Sovak, Jan 1953–

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Sovak, Jan 1953–

PERSONAL:

Born February 13, 1953, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); son of Miroslav and Dana Sovak; married Daniela Jerie, 1982; children: Adrianne-Monique. Ethnicity: "Czech." Education: Attended School of Art, Bechyne, 1968-72, and University of Purkyne, 1972-77.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

CAREER:

Illustrator, conceptual artist, and writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Award of merit, book illustration category, Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators, 1990 and 1992; award for book illustration, Children's Book Centre (of Canada), 1991; Golden Bow Award, Czech Ministry of Culture, Young Readers Literature Society, Children's Book Illustrators Society, and Czech section of International Board on Books for Young People, 1995; Illustrator of the Year Award, Rodokaps (Czech publisher), 1995; Choice awards from Young Readers Association, 1997, and Children's Book Centre, 1998.

WRITINGS:

AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR

Prehistoric Mammals Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1991.

Great Dinosaurs Poster Book, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1992.

Butterflies, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1992.

Zoo Animals, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1993.

Insects, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1994.

Insect Sticker Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1994.

Snakes of the World, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Birds of Prey Sticker Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Realistic Snakes Sticker Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Endangered Animals Sticker Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Desert Sticker Pictures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1996.

Wild Cats, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1996.

Jurassic Dinosaurs Sticker Pictures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1997.

Learning about Butterflies, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1997.

Learning about Cretaceous Dinosaurs, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1997.

Learning about Insects, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1997.

(With Phillip J. Currie and Eric P. Felber) A Moment in Time with: Troodon, Troodon Productions (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1997.

Cretaceous Dinosaurs Sticker Pictures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1998.

Explore a Coral Reef Sticker Pictures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1998.

Learning about Forest Animals, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1998.

Learning about Snakes, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1998.

Learning about Tropical Fish, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1998.

(With Phillip J. Currie and Eric P. Felber) A Moment in Time with: Albertosaurus, Troodon Productions (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1998.

(With Phillip J. Currie and Eva Koppelhus) A Moment in Time with: Centrosaurus, Troodon Productions (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1998.

Before the Dinosaurs Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1999.

Prehistoric Animals Sticker Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1999.

(With Phillip J. Currie and Eva Koppelhus) A Moment in Time with: Sinosauropteryx, Troodon Productions (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1999.

African Animals Sticker Activity Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1999.

Learning about Sharks, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1999.

Seashore Life Sticker Pictures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2000.

Hummingbirds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Lizards, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Mythological Creatures, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

(With E. Felber) Predatory Animals, University of Calgary Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2001.

Learning about Spiders, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Realistic Butterfly Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Realistic Whales Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Learning about Turtles, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Realistic Dolphins Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Realistic Sharks Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Colorful Birds Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Learning about Farm Animals, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Learning about Reptiles, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Rain Forest Animals Stained Glass Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Common Birds Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Fairies and Trolls, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Exotic Birds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Rain Forest Birds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Trolls, Elves, and Fairies Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Lizards Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Hummingbirds Stickers, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2002.

Insects Stained Glass Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Learning about Wild Cats, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Learning about Swamp Animals, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Giants and Ogres, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Prehistoric Animals Magic Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Trolls and Dwarves, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2003.

Learning about Hummingbirds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2004.

Giants and Ogres Coloring Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2004.

Dinosaur Sticker Picture Puzzle, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2004.

Invisible Prehistoric Animals Magic Picture Book, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2004.

Prehistoric Man, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2004.

Dinosaur Scenes, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2006.

Alaskan Wildlife, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2006.

Galapagos Islands, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2006.

Also illustrator of temporary tattoo books, punch-out mask books, bookmarks, and notebooks, all published by Dover.

ILLUSTRATOR; BOOKS PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH

The Palaeoguide, Government of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1988.

Junior Encyclopedia of Canada, Hurtig (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1988.

Monty Reid, The Last Great Dinosaurs: A Guide to the Dinosaurs of Alberta, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1990.

Currie, The Flying Dinosaurs: The Illustrated Guide to the Evolution of Flight, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1991.

Dinosaur World Tour, Ex Terra Foundation (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1991.

Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, Knopf (New York, NY), 1993.

The Audubon Society Pocket Guide: Dinosaurs, Knopf (New York, NY), 1993.

The Land before Us, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1994.

Phillip J. Currie and Zdenek V. Spinar, The Great Dinosaurs: A Story of the Giants' Evolution, Sunburst Books (London, England), 1994, Longmeadow Publishing (New York, NY), 1995.

Prehistoric Alaska, Alaska Geographic Society (Anchorage, AK), 1994.

