Joost Swarte is a Dutch designer, illustrator and architect, and one of the most famous comic artists in the world, even though he has not made that many actual comics. He studied at the Academy for Design in Eindhoven, at the same time illustrating for local papers and starting his own magazine: Modern Papier (which later merged with Tante Leny Presenteert).
Among his comic creations were 'Jopo de Pojo', 'Anton Makassar', 'De Blauwe Berbers', 'Caesar Soda', 'Toon en Toos Brodeloos' en 'Ben Cine'. He published his comic 'Katoen en Pinbal' in Jippo in the early seventies. In the USA, he worked for New York underground magazine RAW.
Not limiting himself to the comic genre, Joost Swarte developed himself as a successful designer, architect and stained-glass artist, always recognizable for his Clear Line (a term he introduced). His work has been exhibited all over Europe, and as co-owner of publishing company Oog & Blik he is responsible for the design of many Dutch prize-winning books. He was one of the founders of the Stripdagen in Haarlem, Holland's international comic convention, and of the Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve. Joost Swarte has established himself as an advocate of comics in the art scene.
Swarte's illustrations have appeared in magazines like Vrij Nederland (including 'Niet zo, maar zo', a series of illusive drawings) and HUMO (Belgium), as well as The New Yorker in the USA, for which he also made the strip 'We'll Make It'. Swarte also illustrated the Nescio three novels 'De uitvreter', 'Titaantjes' and 'Dichtertje'.
As a designer of furniture he is famous for his so-called 'carrot-table', a glass table held up by four big carrot-shaped legs. In architecture, he has made his mark by designing a theatre in Haarlem. He has applied himself to making stained glass artwork, which has been used in the design of several housing-blocks in Amsterdam, as well as a swimming pool in Breda.
In April 2004, Joost Swarte received a knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau from Her Majesty Beatrix, Queen of The Netherlands. He won the Marten Toonder Prize for his entire comics oeuvre in 2012. A compilation of most of his comics was published as 'Bijna Compleet' ('Nearly Complete') by Oog & Blik in 2011.
Lambiek will always be grateful to Swarte for illustrating the letter "K" in our encylopedia book, 'Wordt Vervolgd - Stripleksikon der Lage Landen', published in 1979.