Jaap Vermeij was born in The Hague on 15 June 1947. Through his work at an advertising firm, he got in touch with Henk Kabos, who introduced him to Andries Brandt of the Toonder Studios in 1971. Vermeij and Brandt cooperated a couple of experimental comics, before creating the story 'Winny de Wilde' for girls' magazine Tina in 1973-1974. Vermeij also made the story 'Blik in het Paleouticum' with Jan van Erp for Baberiba. He drew two more stories, but these remained unpublished because the magazine was cancelled after only one issue.
He was hired by the studio of Richard Pakker in November 1974. Pakker provided the lettering and occasional retouching inking for all the comic magazines published by VNU/Oberon. Vermeij became a freelance advertising artist and illustrator in 1975. He made cartoons for the magazine Uitgaan, car-historical illustrations for Aktueel and Autovisie, and illustrations for writer Lulu Wang.