Official Gallery Guide, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaentology (Drumheller, Alberta, Canada), 1994.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Wild Animals, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Trees, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Arctic Animals, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1994, revised edition published as Canadian Animals of the Arctic, 1997.

A. Weismann, Songbirds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Phillip J. Currie, Jurassic Dinosaurs, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1995.

Dinosaur Safari Guide, Voyager Press (Stillwater, MN), 1996.

Phillip J. Currie, 101 Questions about Dinosaurs, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1996.

Phillip J. Currie, Cretaceous Dinosaurs, Dover (Mineola, NY), 1996.

Pacific Rim: National Park Reserve, Blackbird Naturegraphic (Canada), 1996.

M. Jamieson, Beginnings, Reidmore Books (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1996.

What Do We Know, World Book (Chicago, IL), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, North American Endangered Species, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Ocean Creatures, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Wildflowers and Emblems, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, The Magic of Mythical Creatures, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, North American Animals of the Arctic, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Ana Adamache, The Sun King Ray Story, Astra Books (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1997.

Designing Dinosaurs, Bruce County Museum (Southampton, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Don Lessem, The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, Universal City Studios (Los Angeles, CA), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, North American Wild Animals, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamploops, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Canadian Birds, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Colleayn O. Mastin, Newest and Coolest Dinosaurs, Grasshopper Publishing (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

A Walk through Time, Wiley (New York, NY), 1998.

Cornerstones, Gage Educational Publishing (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Don Lessem, Dinosaurs to Dodos: An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1999.

Canada Revisited, Arnold Publishing (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Jerry Hale and Rose Hale, The Adventures of Muskwa, Muskwa Trails (Worsley, Alberta, Canada), 1999.

P.A. Arnold, Canada Revisited, Arnold Publishing (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Don Lessem, Dinosaurs Encyclopedia, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 2000.

H. Zimmermann, Beyond the Dinosaurs, Byron Preiss Publishing (New York, NY), 2000.

Monty Reid, The Story of Burgess Shale, University of Calgary Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2001.

E.H. Colbert, Age of Reptiles, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Arthur Conan Doyle, Lost Worlds, Dover (Mineola, NY), 2001.

Tanke and Carpenter, The Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2001.

Lisa Bonforte and others, Color and Learn Birds, Butterflies and Wild Flowers, Sagebrush (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

G. Olshevsky, Discovering Dinos—Velociraptor, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

G. Olshevsky, Discovering Dinos—T. Rex, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

G. Olshevsky, Discovering Dinos—Stegosaurus, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

G. Olshevsky, Discovering Dinos—Iguanodon, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

G. Olshevsky, Discovering Dinos—Diplodocus, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

June E. LeDrew, Girls on the Move, Ministry of Health (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Don Lessem, Scholastic Dinosaurs A-Z: The Ultimate Dinosaur Encyclopedia, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 2003.

Dinosaurs, Marshall Cavendish (Tarrytown, NY), 2005. A. Davis, The House that Edio Wyllt Built, Trafford Publishing (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2005.

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2006.

Hadrosaurs, 2006.

T. Rex, 2006.

Ankylosaurus, 2006.

Troodon, 2006.

Contributor of illustrations to textbooks, encyclopedias, and other books. Contributor of illustrations to nearly a dozen films, television series, and electronic publications, including Earth Revealed, Public Broadcasting Service; In the Steps of Dragons and Trip to China: Feathered Dinosaurs, both for The Discovery Channel; Dinosaurs, The Learning Channel; and Encarta Yearbook Builder, Microsoft. Contributor of illustrations to magazines in the United States and Canada, including Prehistoric Times, Dinosaur, Canadian Geographic, Earth, Cricket, and Canadian Rockies.

ILLUSTRATOR; FOREIGN-LANGUAGE PUBLICATIONS

A. Barkhausen and Z. Geiser, Elephanten, Kinderbuchverlag Luzern (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1992.

L. Dossenbach, Das Lexikon der Tiere, Kinderbuchverlag Luzern (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1992.

K. Roberts, Kapitan Rozmysl, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1992.

J. Henson, Bin Daa! Wer Noooch?, Motovun/Disney (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1993.

P. Marc, Mit Livingstone durch Africa, Bohema Press (Switzerland), 1993.

Jahrbuch der Coburger Landes Stiftung, DNP Coburg (Coburg, Germany), 1993.

J. Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), Utek z Onondagy, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1994.

J. Slade, Fiesta Smrti, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1994.

M. Wiliamson, Navrat Rysaveho Johna, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1994.

J. Slade, Lassiter a Oregonska Mstitelka, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1994.

J.M. Adam, Apacsky Mlyn, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1994.

