Jan Van der Veken studied graphic design and typography at the Sint- Lucas Institute (Ghent). He soon developed his own characteristic style, which was inspired by the Atom Style and with references to plastic art and especially pop art.
Like many of his contemporaries Jan’s first introduction to the world of illustration came from the great. “Being Belgian I grew up with comics like Tintin by Hergé andBlake and Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs – the really traditional stuff,” he says. “The Yellow Mark (one of Jacobs’ most celebrated works) in particular had a great influence on me. It’s likeTintin but more detailed and the atmosphere and the quality of the images are great, the storylines too. I was really influenced by all these things and eventually started to draw in this way.”
He looks for a balance between images and typography, text and images fade into one another. His use of colours is refined and his forms balance between taut and elegant. His work particularly shows the immense fun he has when he makes his drawings, his clear lines have a poetic effect and his austere drawings put a smile on the viewer’s face. He is a craftsman who makes the link between classic craftsmanship and renewal, his drawings are nostalgic but also contemporary.
Even when his subject matter is serious Jan manages to communicate it with a sense of optimism and wit. “I like to refer to Jacques Tati as one of my main influences as he’s a master in how he likes to frame things. Everything is well-timed and nothing is left to chance. He’s funny but not funny haha, like a stand-up comedian – it’s very introverted. I like this way of presenting life, with a quiet humour.” He is specialized in making book covers and posters, websites and he published work of his own, but also makes illustrations for several journals and magazines, such as the The New Yorker and, in Belgium, Humo and De Standaard.