

Nederhorst den Berg years
By the 1960s, Klokkers, Frits Godhelp and Wim Lensen were the only staff artists in the Toonder Studio's comic department. Whereas most of the other artists were freelance and working from home, the three staffers were stationed in the studio office itself. They remained with the company after Marten Toonder's move to Greystones, Ireland and the studio's subsequent move from Amsterdam to its new location in the castle of Nederhorst den Berg. While Toonder kept artistic control over his own creations, the daily management of the Toonder Studio's was transferred to Bert Kroon, while Andries Brandt became chief of the comics department. Meanwhile, Klokkers and his colleagues participated in many comics, also ones that were not created by Marten Toonder himself. During the late 1960s, early 1970s, Klokkers was one of the artists of 'Pelle Svanslös', an anthropomorphic cat character created by Gösta Knutsson, for which Semic Press in Sweden had placed an order with the Toonder Studio's for the creation gags and short stories.

Between 1972 and 1974, Richard Klokkers did the coloring of Piet Wijn's 'Puk en Poppedijn' comic for De Spiegel magazine, a task previously done by Wim Lensen. In that same period, Klokkers worked on the newspaper comic about the cheeky 'Aafje Anders' in De Telegraaf, a creation of Andries Brandt. At that point, the British artist Robert Hamilton was hired to replace Jan van Haasteren as the feature's lead artist. But to save on the expenses, Hamilton was only assigned to draw layouts and characters, while in-house artist Richard Klokkers did background art and inking. In 1975 and 1976, Klokkers also worked with Gerrit Stapel on the final five episodes of 'Arman en Ilva', a science-fiction newspaper comic created originally by writer Lo Hartog van Banda and Thé Tjong-Khing. While Stapel did the layouts and character art, Klokkers and his studio colleague Jaap Lamberton provided the backgrounds. Klokkers also wrote plot and dialogues for the 18th 'Arman & Ilva' episode, 'Onderzoek' - his only known writing credit for the studio.

Aafje Anders- 'De Zeepzieders' (1972), background art and ink by Richard Klokkers.

Closing of the comics department
By 1973, the Toonder Studio's comic productions were no longer profitable, and Bert Kroon decided to close down the comic division. With Wim Lensen retiring around the same period, Richard Klokkers and Frits Godhelp remained on the payroll to continue ongoing productions and provide artwork for commercial clients. They were joined in 1975 by a third artist, Jaap Lamberton. During this later period, Klokkers was tasked with applying the halftone screens in the daily episodes of 'Tom Poes' and 'Panda', which were at the time penciled by Piet Wijn. To complement his income, Klokkers did freelance work for the magazines of the VNU group. He drew the text comic 'Tijs' in Wij en Onze Kinderen, a magazine for young parents, and he did puzzle illustrations and colorizations for the toddlers' magazine Bobo.

Final years and death
In 1985, Klokkers retired from his dayjob at the Toonder Studio's. By then, only Frits Godhelp and Jaap Lamberton remained to work on the company's comic productions. By 1992, all series had come to an end, while Godhelp retired as well. Lamberton had passed away in the previous year. Richard Klokkers - who had lived in Castricum since 1953 - died in 1994, a month after his 70th birthday.

Richard Klokkers. 

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