Joann Sfar was born in Nice, France in 1971. After earning a Masters in Philosophy at the university there, he studied Art at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris.
Sfar debuted as a comic artist in 1994 with the first volume of the series »Les Aventures d’Ossour Hyrsidoux« (tr: The adventures of Ossour Hyrsidoux); a second volume appeared a year later. He painted the pictures for the story of Pierre Dubois in »Petrus Barbygère« (1998). With »Pascin« (2000; Engl. »Pascin«, 2015), he created his first pictorial biography of an artist. »Chagall en Russie« (2010; Eng. »Chagall in Russia«, 2012) and a second Pascin volume followed. Among his numerous series for children and adults are »Professeur Bell« (5 volumes; tr »Professor Bell«), a fantasy crime story, »Le petit Monde du Golem« (1998, tr. The little world of the golem), »Petit Vampire« (4 volumes beginning 2006; Eng. » Little Vampire«,), »Grand Vampire« (5 volumes, beginning 2001) , and his series set in revolutionary Russia, »Klezmer« (4 volumes, Eng. »Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East«, 2006). In »Le Chat du rabbin« (2002; Eng. »The Rabbi’s Cat, 1 and 2«, 2007, 2008). Sfar, himself a Jew, is both author and illustrator of the latter works, in which the pet cat of a rabbi who lives in Algeria in the 1920s eats a parrot. It thereby gains the ability to speak with humans. It accompanies the rabbi’s family through situations that test their faith and comments on events from an outsider’s standpoint until it finally loses the ability to speak again. Sfar is currently working on a continuation of the series, which has already sold 1.5 million books in France. In 2011, he turned this story into an animated film that won the prize for Best Adaptation not only at the Césars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, but also in 2012 from the Prix Jacques Prévert du Scénario. In 2010, Sfar had already created a film monument to the French author and chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg in »Gainsbourg, vie héroïque« (2010; Eng. »Gainsbourg – A Heroic Life«). His newest film, »La Dame dans l’auto avec des lunettes et un fusil« (tr. The lady in the car with glasses and a gun) will appear in 2015. Sfar, known for his sketchy lineature, has also published several illustrated novels, including the story »La Sorcière et la Petite Fille« (2004; tr. The witch and the little girl) and most recently, in 2014 for the 100th Tour de France, »À bicyclette un tour en France« (tr. A bicycle tour in France). The latter expresses in text and image his thoughts about this athletic event that demands everything (im)possible from its contestants, who pedal madly between passion and depression, After receiving the Grand Prix de la Ville d’Angoulême for his life’s work in 2002, Joann Sfar was named an officer of l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2014. He lives in Paris.