“I strive to leave a lot out.”
Illustrator Jan Jutte strokes his beard as he browses through an art portfolio. He pulls out one beautiful drawing after another. We’re sitting in his large-windowed studio in Arnhem surrounded by various items including a stuffed alligator, Star Wars Lego and a stuffed fox that is wearing glasses! The three Golden Pencil awards he’s won during his illustrious career are nowhere to be seen, however. “Winning a prize doesn’t make your drawing any better,” he says.
His studio may be full, but his drawings are refreshingly sparse with unnecessary details kept to a minimum. In an interview with Jouke Akveld in 2011, Jan explained, “When I start drawing, I sometimes fall into the scratchy style I used to use. I don’t like details as they can quickly get messy and I don’t think I’m very good at them. That’s why I strive to leave a lot out. Once the shape has been formed, the styling begins. For me, a drawing has to be clear and powerful.”
His first work was for Annie M.G. Schmidt in 1983. Nowadays, he has a long list of children’s books to his name and he’s worked with Rindert Kromhout, Toon Tellegen, Mensje van Keulen, Paul van Loon and others. When we ask him what else he wants to do, “make theatre sets” is his quick reply. His graphic style is perfect for this. Jan likes to do things big and even monumental projects are not too big for him.