Born in The Hague, Gerard van Straaten was the brother of famous Dutch cartoonist Peter van Straaten. Although mainly an illustrator, he was active in the comics field between 1948 and 1978. Van Straaten studied art in Arnhem and worked for a the Pätz advertising firm in Amsterdam, before joining the Toonder Studios. There, he drew backgrounds at the animation department, but he also made illustrations and comics for Tom Poes Weekblad. His first comic work was the text strip 'Rex Rijvers' for newspaper Het Vrije Volk in 1948. This was followed by 'Pedro de Candia' in De Tijd and 'Marco Polo', which he took over from Cees van de Weert, in Tom Poes Weekblad in the following year.
Using the pseudonym Sidoan, Van Straaten made several advertising strips during the 1950s. He made 'Stuurman Steven' for Niemeyer Shag (1951) and 'De Avonturen van Bert en Bettie Brinta' for Brinta porridge (1956, with text by A.D. Hildebrand). As a comic artist, he is probably best-known for his work for magazine Ping, a publication of the Rabobank. Using pen names like Mannus and Sidoan, Van Straaten drew the comics 'Ping Li-Ping, de Keizerlijke Schatbewaarder', 'Ruimtepatrouille SP-3' and 'Buffalo Kid' from scripts by Harry Baljet between 1967 and 1978.
De avonturen van Bert en Bettie Brinta
Van Straaten started working for publisher Kluitman in 1953. He is best known as the illustrator of the famous children's book series 'De Kameleon' by Hotze de Roos, but he has also illustrated 'Swiebertje' and 'Bakkertje Deeg' books. In addition, he made illustrations for text stories published in magazines like Tom Poes Weekblad, Ketelbinkiekrant/Rob's Vrienden, Pep and Donald Duck. He also illustrated serials in the women's weekly Libelle under the pseudonym Bianca. Gerard van Straaten continued to make illustrations for Kluitman until the late 1990s.
He returned to comics in 1982 when he chronicled the experiences of sailor Eilco Kasemier and his trips with his sailing yacht Bylgia for Waterkampioen. The well-documented comic was also published in the German magazine Yacht, and in book format under the title 'Alleen rond de wereld'. Van Straaten also showcased his fascination for the sea and sailing yacht in his large oil paintings.