Evert Kwok is the so-called cartoonist behind a series of humorous drawings, which have gained a huge online following. In reality, the Kwok persona is the joint signature of Eelke de Blouw and Tjarko Evenboer, two Dutchmen who run a graphic design agency together.

Early life
De Blouw was born in Laren on 10 June 1981 and raised in Zutphen. Evenboer was born on 9 April 1983 in Zwolle. The two attended the Baudartius College in Zutphen, and were housemates during their study in Communication at the NHL Hogeschool in Leeuwarden from 2000 to 2004. De Blouw and Evenboer began their graphic design agency Studio Vuurdoorn in Zutphen in February 2005. De Blouw specializes in graphic design and web design, while Evenboer is responsible for the illustrations and cartoons. The company moved to Amersfoort in 2012. Among their clients are Noordhoff Uitgevers, Highway Music, Malmberg, Q-Music, the city of Amersfoort and broadcasting company EO.

Evert Kwok
In their student days, the two began making cartoons together, as well as songs and short humorous films under the name "Spherixz & Zegho". By February 2003 they started using the Evert Kwok monicker for their cartoons, which they published online. The first website was registered under the free domain name evertkwok.tk, before turning to the more professional URL evertkwok.nl in November 2004. With his DIY approach and student-like type of humor, "Evert Kwok" was initially one of the many amateur cartoonists who tried his luck online. But unlike most of their contemporaries, De Blouw and Evenboer's project proved to be a mainstay. With its humor rooted in offbeat Dutch comic strips like Windig & De Jong's 'Heinz', Mark Retera's 'DirkJan' and Jean-Paul Arends' 'Scribbly', 'Evert Kwok' gained a large online following, especially with the arrival of social media. The drawing style remains simple, while the humor can be described as absurd, corny and dry. Most of the single panel cartoons are built around literal humor, wordplay and awkward situations. Besides many hidden banana's, there are no recurring characters or elements, although there have been regular guest appearances of Sesame Street's 'Big Bird', Walt Disney's 'Huey, Dewey and Louie', Jean Dulieu's 'Paulus de Boskabouter' and other well-known pop culture characters. Initially, writing and drawing the gags were a true team effort between Evenboer and De Blouw. By 2006 they settled on a more consistent division of labour. They still come up with the jokes together, but by now Evenboer does all of the artwork and De Blouw focuses on the social media activities, promotion and the other business aspects.

De Blouw and Evenboer publish a new 'Evert Kwok' cartoon on their website every week, which they later share on Twitter and Facebook. The publishing label Syndikaat has additionally released book collections of the cartoons since 2006. "Best of" collections were published by Van Gennep. Calendars and seasonal books have followed in later years, with the latter also containing puzzles and sequential comic pages starring 'Rechercheur Leo'. The cartoons have furthermore appeared in Algemeen Dagblad, Catawiki Magazine, WEET Magazine and in school books. The authors have also brought their absurd humor to the stage. Evert Kwok has appeared at the Oneliner Extravaganza in stand-up comedy stage Toomler, and on the Radio Veronica on the voice mail of radio host Michael Blijleven. He has also written one-liners for the BNN TV show 'Padoem Patsss' (2015).

The adventures of Detective Leo have appeared online and in the Evert Kwok Holidaybooks. The stories are drawn by Tjarko Evenboer and written by Evenboer, De Blouw and Marc de Lobie.

Online copying
The 'Evert Kwok' cartoons have become a popular social media phenomenon, and many have gone viral. This of course also has its downsides. Cartoons are often copied and shared without crediting the source. In July 2019 a Flemish humor page on Facebook shared one of Evert Kwok's cartoons and put its own logo in the top of the cartoon. When the authors requested to at least be credited, the page owner refused. As the discussion progressed into the realm of copyright, the annoyed and probably bored humor fan threatened to sue the two creators instead! The discussion almost became as absurd as the Kwok cartoon itself, and was hilariously summarized on the website The Best Social Media. The authors received ample support from their fans in the matter, including from Dutch comedian Jochem Myjer. By September 2019 the authors were encouraged by their fans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund a lawsuit against the joker, and thus make a general statement against online copyright abuse. The required amount was achieved within one day! A judge ruled in the cartoonists' favor on 13 November 2019. De Blouw en Evenboer, aka Evert Kwok, used their crowdfunding money to pay off the costs of the trial. They donated the remaining money to the Stichting Debutantenfonds Beeldverhaal ("Comics Debutant Fund Foundation"), a foundation which helps beginning comic authors.

Other activities
In addition to their graphic design studio and 'Evert Kwok' cartoons, Eelke de Blouw and Tjarko Evenboer have both written scripts for the Dutch Donald Duck weekly. They also sell shirts with awkward prints through t-shirttoko.nl. Their best-selling item is the "I Love London" shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it. Eelke de Blouw was one of the initiators and organizers of the alternative pop festival Peacedog, which was held in Ede between 2000 and 2006. Evenboer is active as a writer. He is the author of a study about the history of mankind through folk tales and myths from all over the world, published in the book 'De Wereldwijde Vloed, mythe of oergeschiedenis van de mensheid?' (Gideon, 2012). He has since then moved on to fiction, and has written the thrillers 'De Stenen Getuigen' (Gideon, 2016) and 'Vuurvliegen' (De Barbaar, 2019), which are still characterized by their scientific, historical and psychological background.




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