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  • Stéphane JorischCanada ★ Illustrator
  • Samantha Christensen

“I don’t know if what I like about children’s books is the humor or the fact that things always have to keep moving. The lightness of things…When you’re stressed, the smallest problems seem catastrophic, but the point is to try to find a lighter side. That’s what I try to do.”

Stéphane Jorisch

Stéphane Jorisch was born in Belgium in 1956, and he spent his childhood in Lachine, Québec. Jorisch was an independent child and often turned to adventure stories in order to conjure imaginative inspiration. His family lived on the St. Lawrence River, and he spent much of his time on the water, whiling away the hours in daydreams that later inspired his art. Jorisch’s father was an illustrator of European comic strips and introduced Jorisch to illustrative art at a young age. It was his influence that solidified Jorisch’s decision to pursue a career in illustration.

Jorisch’s career path was not simple: he completed a degree in graphic design and then another in industrial design, yet he was not satisfied with the professional outcome of either. He earned his living by drawing architectural designs, but continued to take on illustration projects on the side. Over the course of time, Jorisch was able to build a full-time career around his passion for illustrating, bringing children’s literature to life through his unique and provocative illustrations. In addition to approximately eighty children’s books, Jorisch’s art has also been published in magazines and has been included in Cirque-du-Soleil staging.

Jorisch donates a tremendous amount of attention to the subjects of his art, and although he spends a great deal of time observing and documenting his subjects, the finished outcome of his drawings are mostly the products of his own artistic imagination. He forges connections between the stories he illustrates and the drawings themselves, so while he does have a distinct and recognizable artistic identity, his illustration styles are varied. Jorisch relates literary themes with color and artistic technique, which evoke powerful and meaningful emotions in the context of the stories he illustrates.

Jorisch has been awarded many literary honors, including the Toronto Dominion Canadian Children’s Literature Award (2008) and the Governor General Literary Award for Children’s Illustration on three occasions (1993, 1998, and 2008). He currently lives in Montreal with his wife and their three children, where he continues illustrate children’s literature and curates two art collections.

Selected Publications

Charlotte et l’île du Destin [Charlotte and the Island of Destiny]. Text Olivier Fasser. Ville Saint-Laurent: Diffusion, 1998. Print.
Suki’s Kimono. Text Cheri Uegaki. Toronto: Kids Can, 2003. Print.
Jabberwocky. Text Lewis Carroll. Toronto: Kids Can, 2004. Print.
The Owl and the Pussycat. Text Edward Lear. Toronto: Kids Can, 2007. Print.
New Year at the Pier. Text April Halprin Wayland. New York: Penguin, 2009. Print. [End Page 17]