Jan Van Der Veken is a Belgian illustrator, who just a few years ago was described as “The Best Illustrator You’ve Never Heard Of”. Now, his retro style, inspired by European comic strips of the 1950s, has made him one of the most sought after Belgian illustrators of today.
Born in Belgium’s port city, Ghent, in 1975, Van Der Veken is still living in his hometown. He studied graphic design and typography at the Sint-Lucas School of Architecture where Ever Meulen was one of his instructors. After graduating in 1999, he immediately settled himself as an independent artist working under the name Fabrica Grafica.
Van Der Veken specialises in book covers and posters and has illustrated for editorial, murals, stamps, record sleeves, logos, and lettering. Working for various newspapers and magazines including The New Yorker, his work explores contemporary and poignant themes including our changing relationship with technology, social interactions and professional environments.
Stylistically, Van Der Veken’s work distinctly belongs to the mid-twentieth century. It is heavily influenced by Atoomstijl (or Atomic style, an offshoot of Ligne claire), Art Deco, comics and Classic Modernism. He makes an effort to preserve an authentic feel by always inking traditionally before colouring in Photoshop. In the hands of Van Der Veken, the combination of traditional techniques and influences with modern references makes for dynamic, distinct, and dare I say, timeless illustrations.