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March 9, 1964 |
Rochester, New York
|Awards||Maurice Sendak Fellowship, 2014|
Harry Bliss (born March 9, 1964 in Rochester, New York) is an American cartoonist and illustrator. Bliss has illustrated many books, and produced hundreds of cartoons and 19 covers for The New Yorker. Bliss has a syndicated single-panel comic titled Bliss. Bliss is syndicated through Tribune Media Services and appears in over 80 newspapers in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Early life and education
Bliss grew up in New York State in an artistic family. There are eleven working visual artists in his immediate and extended family. Bliss studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and illustration at the University of the Arts, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and later, at Syracuse University an M.A.
Bliss has been a regular cartoonist for Playboy magazine, beginning in 1999. Bliss worked with cartoon editor Michelle Urry at Playboy. Urry, a strong advocate for cartoonists like Gahan Wilson, Jules Feiffer, and Arnold Roth, was responsible for getting Bliss's cartoons into the hands of Playboy editor Hugh Hefner. Bliss dedicated Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken to Urry after her untimely death in 2006.
Bliss' first book for children, A Fine, Fine School, written by Sharon Creech, was a New York Times bestseller, as were Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly (all written by Doreen Cronin). Beginning in 2017, Amazon Studios will be producing a children's series 'Bug Diaries' based on these best-selling titles. Bliss' self-titled cartoon collection Death by Laughter, with an introduction by Christopher Guest, was published in 2008. In 2008 Bliss published Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken (Harper Collins), written by Kate DiCamillo.
In 2008, Bliss, advised by editorial team Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, contributed a popular and critically acclaimed Toon Book, Luke On The Loose, the first book written and illustrated in comic book form by the artist.
Bailey, a picture book for children written and illustrated by Bliss, was published by Scholastic in the Fall of 2011 and followed by Bailey At the Museum in 2012. Bliss went on to illustrate Anna and Solomon published by FSG (written by his mother-in-law, Elaine Snyder). In April 2015 Grandma in Blue With Red Hat, illustrated by Bliss, was published by Abrams. Most recent illustrated children's books include 'My Favorite Pets: By Gus W. For Miss Smolinski's Class' by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf 2016) and 'Comics Confidential' by Leonard Marcus.
As of 2008 Bliss has served on the board of directors for The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction, Vermont. In 2016, in conjunction with CCS, Bliss helped to create a new one-month fellowship for cartoonists, the "Cornish CCS Residency Fellowship," in a house in Cornish, New Hampshire, he bought that used to belong to J. D. Salinger.
As an animal rights activist, Bliss has regularly contributed covers for PETA's Animal Times magazine and designed sculptures for PETA that have appeared in major American cities in an ongoing effort to stop animal suffering. McDonald's, Ringling Brothers Circus, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are among the prime targets of Bliss's and PETAs efforts.
Since 2004 Bliss has visited many schools and interacted with thousands of children all over the world teaching comics/drawing/satire. Bliss has travelled to Peru, Bucharest, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Singapore, and Dubai, as well as within the United States. The goal with these school visits is to demonstrate the need for creating thinking through drawing. With accessible language for kids and educators and aided by a fun interactive "scribble" game, Bliss seeks to illuminate perception based on the act of drawing.
The May 12, 2008 edition of The New Yorker magazine published in its weekly caption-writing contest a cartoon by that closely resembled Jack Kirby's cover of Tales to Astonish #34 (Aug. 1962). Intended by Bliss as an homage and tribute to Kirby, critics complained that the magazine did not mention Kirby's name. After being notified by readers and the media, the magazine said it would update its website to read, "Drawing by Harry Bliss, after Jack Kirby".
In 2010 a New Yorker cover by Bliss, Paint by Pixels, was compared to Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover, The Connoisseur. Author Virginia Mecklenburg writes in Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, "But for those who know The Connoisseur, Bliss's cover goes a step further. The painting they ( a young couple) observe is not a Pollock at all, but a re-creation of Rockwell's Pollock..."
As of 2016, Bliss lives in Cornish, New Hampshire.
- A Fine, Fine School, written by Sharon Creech (Scholastic, 2002)
- Countdown To Kindergarten, written by Alison McGhee (Scholastic, 2002)
- Which Would You Rather Be?, written by William Steig (HarperCollins, 2002)
- Diary of a Worm, written by Doreen Cronin (Scholastic, 2003)
- Don't Forget To Come Back, written by Robie H. Harris (Walker Books, 2004)
- Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, written by Alison McGhee (Harcourt, 2004)
- Diary of a Spider, written by Doreen Cronin (HarperCollins, 2005)
- A Very Brave Witch, written by Alison McGhee (Scholastic, 2006)
- Diary of a Fly, written by Doreen Cronin (HarperCollins, 2007)
- Death by Laughter, by Harry Bliss; Introduction by Christopher Guest (Abrams, 2008)
- Luke On The Loose (Toon Books, 2008)
- Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken, written by Kate DiCamillo (HarperCollins, 2008)
- Invisible Inkling, written by Emily Jenkins (Harper Collins, 2011)
- Bailey (Scholastic, 2011)
- Bailey at the Museum (Scholastic, 2012)
- Anna & Solomon, written by Elaine Snyder (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)
- Grandma in Blue With Red Hat (Abrams, 2015)
"My Favorite Pets by Gus W. For Mrs. Smolinski's Class" by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf 2016)
- "5 Questions About: Harry Bliss," Dark Party Review (Feb. 19, 2007).
- Lindner, Will. "Funny Money: A passion for providing comic relief," Business People—Vermont (November 2014).
- Larson, Sarah. "PAGE-TURNER: SALINGER’S HOUSE, ARTIST’S RETREAT," The New Yorker (SEPTEMBER 8, 2016).
- Dareh Gregorian, 'Drawing Criticism", New York Post, May 22, 2008
- Official website
- Biography at Visiting Authors
- Bliss at Lambiek Comiclopedia (2006)
- Harry Bliss at Library of Congress Authorities, with 22 catalog records (2001–2015)
- Mina Kaneko and Françoise Mouly. "COVER STORY: HARRY BLISS'S 'BALCONY SCENE,'" The New Yorker (APRIL 6, 2015).