Niemann, Christoph 1970–

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Niemann, Christoph 1970–


Born 1970, in Waiblingen, Germany; immigrated to United States, 1997; married; wife's name Lisa; children: Arthur, Gustav. Education: Studied at Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts.


Home—Brooklyn, NY. E-mail—[email protected]


Illustrator, animator, and graphic designer, 1997—.


Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Awards, Honors

Talent of the Year Award, Art Directors' Club, 1998; Lead Academy awards, 2006, 2007; numerous awards from organizations including Society of Publication Designers, American Illustration, and AIGA.



Das Gute Portrait, Maro Verlag (Germany), 1998.

(With Danielle McCole) Numbers: The Fun Way to Match and Learn, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

(With Nicholas Blechman) One Hundred Percent Evil, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Police Cloud, Schwartz & Wade (New York, NY), 2007.

The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2008.


(With others) Fresh Dialogue: New Voices in Graphic Design, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Toby Schmidt, Trucks: The Fun Way to Match and Learn, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Stephen J. Dubner, The Boy with Two Belly Buttons, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to New York Times, Business Week, Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, Fast Company, New York Times Magazine, and American Illustration.


While illustrator, animator, and graphic designer Christoph Niemann is best known for his work for adults, both his words and his art have also been featured in picture books for young readers. As a regular contributor to the New York Times and Business Week, Niemann has received numerous awards from graphic design organizations. He began working on children's books after the bedtime stories he told his sons sparked story ideas.

Born in Waiblingen in southwestern Germany, Niemann studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts before moving to New York in 1997. Along with illustration work and corporate projects for such companies as Nike, Google, and Citibank, Niemann has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York and has lectured in the United States, his native Germany, and such locations as Japan, South Africa, and Mexico. In an interview with Fast Company contributor Annie F. Noonan, Niemann observed that, when illustrating articles in mainstream magazines, he prefers boring content. "When an article is too interesting, I feel as though I have to compete with it," he explained.

Inspired by a bedtime tale Niemann told his son, The Police Cloud introduces a cloud who desperately wants to be a police officer. The cloud gets the job, only to find out that he is not very good at it. He cannot catch a burglar, and he is more likely to confuse traffic than direct it. When he patrols in the park, people become irritated

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

at the cloud for blocking out the sun. Depressed about being an unsuitable police officer, the cloud weeps, and when his tears put out a house fire, he is offered a position with the fire department. Niemann's "geometric, pleasantly retro illustrations show the whimsical challenges" in the story, according to Horn Book contributor Christine M. Heppermann. Susan Weitz wrote in School Library Journal that the book's "main character is … very likable, partly a result of the gentle dialogue and the enticing computer-generated artwork." Randall Enos commented in Booklist that "the illustrations do such a good job of telling the story [that] the concise text is almost unnecessary," and a Publishers Weekly critic concluded of The Police Cloud that "Niemann's crisp digital art complements the simplicity and mild silliness of his story."

Niemann also provided illustrations for Stephen J. Dubner's The Boy with Two Bellybuttons. "Niemann's boldly outlined, retro-styled cartoons are fun to look at," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly. The artist's work has also appeared in Toby Schmidt's concept book Trucks: The Fun Way to Match and Learn as well as in art collections for adults.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 1, 2007, Randall Enos, review of The Police Cloud, p. 100.

Fast Company, June, 2002, Annie F. Noonan, "In Fast Company," interview with Niemann, p. 20.

Horn Book, March-April, 2007, Christine M. Heppermann, review of The Police Cloud, p. 187.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of The Police Cloud, p. 78.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2007, review of The Police Cloud, p. 88; October 29, 2007, review of The Boy with Two Belly Buttons, p. 54.

School Library Journal, June, 2007, Susan Weitz, review of The Police Cloud, p. 118; December, 2007, Catherine Threadgill, review of The Boy with Two Belly Buttons, p. 88.


Christoph Niemann Home Page, (July 1, 2007).

New Yorker Web site, (July 1, 2007), profile of Niemann.

Random House Web site, (July 1, 2007), profile of Niemann.