Illustrator Feature: Joe Weissmann

In Harry’s Hiccups, written by children’s literature legend Jean Little and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Joe Weissmann, Harry is afflicted with a case of the hopeless hiccups. He tries drinking a glass of water upside down, he tries putting an ice-cold key down his back, he gleefully tries eating a spoonful of sugar. But nothing works! It’s not until Harry has a surprise encounter with a different sort of neighbor that it seems like Harry might finally get some relief…hiccup, hiccup

 

Can you tell us about the illustration style of your book? How did you decide what it would be?

I decided to use acrylic paint to allow for a bit of texture here and there and the colors are so yummy. You can easily paint over mistakes or when you change your mind. It also drys very quickly which allows me to move on with the painting.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I love working with acrylic and also water color. Both mediums are relatively quick and there are wonderful colors available.

What are your favorite ways to procrastinate?

To be honest, I am a world class procrastinator which is not a great thing. I always find things that get in the way of work such as gardening, cycling and fishing. But when I do get to work, there is no stopping me! Unless there is gardening, cycling or fishing of course…

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Where do you do your illustrations? What would be your ideal place to work?

I live in the country and have an ideal place to work. My studio is an old barn that used to be a chicken coop. It has heat, good lighting and lots of space. You cannot get much better.

What is your favorite spread in your book?

I particularly like the last page with all the frogs just because it was so much fun to do. It was a good way to finish off the story.

Did you do any research for your illustrations?

My research consisted of me looking into a mirror trying some of the tricks that Harry was doing to stop his hiccups.

Do you have any special or unlikely talents?

My most unlikely talent is singing!

Do you listen to anything while you work?

I love listening to music quite loud when I work. It just gets me going.

How do you know when an illustration is finished?

That’s a very good question. At a certain point, I realize there is nothing more to ads and the illustration is saying everything it is supposed to say. At that point, I just stop.

Harry’s Hiccups is available now!

Weissmann, Joe

Joe Weissmann was born in Austria and came to Canada at the age of eleven. He studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts and Concordia University in Montreal and taught illustration at Sheridan College for six years. An award-winning illustrator, Joe works for book and magazine publishers in Canada and the United States and lives in rural Ontario with his wife and his old cat, Alfie. For more information, visit joeweissmann.com.

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