Jan Jutte – Biography  


1953 – Born in Arnhem, The Netherlands on 1 October.

1975 – Academy of Visual Arts, Arnhem, School of Drawing & Painting.

Worked under Bert Bouman, Johan de Haas and Friso Henstra among others.

1980 – Completion of degree in Drawing & Painting.

1980-1983 - Top-up course to earn first level teaching qualification in

Drawing and Art History.

1983 - present - Freelance illustrator.

1984-2000 – Drawing and Art History teacher at the Hendrik Pierson College in Zetten, the Netherlands.

1988-1992 – Illustration teacher at the Academy of Visual Arts, Arnhem.

1994 - Gouden Penseel (Golden Brush Award) for Lui, Lei, Enzo, (Rindert Kromhout).

1999 - Gouden Plaque (Golden Plaque) for Opstaan.

1999-2003 – Committee member of The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature.

2001- Golden Brush Award for Tien stoute katjes (Mensje van Keulen).

2003Schaap met laarsjes (Marritgen Matter) nominated for the Gouden Uil (Golden Owl)

2004 - Golden Brush Award for Een muts voor de maan (Sjoerd Kuyper)

2008 – Nominated for Golden Owl Youth Literature Prize 2008 for

Van mij en van jou  (Hans and Monique Hagen)



Jan Jutte 1985


In 1983 Jan completed his first assignment for Querido Press.

Het Beertje Pippeloentje, by A.M.G. Schmidt

He rapidly went on to illustrate more books, such as:

Toon Tellegen:  Er ging geen dag voorbij,  1984

Guus Ku
ijer: Tin Toeval en  de kunst van het verdwalen

Rindert Kromhout: Vannacht als iedereen slaapt , 1985




In 1991 Jan and writer Rindert Kromhout developed an idea for a book

about a man in a bear suit.

Rindert wrote the story Peppino, for which he won the Zilveren Griffel

(Silver Stylus) 1991 prize.


The book was translated and published in Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany and Korea.




Due to the success of Rindert and Jan's collaboration, they agreed to meet in Venice

to seek inspiration for another book.

In 1993, they published De Paljas en de Vuurvreter, a love story based on the

Commedia dell' Arte.


The Dutch children's television program Klokhuis  and a writing foundation that promotes reading and literature, the Schrijvers School Samenleving Foundation, made three episodes based on De paljas en de vuurvreter.

The episodes were also released on video.



A month later, their Lui, Lei, Enzo was published.

Jan's style of drawing began to change:

it became more free and the illustrations became simpler.

He left the dip pen behind and began to use paint brushes.
The result was a stronger, more defined line.

Lui, Lei, Enzo  won the Golden Brush award in 1994 (De Gouden Penseel).


In addition to his collaborations with Rindert,

Jan also collaborated with Mensje van Keulen and Sjoerd Kuyper.

In 1994 Jan illustrated  Het eiland Klaasje   by Sjoerd Kuyper.

Kuyper was awarded a Zilveren Griffel (Silver Stylus) prize for the book.




In 1997 Jan and his wife Nanouk devised the story Opstaan (Get Up!).

The story was based on their son Melle's ritual of going through the house

with horns and drums and waking up their house guests.

Jan's style of drawing began to incorporate the use of large colored or black backgrounds.

He adopted a page layout similar to a comic book, and started using other comic book elements,

like the use of letters and shapes to intensify the visual depiction of emotion and sound.

In 1999 Opstaan was selected for the Best Verzorgde Boeken

(The Best Dutch Book Designs)

and was featured in an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Opstaan won the Golden Plaque 1999 at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BiB).

In 2000 it was nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis

(German Youth Literature Award).

It was translated and published in Germany, France and Korea.  

KRO Broadcasting made an audiovisual adaptation of the book for the program Voorlezen.




A second picture book soon followed, Ruimtereis, published in 2001.


  Ruimtereis is about a little boy who takes a trip to the moon.

On the way he has exciting adventures on different planets, each one connected to the intense emotions of young children.

In this book the illustrations tell the story, the reader can fill in the details of how it unfolds however they like.

In order to narrate multiple events on a single page, Jan employed several comic book elements in Ruimtereis too.

Ruimtereis won the Pluim van de Maand (Feather of the Month children's book award) in April 2002.

KRO Broadcasting produced an animated version of the book for an episode of the program Mijn mooiste prentenboek (My Favorite Picture Book). It aired in 2004.




photo  Gerlinde de Geus



      Presentation of the Golden Brush Award 2001 for the illustrations in

Tien stoute katjes (by Mensje van Keulen)



Jan won the Golden Brush award for the second time for his illustrations in

Tien stoute katjes.

Old newspaper funny pages and comic strips from the 1950s formed the inspiration for this book.

The illustrations were also published in comic strip form in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.


Gouden Penseel 2004

      Een Muts voor de maan (by Sjoerd Kuyper)


In 2004 Jan was awarded a third Golden Brush!

New techniques in this work included the use of a paint roller and stencils, resulting in large, open surfaces.

