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Bliss, Harry 1964-

Bliss, Harry 1964-

Personal

Born March 9, 1964, in Rochester, NY; children. Education: Attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; University of the Arts, B.F.A. (illustration); Syracuse University, M.A.

Addresses

Home—South Burlington, VT. Agent—Samantha Cosentino, Pippin Properties, Inc., 155 E. 38th St., Ste. 2H, New York, NY 10016; scosentinopippinproperties.com.

Career

Cartoonist and illustrator. New Yorker, New York, NY, cartoonist and cover artist, 1998—; creator of BLISS (syndicated one-panel cartoon), syndicated by Tribune Media Services. Exhibitions: Work exhibited in Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, New York, NY.

Member

Society of Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Award of Excellence, Print magazine, Society of Illustrators, National Society of News Design, and Art Directors Club of New York; Distinguished Achievement Award for children's design and illustration, Nickelodeon magazine, 2007.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Death by Laughter, introduction by Christopher Guest, Abrams (New York, NY), 2008.

ILLUSTRATOR

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.

Alison McGhee, A Very Brave Witch, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Doreen Cronin, Diary of a Fly, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Kate DiCamillo, Louise: The Adventures of a Chicken, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor of cartoons to periodicals, including New Yorker, Playboy, Archaeology, and Nickelodeon.

Sidelights

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 Fly, Marc Gellman's And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope, Alison McGhee's A Very Brave Witch, and Which Would You Rather Be?, by award-winning children's author Will-

iam Steig. Bliss works hard to invest his drawings with humor while staying true to a book's narrative, as he told Publishers Weekly contributor Nathalie Op de Beeck. "The illustrations must transcend the text at some point," he remarked. "If it's going to draw away from story, you have to watch out, but I want kids to look at the page and find little jokes."

An award-winning graphic artist, Bliss began illustrating children's books after working for several years as a popular contributor to the New Yorker as well as to other magazines. He began his career as a freelance artist 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, Bliss's work 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. "Doing cartoons really helped me," Bliss remarked to Op de Beeck. "I used a simpler line, an economy of line. And I had to be funny. I had to tell a little story."

Bliss's 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. He then collaborated with Steig on Which Would You Rather Be?, a picture book in which a rabbit-eared magician asks his young audience to imagine themselves transforming into various animals. Michael Cart, writing in Booklist, observed that Bliss's illustrations "invest Steig's simple words with wit and a sense of story," and added that "Steig's words and Bliss's pictures make a winning choice."

Bliss has also joined forces with Cronin for a series of playful books about some of nature's wriggliest creatures. 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." A young arachnid provides a unusual view of the world in Diary of a Spider. Here, according to Beverly Combs in School Library Journal, Bliss's cartoons "expand the sublime silliness of some of the scenarios." A young bug frets about her 327 siblings, her multifaceted eyes, and her habit of regurgitating food in Diary of a Fly, in which "Cronin's spot-on humor and Bliss's uproarious ink-and-watercolor panels make Fly … both irresistible and undeniably super," remarked a contributor in Kirkus Reviews.

In Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, a picture book by McGhee, a naïve first-grader believes the tall tales spun by a mischievous older student and worries that her new teacher hails from outer space. A Publishers Weekly critic praised Bliss's "comical use of spot illustrations and thought balloons intermingled with the main narrative," and noted that the illustrator "conveys palpable fear" on the student's face. McGhee examines the concerns of another young protagonist in A Very Brave Witch, a Halloween tale. Here Bliss's "cartoon artwork captures the holiday's spirit with crisp fall colors and amusing details," wrote Wanda Meyers-Hines in School Library Journal.

The creator of a syndicated, one-panel cartoon titled BLISS, the illustrator plans to continue working in the field of children's literature. Speaking to Vermont Cynic interviewer Annie Doran, Bliss remarked, "I just want to keep cartooning. I like the idea that somewhere I'm making someone laugh. I could do that forever. I want to help people more, and to leave less of a carbon footprint, although that may not be a career direction."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

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; October 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 326; March 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Don't Forget to Come Back!, p. 1195; November 1, 2007, Randall Enos, review of Diary of a Fly, p. 54.

Childhood Education, winter, 2001, review of A Fine, Fine School, p. 110.

Horn Book, November-December, 2003, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 728; March-April, 2004, Lauren Adams, review of Don't Forget to Come Back!, p. 171; November-December, 2005, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 704; January-February, 2008, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Diary of a Fly, p. 70.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Countdown to Kindergarten, p. 959; July 1, 2004, review of Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, p. 633; July 1, 2005, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 732; July 1, 2006, review of A Very Brave Witch, p. 679; August 1, 2007, review of Diary of a Fly.

Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2001, review of A Fine, Fine School, p. 75; December 24, 2001, Nathalie Op de Beeck, "Flying Starts: Six First-time Authors and Illustrators Talk about Their Fall Debuts," p. 30; 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; July 5, 2004, review of Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, p. 54; August 14, 2006, review of A Very Brave Witch, p. 204.

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; March, 2004, Lauralyn Persson, review of Don't Forget to Come Back!, p. 170; September, 2004, Mary Elam, review of Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, p. 173; August, 2005, Beverly Combs, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 87; August, 2006, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of A Very Brave Witch, p. 93.

ONLINE

Harry Bliss Home Page,http://www.harrybliss.com (January 1, 2009).

New Yorker Web site,http://www.newyorker.com/ (January 1, 2009), "Harry Bliss."

Pippin Properties Web site,http://www.pippinproperties.com/ (January 1, 2009), "Harry Bliss."

Tribune Media Services Web site,http://www.tmsfeatures.com/ (January 1, 2009), "Harry Bliss."

Vermont Cynic Online,http://media.www.vermontcynic.com/ (October 21, 2008), Annie Doran, "Humor in Ink: An Interview with Cartoonist Harry Bliss."

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"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/bliss-harry-1964-0

"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/bliss-harry-1964-0

Bliss, Harry 1964-

BLISS, Harry 1964-

Personal

Born March 9, 1964, in NY; married; children. Education: Attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; University of the Arts, B.F.A. (illustration); Syracuse University, M.A.

Addresses

Home Northern VT. Agent c/o Author Mail, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Children's, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

Career

Cartoonist and illustrator. New Yorker, New York, NY, cartoonist and cover artist.

Member

Society of Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Award of Excellence from Print, Society of Illustrators, National Society of News Design, and Art Directors Club of New York.

Illustrator

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.

Sidelights

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

PERIODICALS

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.

ONLINE

Harry Bliss Cartoon Collection Web site, http://www.harrybliss.com/ (January 5, 2005).*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/bliss-harry-1964

"Bliss, Harry 1964-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/bliss-harry-1964