22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sieb Posthuma

Portrait Sieb Posthuma
© Ellis Faas

Sieb Posthuma, illustrator, designer and author, was born in Rotterdam in 1960 and is one of the most versatile Dutch picture book artists. After graduating from the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam he began working as a graphic designer and illustrator for newspapers yet shifted more and more over to illustrating children’s books. His work ranges from political cartoons and film animation to picture books with his own texts as well as illustrations of works by Shakespeare, Cervantes, Thomas Mann and Annie M.G. Schmidt to designing logos, telephone cards, CDs and campaigns for charities. In 2000 he was honoured with the task of designing the children’s stamp for the Netherlands.

Sieb Posthuma’s literary début came in 2001 with his first picture book of the award-winning »Rintje« series (2001; Eng. »Benny«, 2003), in which he narrates the story of a white fox terrier with black floppy ears who lives out real children’s adventures together with his friends Tobias and Henriëtte. »Winnie the Pooh« and Posthuma’s dog Rintje were the models for the successful title figure. Using pictures that are sometimes framed and sometimes free-floating the illustrator conjures up a whole dog universe in luminous watercolors showing fine ink strokes, a universe based on man’s own. The three friends go to school together, go skateboarding, argue and make up, dream of becoming popstars and play »I see something you don’t«. With »Rintje« Sieb Posthuma created a headstrong character whose gestures and facial expressions capture the typical childhood moods of curiosity, playfulness and mischief. In response to the question as to why he brings his own dog into the picture, the artist replied: »All day long I see how he walks, watches and plays. He is a constant source of inspiration«. »Rintje« came out as a cartoon in the »NRC Handelsblad« and was further developed into a classical children’s book character in four subsequent texts for very young readers and picture books – now with his own website and regular fan mail. »Waar is Rintje?« (2005; t: Where is Rintje?) will be published in German in 2008.

In an additional picture book with his own text, »Mannetje Jas« (2006; t: Little coat man), Sieb Posthuma, whom the daily newspaper »Het Parool« calls a »magnificent illustrator [whose] picture books excel in expressiveness, atmosphere and use of colour«, tells the enchanting story of a man who permanently freezes. Sieb Posthuma has also worked, time and again, inspired by opera, ballet and theatre. After doing the illustrations for a picture book based on Sergei Prokofiev’s children’s ballet, »Peter en de Wolf« (2004; t: Peter and the wolf), he is currently at work on stage sets and costumes for Leo Délibes’ ballet »Coppélia«, which is to be performed by the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam in 2008.

In 1997 Sieb Posthuma was awarded the Silver Award by the American Society of Newspaper Design. He twice received the Prize for best book design (1994, 1999) as well as an honorary certificate from the Penseeljury (also twice, in 2002 and 2005). His drawings for the picture book »Feodoor heeft zeven zussen« (2006; t: Feodoor has seven sisters) recently received the Silver Brush in 2007. The illustrator, whose works have appeared in the USA, Japan, Brazil, Italy and Denmark, lives in Amsterdam.

© international literature festival berlin