Joost Swarte is best known for his clear line style of drawing. Other artists such as Herge had employed this style, but it was Swarte who coined the term.
He started drawing in the late sixties and in 1971, published his own comic magazine entitled MODERN PAPIER, despite the fact that his education was in industrial design. He attended the School of Industrial Design in Eindhoven in the south of Holland and was bored. He found the designs that were popular at that time where lacking in fantasy. He was far more interested in what was going on in the Underground comics movement. His heroes were Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, Justin Green and S. Clay Wilson.
Swarte's works include Katoen en Pinbal, Anton Makassar,Jopo de Pojo, Dr Ben Cine and Niet Zo, Maar Zo- Passi, Messa. He is famous for his magazine covers, stamps, posters, cards, and CD covers. Jopo de Pojo is a project that started as a dream of Swarte's to make a musical album, when he sang in a rock band.
It was in 1980, when Swarte took part for the first time in the international comic show in Angouleme, France, that he first gained international recognition. His comics have been translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian and German. Beside comics and graphic design work, Swarte has also designed fonts, furniture, stained glass windows and murals. He even designed a theater building, De Toneelschuur, for his hometown of Haarlem. In recent years, Swarte has created many illustrations for the NEW YORKER magazine.