Sebastian Meschenmoser

Portrait Sebastian Meschenmoser
© Anna Wasilewski

Sebastian Meschenmoser was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1980 and began studying at the Akademie für bildende Künste in Mainz in 2001. After visiting the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Dijon for half a year, he transfered to Anne Berning‘s master class in Mainz in 2006 and completed his studies in 2007.

His début »Fliegen lernen« (2005; Eng. »Learning to Fly«, 2006), written for children ages four and up, breaks from picture-book conventions in both pictorial and narrative terms; the story of a confused penguin’s first futile attempts to fly has a surprising, ambiguous ending, the illustrations are minimal, and colors and contours are used sparingly. Meschenmoser launched his squirrel series with his second picture book, »Herr Eichhorn und der Mond« (2006; Eng. »Mr. Squirrel & the Moon«, 2008). In the first volume, the moon falls onto Mr. Squirrel’s house and he must somehow get it back where it belongs. Further volumes in the series were published from 2007 to 2015. Another recurring character in Meschenmoser’s work is Pugman; in »3 Wünsche für Mopsmann« (2008; Eng. »3 Wishes for Pugman«, 2010), the protagonist is a cranky pug who wakes up late one day and realizes that he has nothing to eat and his newspaper is soaked through. The morning seems to be ruined, but then a fairy appears and grants Pugman three wishes to save the day. In »Mopsmanns magische Wunderwolle« (2011; tr: Pugman’s Miraculously Magic Wool), Pugman discovers the magic of automatic knitting needles and an endless supply of wool left to him by a pig princess who’s run off to a beauty pageant. In his Pugman books, Meschenmoser offers a different illustration style, drawing the disgruntled, wrinkly face of the title figure in great detail. »Gordon und Tapir« (2014; Eng. »Gordon and Tapir«, 2016) is about a tiny, order-obsessed penguin named Gordon who lives with his messy friend Tapir; they fight about toilet paper, clutter, and stinky fish until Gordon decides to leave their shared apartment. Once again, Meschenmoser’s pencil drawings create a humorous story for children five years and up while exploring the basic ideas of understanding and mutual respect. His most recent book is the fairy tale parody »Vom Wolf, der auszog, das Fürchten zu lehren« (2018; tr: About the Wolf Who Moved Out to Spread Fear), the last part of his »Wolf Trilogy«, in which he previously retold and illustrated the fairy tales »The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats« and »Little Red Riding Hood«.

Meschenmoser has also generated several cycles of images that were shown in a number of group and individual exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland. In 2007, 2015 and 2018, he was nominated for German Children’s Literature Award. The author and illustrator lives in Berlin.