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Illustrator

Something About the Artist: Joe Weissmann


Photo of Illustrator Joe Weissmann

Joe was born in Austria and came to Canada when he was eleven. He is an illustrator who studied art at the Musée des beaux-arts and Concordia University, both in Montréal. He has worked for many publishers (books and magazines) in Canada and the United States and his books are sold internationally. His work leans towards cartoon and humour. He has also taught an illustration program for six years at Sheridan College in Ontario. Joe has always loved drawing and is always amazed at all the new stuff he gets to learn while doing research for his books. But most of all, seeing the end result is truly rewarding. He now lives in rural Ontario with his wife, two dogs and three cats.

His many books include the award winning The Bug Book and Bottle, The Bird Book and Feeder; Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and most recently, The Research Virtuoso, Three Tales of Adventure, Mummies, Monsters, Ghosts, and Magic.

Joe has received a Gold Award from the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications (CAPIC) for his mural/poster "A Star is Born", a Silver Award from CAPIC for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, an Award for Excellence from the magazine Applied Arts also for his mural/poster "A Star is Born." The Bug Book and Bottle received the Highest Rating and Best Bet award from the Canadian Toy Council. Mummies was nominated for the Silver Birch Award and the Red Cedar Award.

Publications

The Research Virtuoso: Brilliant Methods for Normal Brains. Written by the Toronto Public Library; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Annick Press, 2006

Three Tales of Adventure: Jack and the Beanstalk; The Steadfast Tin Soldier; Tom Thumb. Written by Marilyn Helmer; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Kids Can Press, 2004

Magic: A Strange Science Book. Written by Sylvia Funston; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Maple Tree Press, 2003

Monsters: A Strange Science Book. Written by Sylvia Funston; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Maple Tree Press, 2001

Mummies: A Strange Science Book. Written by Sylvia Funston; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Maple Tree Press, 2000

Ghosts: A Strange Science Book. Written by Sylvia Funston; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Maple Tree Press, 2001

Truly Scary Stories for Fearless Kids. Illustrated by Bill Slavin and Joe Weissmann. Key Porter Press, 1998

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Written by Simms Taback; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Prentice Hall Ginn Canada, 1996

Hickory Dickory Duck, and Other Quacky Nursery Rhyme Puzzles. Written by Pat Patterson; illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Greey de Pencier Books, 1981

Questions for the illustrator

1. Where do you get your ideas? Are there some things or places that you find particularly inspiring? Places I have been to and situations I have seen sometimes help with the ideas. I try to imagine what I am about to draw and then I try putting it down on paper. It does not always translate well but that is how it begins. The artwork of many painters and illustrators often come to mind and they are an inspiration to my work.

2. Where do you usually work and what is a typical day like for you? I work in a studio that is actually a barn. It has good space and lots of light. I work through the day but am often interrupted by two of my cats that keep jumping on my table and by my two dogs that want to play Frisbee. In between all the interruptions, I try to do my work.

3. When you draw, do you have some children in mind? Are you a father yourself? Rarely do I have a specific child in mind when I draw a character. The drawings are somewhat stylized and really the character is developed on paper. It is not anyone specific. I have a son and a daughter, they are now grown up and do not live at home anymore.

4. What subjects do you enjoy drawing the most? I love to draw animals like dogs, cats, mice, frogs, etc. I find I can exaggerate with them and get away with it.

5. What was your first book? Hickory Dickory Duck was my first children's book. It is a riddle book and was great fun doing.

6. What was your first published drawing? It was a drawing of McGill University for my high school paper. I remember drawing the building while standing outside in the cold.

7. Did you like to draw as a child? What did you draw, or like to draw as a child? As a child, I loved to draw especially on grey, rainy days. I could just create my own world on paper. I drew planes, trains, fields and animals. There was always a story I would create and draw.

8. What is your favourite book? I really loved The Lord of the Rings. I also love looking at all kinds of children's picture books and I collect them.

9. Do you have a favourite colour(s)? No, I do not have a favourite colour. All colours are good except for yellow-green. It is a difficult colour to work with.

10. Do you do any other types of drawings? Yes. I work for newspapers and magazines and these drawings are a bit more serious. I also paint-sometimes in the abstract and sometimes figuratively. Occasionally, I will draw my pets when they are sleeping.

11. What is your favourite comic book character? I do not know that I have a favourite comic book character but I do enjoy Wizard of Id, the humour of Larson and some characters created in the 1930s such as Crazy Cat.

 
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