Shapes were reduced to their bare essentials, creating a strong image free of excessive detail. 



sketch for the New Yorker


In 2005 Jan's work was selected for the exhibition

Dutch Treats:Contemporary Illustration from The Netherlands.

The exhibition was a great success.

In December 2005 it was moved to the  UBS Art Gallery in Manhattan, New York.

 Spring 2006: the exhibition was moved to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Following the success of the New York exhibition, the New Yorker asked Jan to make a number of sketches, and consequently was commissioned to illustrate a comic strip.  

During the same period, Jan also made various illustrations for a private client in New York.

In early 2007, one of the Penguin Group's imprints approached Jan to see if he would be interested in illustrating a picture book.

After this it was clear that Jan's work had found a place in the American market.





Spring 2007: the picture book Van mij en van jou was published.

The tone of the poems in this picture book, written by Hans and Monique van Hagen, is somewhat philosophical, which required Jan to adopt a different approach.


He started to leave out the black line and opt for painted illustrations. This technique gave the illustrations an aura that complemented the text better and made the book a unified whole.

In addition to illustrating books, in 2007 Jan also tried his hand in the theater, designing the set and the costumes for the Asko Ensemble's production of the children's opera Mandolino, and the set for Het feest van Sinterklaas (Santa Claus is Here) in Rotterdam's Ahoy stadium.  




During the rest of 2007 and early 2008 Jan was working on a new large picture book written by Barbara Joosse and published by Philomel Books (Penguin Group).




The title of the book is ROAWR!, published in 2009.

The Dutch translation, GRRAUW!, followed in Autumn 2009.

The illustrations in this book were selected for a prestigious illustration exhibition in New York,

The Society of Illustrator's Original Art Show 2009




In 2008 and 2009 Jan illustrated another Barbara Joosse picture book,

Sleepover at Gramma's House



The story is about a little girl who goes to visit her grandmother.

At Jan's request, the characters were turned into elephants.

The idea was to make them more universal so as to avoid problems that could arise from differences of race, gender, etc.

The book will be published in 2010.





 1994- Letterkundig Museum/KinderboekenMuseum-  part of the permanent collection.

1995 - Van Reekum Museum.

1996 - Gorcums Museum- Children's book illustrations, with 12 illustrators.

       1997 - Gemeentemuseum Helmond- Beestenboel, an exhibition about children's book illustrations.

1997 - Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

1997 - Göteborg- tentoonstelling over Nederlandse en Vlaamse illustratoren.

 1998 - Stedelijk Museum Zutphen- Kleng Pats Boem, illustrations by Jan Jutte.

1999 - Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

 1999 - Museum de Buitenplaats Eelde - children's book illustrations.

2000 - Historisch Museum Den Briel - Door bos en zee, an exhibition for children.

2000 - Stedelijk Museum, Dutch Oranges, fifty children's book illustrators from the Netherlands.

2000 - Letterkundig Museum - Rare vogels, vreemde vrienden. The books of Rindert Kromhout.

2000 - Kinderkunsthal - Van Boom naar Boom.

2002 - Kunstuitleen Alkmaar – Exhibition of children's book illustrators.

2003 - Galerie De Kapberg, Egmond a/d Hoef.

2003 - Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

2004-  Apeldoorns Museum - CODA Apeldoorn

2005- Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava

 2005- UBS Art Gallery, New York: Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration from the Netherlands.

2006- Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA: Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration from the   Netherlands.

2007- Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

 2007- Coda Apeldoorn, Book Week exhibition: Boeken vol geheimen.

2007/2008- Dutch Picture Books Illustrators Exhibition Japan.

2009- Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

2009- Society of Illustrators' Original Art Show 2009, New York





Publications (in Dutch)

2006- 8weekly: Een tekening kan de tekst doodslaan, door Eveline Bijlsma

2004 - Het financiële dagblad, 9 oktober, Rustplek, Jan Jutte, Winnaar Gouden Penseel.

2004 - De Stentor, 7 oktober, "Jan Jutte de jongenstekenaar".

2004 - Dagblad van het Noorden, 6 oktober "Mijn tekeningen worden steeds kaler".

2004 - Trouw, 5 oktober, Visie op 50 jaar kinderboeken

2001 - Trouw, 5 oktober, "Meeste schetsen gaan zo de houtkachel in".

2001 - Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 3 0ktober, "Jan Jutte nuchter over tweede Gouden Penseel".

2001 - Brabants Dagblad, 2 oktober, "Kon ik maar goed voetballen".

2001- de Gelderlander, 7 juni, "Illustrator Jan Jutte: tekenen zonder opsmuk".

1998 - Geldersch Dagblad, 19 december, "Heldere vormen, dikke lijnen".

1998 - De Gelderlander, 17 december, "Niet Goed? Weg ermee!"

1994 - PZC, 30 september, "Poeh is net zo boeiend als Picasso".

1994 - De Gelderlander, 5 oktober, "Het liefst werk ik op groot formaat".



      One of Jan's childhood drawings