Tijs Wijs by Willy Smit

Willy Smit was a Dutch illustrator and newspaper comic artist, best known for drawing the text comic 'Tijs Wijs de Torenwachter'. She was born as Wilhelmina Marina Smit on 2 April 1901 in The Hague. Smit studied drawing in Haarlem, and published the booklets 'Dikkie en de Tooverketting' and 'Een uurtje in 't Dierenland' with publisher De Vlijt in Arnhem in 1933. She was making illustrated stories in rhyme for the children's section of De Telegraaf in the 1938-1944 period (inclusing serials like 'Pop Joosje' and 'De oude klok').

Naar de fotograaf by Willy Smit
De Telegraaf (20 August 1939)

Between 1940 and 1942, 'Tijs Wijs' was published in De Telegraaf, as well as De Courant Het Nieuws van den Dag, with text by Herman Looman. Four books with the character were published: 'Het Avontuur met Oebiranka, de Wonderpapegaai', 'Bolletje Bink en de Wonderdokter', 'Avonturen met een Tooverring' and 'De Blauwe Diamanten van Bagdad'. Because of illness, one 'Tijs Wijs' story was drawn by Marten Toonder. By 1944, some 'Tijs Wijs' serials also ran in regional papers like Dagblad van Noord-Brabant and Limburger Koerier.

Tijs Wijs advertisement

'Tijs Wijs' was so popular that a musical was made out of it in the early 1940s. Smit made drawings for magazines like Kiekeboe and De Merel, postcards, and for books by Mien Labberton, that were published by Van Gorcum & Co. in Assen. She passed away in Amersfoort on 15 December 1995. Since 2003 a street in the comics district of the city Almere has been named after her character 'Tijs Wijs'. 

Tijs Wijs by Willy Smit

More about the 'Tijs Wijs' play in de Stripgeschiedenis (in dutch)

Series and books by Willy Smit in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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