Jaap Kramer is one of Holland's best known illustrators of children's and educational books, but he has also drawn several comics throughout his career. Born in Bolsward, Frisia, into an artistic family, Kramer held several jobs before becoming an illustrator. He took a correspondence course in illustration and found employment with the Hallema en Molenaar advertising firm in Leeuwarden at the age of 16. During his military service, he made the strip 'Jim Burk', which he sold to in the Bolswards Nieuwsblad. He was then hired by Jan de Poel to work in his block illustration facotory in Groningen, also known as the Reco Studios. Through the studio, he made many illustrations, as well as the weekly comic 'Pig en Peg'.
After a job with the Oosterwijk & Oosterwijk advertising agency and an ill-fated attempt to start his own newspaper (De Favoriet), Kramer began to focus on book illustration. Kramer has worked for many publishers of school books, like Jacob Dijkstra, Wolters-Noordhoff and Kok. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, he was an illustrator for the Malmberg magazines Okki and Taptoe.
Kramer is best known as the illustrator of the children's books by Piet Prins, such as the famous series 'Snuf de Hond', 'Daan en Sietse' and 'Jeroen en Joost'. He is also the regular illustrator for such children's book authors as Bert Wiersema ('Chris en Jorieke', 'Logboek Lammers'), Gerbrand Fenijn ('Opstand op Texel'), Henk Koesveld ('De Zwarte Kaproenen', 'Rowan', 'De Houten Speelbal'), L. Vogel ('Onder Vuur', 'Post in de Boom'), Jannie Koetsier-Schokker, Hanny van de Steeg-Stolk ('Het Boek van Bertje'), Harry Marsman ('Niels'), "Oom" Niek van Noort (winterbooks and game books) and C. van Rijswijk. Throughout the years, he has illustrated over 550 books.
For many years, he additionally worked for Nederlands Dagblad and the Reformatorisch Dagblad. For these papers, he also made illustrations in the so-called Dutch comics format - short comic stories with the text below the images. Besides many funny children's comics, he also made the World War II comic 'Engeland Vaarders' with writer K. Norel (Reformatorisch Dagblad) and the series of historical comics about 'Maarten Meulenberg' with Piet Prins (Nederlands Dagblad). Also the children's book 'Evan de Fluitende Goudzoeker' by Gerbrand Fenijn was adapted into a comic by Kramer (Reformatorisch Dagblad, 1995). Other comic stories for Reformatorisch Dagblad include 'Scheepsmaat Woeltje' (by K. Norel) and 'Verzet, Verraad en Victorie' (by H. van Ravenswaay').
Kramer has also worked extensively for Christian publishers, like De Vuurbaak, Den Hertog, Kok, De Banier and Koster. He has illustrated children's Bibles, and contributed to magazines like Variant, Terdege, Gezinsgids and Onze Eigen Krant. For Terdege, Kramer also made a couple of historical comics, including 'Wat Is Er Gebeurd?' (1990), 'Karel de Grote in Gevaar' (1993) and 'Floris de Vijfde en Reinald de Rijmer' (1996), which were written by chief editor Peter Boer. Another historical comic by Kramer is 'Bren en de Romeinen', an album written by Henk Koesveld for De Vuurbaak. For the children's supplement of Terdege, called Junior, Kramer illustrated the stories of 'Tijs en Tineke', but also the funny animal comic 'Tim en Terry'.