William Joyce (1957)

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Who is William Joyce?

Book writer and illustrator, screenwriter, director, creator and executive producer of films and video games, designer, creative and visual effects consultant, etc., his favorite job is writing and illustrating books.

How did William Joyce become a writer and an illustrator?

William Edward Joyce was born on December 11th, 1957, in Shreveport, Louisiana, the United States of America.

As he lived in a small town in the southern United States, his access to books was limited, the only library in the surroundings being located in a cabin in the woods, in a remote area. Despite this, in his rare visits there, he had the occasion to become familiar with books that changed his life, first of all with “Where the Wild Things Are”, written by Maurice Sendak. Impressed by this author’s creation, he started to draw when he was in primary school. Authors like Beatrix Potter, E.B. White, A.A. Milne, Mary Norton were also discovered during his childhood.

His first literary attempt brought him problems. In the 4th grade, he participated in a literary contest with a story written and illustrated by himself, “Billy’s Booger”. Even if he gained his colleagues’ admiration, he was sent by his teacher at the principal’s office, his story being considered offensive. Not all his teachers were the same; those that saw that he liked to tell and draw stories encouraged him to continue to do this. To those teachers, and also to his parents, he owed his career.

He drew cartoons for the Shreveport Byrd High School students’ magazine, “High Life”. His post-high school art teachers wanted to change his painting style, so he tried to do other things. Therefore, he studied film at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, a university he graduated in 1981.

He started to work as children’s books illustrator; his first book, “George Shrinks”, was published in 1985. Afterwards, he wrote and illustrated tens of books, some of them being adapted for the screen (“A Day with Wilbur Robinson”, “Robots”, “Buddy”, “The Guardians of Childhood” series, “The Numberlys”) or being turned into television series (“Rolie Polie Olie”, “George Shrinks”). As hard as it may be to believe, his manuscripts were many times rejected by publishers, but he didn’t give up on his desire to write and publish.

William Joyce was inspired in his creations by his personal life. Therefore, “A Day with Wilbur Robinson”, published in 1990, tells the story of an unusual family. The author mentioned that he realized that his family is different from others when, visiting a family, was intrigued to find out that, during the meal, no family member was throwing food, no one sang, everything was quiet and very orderly. Not to mention the fact that there were no frogs in the house, which in Joyce’s family house were everywhere, and there was no uncle in this family to say he came from outer space…

He joins the world of film in 1995, as creative consultant for “Toy Story”. Afterwards, he worked as screenwriter, producer and designer for “Buddy” (1997), developer for FOX Network (1997), special effects consultant for “A Bug’s Life” (1998), creator and executive producer for “Rolie Polie Olie” (1998), executive producer, creator, designer and story editor for “George Shrinks” (2001), producer and production designer for “Robots” (2005).

In 2011, together with Brandon Oldenburg and Lampton Enochs, he sets up the animation and visual effects company Moonbot Studios in Shreveport. “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” (2011), the short animation film directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg and produced by Moonbot Studios have won, among other awards, the Academy Award for best animated short film. In 2012, with Joe Bluhm, William Joyce published a literary adaptation of the film, “London Times”, saying that is “one of the most influential titles of the early twenty-first century”.

Why is William Joyce’s work remarkable?

The creations of William Joyce, appreciated by the “Newsweek” magazine as being one of the “Top 100 people to watch in the new millennium”, present unique characters, in a special way: the classic style combined with the modern one, both in the reinterpretation of the childhood stories and in original works, which make them loved not only by children, but also by adults, who find themselves in his work. Various topics, from everyday events to some that take place in fantastic or hyper-technologized worlds, whether happy or sad, are approached with ease and imagination, their attractiveness being enhanced by the visual effects of the accompanying graphics.

Librarian recommendation

Starting from the William Joyce’s affirmation: “If you really love to write, and you really love to draw, you just have to keep doing it no matter what anybody says.”, tell an interesting personal story and make a drawing to help the reader understand it better.












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