Humpo Hotsflots by Siem Praamsma
Humpo Hotsflots (Leidsch Dagblad, 30 September 1946)

Simon Praamsma was born in 1921 in Amsterdam. In 1936-38, he attended the advertising department of the School for Applied Arts. Praamsma was a trumpet player, and really wanted to become a jazz musician, so he formed a Dixieland band, 'The Jam Fans', together with Piet van Elk, who played saxophone and clarinet. Van Elk was a great admirer of Walt Disney and Max Fleischer and had a few feet of animated film ('Popeye The Sailorman') which he and Praamsma carefully studied and analyzed.

Jochem Jofel
Jochem Jofel

Simon Praamsma was strongly attracted to the art of animation, and although his talent for drawing wasn't exceptionally great, he began his real career in 1942 at the Marten Toonder Studios. Here, he showed a natural talent for making drawings move, although Marten Toonder said about him: "Praamsma is a good animator, but he cannot draw", an understandable reaction from the Grand Master of Dutch comic strips.

Fred Flodder en Cor Cordaat, by Siem Praamsma

In spite of this handicap, in 1944 Praamsma sketched some strips which appeared directly after the war in De Waarheid newspaper in 1945, as the reluctant hero 'Jochem Jofel, wereldreiziger' (world traveler). A year later, he designed 'Humpo Hotsflots', the adventures of a very stupid fine arts painter, which appeard in some Dutch newspapers as 'Fred Flodder' and in Belgium as 'Piet Palet'.

De jacht op Lierens, by Siem Praamsma
De jacht op Lierens, a "beeldroman" by Siem Praamsma (1948)

Under his own steam, Praamsma published 'De Tweede Pimpernel', a series of "picture novels", or "beeldromans" (a word coined by him). In 1948, a year before his emigration to Australia, he wrote and drew 'Ootje Teur', a story about a writer with writers' block, who went out into the world in order to experience his own real adventures. In 1950, in Queensland, Australia, Praamsma worked for several years as a "Special Staff Artist" for the Brisbane Courier Mail newspaper, and also as a freelance commercial artist. In 1957, until his departure for the United States, he was an animator for Eric Porter Productions in Sydney, and worked on animated advertising films for television.

Ootje Teur (The Hunted Castle), by Siem Praamsma

In the USA, Simon Praamsma was appointed title painter at the Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1961, but after a few years, worked again as animator, on shows such as 'The Flintstones', 'Tom and Jerry', 'Johnny Quest', 'The Jetsons', 'Superman', 'Batman' and many others. At the age of 62, Praamsma retired from the industry, and since then spent his time travelling, painting, and writing, as a hobby. In an interview with Lambiek he claimed: "I always enjoyed writing and thinking up stories more than drawing." He lives in the town of Lake Elsinore, California, from 1996. Siem Praamsma passed away on 21 April 2016.

Jochem Jofel, by Siem Praamsma
Jochem Jofel

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