History of Martin Leeuwis Publications
During my Royal Netherlands Air Force years, 1974 until 1984, I started a small company mainly for tax avoidance reasons. Initially the company name was MotUnltd but later the name was changed into Martin Leeuwis Import and Export. The products were many and varied but all were related to aviation. In those days we were selling printed t-shirts, embroidered (name) badges, sweaters, silver aircraft models, stickers, cotton jackets, aerial banner tows, etc, in the spare time the Air Force allowed me.
But our main product for quite some years were cartoon books from the USA. We were the representative for the whole of Europe for the books by Bob Stevens. “There I was” and “More there I was” with World War 2 stories and cartoons. His third book “If you read me, rock the tower” contained a lot of my contributions and this gave me an idea.
With a good cartoonist I could publish my own books, based on the humorous ideas I had or heard.
In 1982 my dreams came true. The Air Force was paying me a lot of money again at a contract end. The money was not immediately necessary as I was single and driving a Porsche anyhow, and I found Ton van Andel. Ton is a very nice guy and a brilliant cartoonist. He also had a lifetime of ideas for aviation cartoons ready in his scrapbooks.
At the end of 1982 “Say again” was published and the book was greeted with very positive reviews in aviation magazines allover the world. Compared with the sales from the US books this was much better and all other products from Martin Leeuwis Import and Export were dumped to concentrate on our own books only. The company name was now changed into Martin Leeuwis Publications.
Also, both Ton van Andel and Martin Leeuwis left the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Ton retired and became busier than ever before and Martin joined KLM to become a captain on Boeing B737.
Much sooner than expected the second printing of “Say again” was necessary and as questions about more books were asked we started working on successors. And keeping all books in print!
At this moment, 2021, Martin Leeuwis has published 30+ books and most remain available in shop!
Martin Leeuwis and Ton van Andel first met each other in 1982.
Ton van Andel started using the drawing pencil at a very young age, inspired by his father, a skilled draughtsman. From the beginning he liked sketching “funny faces”, and soon he began to specialize in cartoons. Another hobby, aviation, made him join the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1949. After serving in several operational units he became an electronics officer at the Air Staff in the Hague before retirement. Many of his cartoons have been published, but he likes aviation-related cartoons best. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has now published 35 calenders with his cartoons ! After his retirement he has been traveling in his home-built camper, teaching computer knowledge and of course drawing cartoons. Sadly, Ton has died a few years ago.
Martin Leeuwis, who was born after Ton joined the Air Force, dreamed about becoming a pilot, like all boys do. He started his flying training in Canada in 1973 and was the youngest pilot for a while in The Royal Netherlands Air Force. His operational unit was 314 Squadron at Eindhoven and he flew well over 2000 hours in the Northrop NF-5. In 1984 he changed into a civilian uniform and started flying the DC-9 with KLM, the Royal Dutch Airline. After a few years he transferred to Boeing 737-300/400/700/800/900 and has been captaining these aircraft since. The “Say …” business takes up some of his spare time but since 1982 there have been 4 changes of address and each change resulted in some major rebuilding work, a lot done personally, on the next house to fill the rest of the time available. Martin now lives with wife Cornelie and children Annebet and Maarten in an old farmhouse in Vlijmen, a small village near ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the southern part of theNetherlands. Recently he has retired from flying.