Karel Doruyter was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and immigrated to British Columbia in 1953 at the age of 12. After High School he attended UBC from 1961 to 1968, firstly in Fine Arts and Philosophy and then he continued in Social Psychology. During his student years he worked as a graphic artist and draughtsman to help pay for his education.
After university Karel spent a number of years working as an industrial psychologist in Canada and Australia where he became interested in boat building. He built his first boat in the 1960s, and several years later he moved to Australia and Tasmania where he took courses in boat design and boat building. This enabled him to travel to various parts of the world, from the arctic to Antarctica. Marine design, construction and sailing took him to different parts of the world. This helped him pursue his long life interest in painting and drawing, finally making it his career in the early 90's. Much of that time was spent in Haida Gwaii where he lived for 9 years immersed in their art and tales. One result of his stay was a comprehensive series of paintings based on the genocide of the indigenous peoples. These works can be seen at the Haida Gwaii Museum.
Karel developed his personal method of painting 10 years ago, when he was doing a specific group of works. He found initial attempts unsatisfactory, and wanted a more 3-dimensional look. He says it took a month to come up with the right mix of materials that worked equally well on canvas and wood. "It was fast setting and destructive testing proved that it stood up well to handling, etc". He is frequently asked to share his secret "product" for painting, but this is what makes his artwork special and unique. Karel has a son in Victoria and a daughter with three grandchildren on Gabriola Island.
Doruyter has had a large number of solo and group exhibitions in Canada, USA and Australia. He is a signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, the Island Illustrators Society and the Artists for Conservation. His paintings are sold internationally and can be found in both private and corporate collections. He has written and/or illustrated books, covers, periodicals and journals.