Harry Bliss (1964-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Illustrator, Sidelights
Born 1964, in NY; Education: Attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; University of the Arts, B.F.A. (illustration); Syracuse University, M.A.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Children's, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.
Cartoonist and illustrator. New Yorker, New York, NY, cartoonist and cover artist.
Society of Illustrators.
Award of Excellence from Print, Society of Illustrators, National Society of News Design, and Art Directors Club of New York.
Sharon Creech, A Fine, Fine School, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2001.
William Steig, Which Would You Rather Be?, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Alison McGhee, Countdown to Kindergarten, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2002.
Marc Gellman, And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope, HarperTrophy (New York, NY), 2002.
Doreen Cronin, Diary of a Worm, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Alison McGhee, Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.
Robie H. Harris, Don't Forget to Come Back!, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Doreen Cronin, Diary of A Spider, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of cartoons to periodicals, including New Yorker, Playboy, Archaeology, and Nickelodeon. Illustrator of book covers.
Well known to adults as a regular cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine, Harry Bliss has also illustrated numerous children's books, among them Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Worm, Marc Gellman's And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope, Alison McGhee's Countdown to Kindergarten, and Which Would You Rather Be?, by award-winning children's author William Steig. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the "droll watercolor illustrations" Bliss contributed to Diary of a Worm "are a marvel" because the artist "gives each worm an individual character with a few deft lines." Michael Cart, writing in Booklist, enjoyed Bliss's illustrations for Steig's Which Would You Rather Be?, a picture book in which a rabbit-eared magician asks his young audience which of various animals they would be happiest as. "Bliss's pictures … invest Steig's simple words with wit and a sense of story," Cart noted, adding that "Steig's words and Bliss's pictures make a winning choice."
An award-winning graphic artist, Bliss began illustrating children's books after working for several years as a popular cartoonist for the New Yorker as well as for other magazines. He began his career as a freelance artist for magazines while he was still in college earning his undergraduate degree in illustration. Continuing to work for magazines as well as designing book jackets for New York City publishers, he came to the attention of the art editor of the New Yorker in 1997. His first cover appeared on the magazine's January 5, 1998 issue, and he began creating black-and-white cartoons for the magazine soon after. His first book-illustration project, Sharon Creech's A Fine, Fine School, was an instant success, marking what a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed an "impressive debut" for the cartoonist. While his growing family has inspired Bliss to continue working as a picture-book illustrator, he has yet to disappoint fans of his New Yorker cartoons.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 2002, Michael Cart, review of Which Would You Rather Be?, p. 1977; October 1, 2002, Stephanie Zvirin, review of And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope, p. 341.
Childhood Education, winter, 2001, review of A Fine, Fine School, p. 110.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Countdown to Kindergarten, p. 959.
Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2001, review of A Fine, Fine School, p. 75; May 20, 2002, review of Which Would You Rather Be?, p. 64; July 8, 2002, review of Countdown to Kindergarten, p. 48; July 21, 2003, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 194.
School Library Journal, June, 2002, Carol L. MacKay, review of Which Would You Rather Be?, p. 110; September, 2002, Mary Elam, review of Countdown to Kindergarten, p. 201; December, 2002, Linda Beck, review of And God Cried, Too, p. 160.
Harry Bliss Cartoon Collection Web site, http://www.harrybliss.com/ (January 5, 2005).*