Joel Stewart grew up in Sheffield after spending his earliest years in a commune in the wilds somewhere near Barnsley. His grandfather was an illustrator and drawing was seen as a normal thing to do in his family. He always had an obsession for picture books and especially comics. He can’t remember a specific point when he decided to become an illustrator; it was just assumed all along that that was what he was.

He obtained a first class Honours degree in Illustration from Falmouth College of Arts and was already working on his first book for Walker Books before he graduated. Although he attended several art schools, he still feels “self-taught”. He says that “something as personal as drawing you can only teach yourself. Art school is best when it’s a place that gives you space to do that.”

Joel Stewart began his career with the picture book The Adventures of a Nose, which he conceived with author/illustrator Viviane Schwarz. Joel says, “It’s really great that I got started with such a bizarre concept, as it’s allowed me to be quite free with my ideas subsequently. Bizarreness is not the point, however. I see the core of what I do as emotional narrative. It just takes some strange ideas to put this across sometimes.” Joel has written his own self-authored picture book and hopes to do more writing in the future. He would especially like to create comics for children.

A random fact…..As a child, Joel wanted to be a sloth. These days he would like to be a lemur.