J. Slade, Supi z Gila Bendu, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1994.

J. Henson, Willkommen bei den Sinclairs, Motovun/Disney (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1994.

Evolution: Life and the Universe, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1994.

Nature Library, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1994.

Wielkie Dinozaury, Warszawski Dom Wydawniczy (Warsaw, Poland), 1994.

Currie, Dinosaurs from A to Z, Yazawa Science Office (Tokyo, Japan), 1995.

From Gaia to Ecopoiesis, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1995.

O. Janka, Odvedu te k Siouxum, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1995.

L. Kark, Sedm z Lancasteru, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1995.

R.H. Douglas, O Cest Nepritele, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1995.

C. Judd, Pisen Severu, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1995.

Phillip J. Currie, Giganten der Lufte: Das Grosse Buch der Flugsaurier, Arena Verlag (Würzberg, Germany), 1995.

M.H. Bowery, Cesta Pres Inferno, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1995.

Mass Extinction and Evolution of Life, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1996.

A Biography of the Dinosaur World, A.G. Tokyo Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1996.

O. Collins, Brianuv Mistrovsky Kousek, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1996.

J. Fabricius, Plavcici Kapitana Bontekoea, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1996.

J. Moravec, Cteni z Kameni, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1996.

M.H. Bowery, Muz Ktery Tam Byl, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1996.

R. Omphalius, Planet des Lebens, Motovun Verlagsgesellschaft (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1996.

M.H. Bowery, Sewardova Lednice, Rodokaps (Czech Republic), 1997.

H.H. Isenbart, Freude mit Pferden, Motovum Verlagsgesellschaft (Lucerne, Switzerland), 1997.

Gendai Shinsho, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1997.

Gizem Dolu Afrika Yolculugu, Turkeiye Yayim Haklari (Turkey), 1997.

Science in Crisis, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1997.

The Dinosaur Handbook, Yazawa Publishing House (Tokyo, Japan), 1997.

Phillip J. Currie and Zdenek V. Spinar, De Heersers van Toen, R & B Productions (Netherlands), 1998.

M. Andera, Vyhubena Zvirata, Aventinum Publishing House (Tolsteho, Czech Republic), 1998.

V. Hulpach, Indianske Pribehy, Aventinum Publishing House (Tolsteho, Czech Republic), 1998.

V. Hulpach, Indianer Geschichte, Dausien Verlag (Hanau, Germany), 1998.

Carlsbergfondet Arsskrift, Carlsbergfondet (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1998.

M.H. Bowery, Dabluv Kolovrat, Rodokaps (Prague, Czech Republic), 1998.

Scientific Controversies, Gakken Publishers (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.

A. Stevenson, Ostrov Pokladu, Touzimsky & Moravec (Prague, Czech Republic), 1999.

Praveka More, Granit Publishers (Prague, Czech Republic), 1999.

Vojtech Turek, Ztracena more uprostred Evropy (title means "Vanished Seas in the Center of Europe"), Academia (Prague, Czech Republic), 2003.

Illustrator of several other books published in the Czech Republic, Japan, and Germany. Contributor of illustrations to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jan Sovak once told CA: "I was born in a family of book collectors. For as long as I can remember, my favorite refuge was our attic filled with books and old magazines. There I discovered the importance of illustrations for books. I started to write my own stories, so I could illustrate them. The first book I wrote for this purpose was about a Bengal tiger escaping from a circus and learning how to live as a wild animal. I was eight years old.

"My first and foremost wish is to get children interested in books. I want to open a door for endless adventures of the mind that could lead them on the road to discovery of vast horizons of knowledge and to an understanding of nature and history. Maybe that kind of knowledge could give readers an answer about who we are, where we come from, and what it means to share our planet with other forms of life.

"I am happy to see how important children's book publishing has become in the last few decades. The quality of writers and illustrators is higher than ever, and competition is pushing all of us further yet. As for myself, I love going to bookstores to discover new colleagues with a fresh, new outlook on the illustrating process.

"If writing or illustrating is what you want to do in your life more than anything else, then stick with it! It is not easy, and for most of us it has never been, even for established authors! My favorite comparison is about playing a musical instrument. If you want to become a virtuoso, you must spend many hours every day practicing. It is the same with our craft. My teacher used to tell me: ‘If you don't want to work fifteen hours a day on your technique, do something else. Right now there are a lot of people around the world who do exactly that.’"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Quill and Quire, August, 1991, review of Great Dinosaurs Poster Book, p. 21.

About this article

Sovak, Jan 1953–

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