David Wisniewski was born in Middlesex, England. He has also lived in Germany, Nebraska, Texas, and Maryland, but I don't know when.

David drew all through high school but never thought it would turn out to be his career. He studied drama in college, but was too impatient to wait for the best roles, so he left school to join the circus did you hear that I said TO JOIN THE CIRCUS. No kidding, he went to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He worked for two years deisigning props, costumes, and funnyness, before joining the country's largest tent show, Circus Vargas, for a year of clowning.

Eventually he got tired of it and went back to Washington, D.C., where he found a job with a puppet theatre troupe. He specialized in shadow puppetry. Six months later, David married his puppet master.

In 1980, David and his puppet wife (just kidding, she's a human and stuff) founded Clarion Shadow Theatre, which put on shows for area schools. It was a bigger deal than it sounds like - the Washington Post praised the Wisniewskis as "the leading figures of shadow puppetry in the United States."   Probably they did not have much competition for that title. Still, they were good.

By 1985, the Wisniewskis discontinued regular performances so they could work from home while raising their two kids. David became a freelance illustrator working for newspapers and magazines. He attended a children's book seminar, got some bright ideas, and took his portfolio to New York. The first editor he met liked his art and his story and she offered him a book contract for The Warrior and the Wise Man, published in 1989.

Wisniewski says that both his writing and his illustrating grew out of his work with the puppet theater. By adapting myths and legends for use in puppetry, he learned how to write stories, and the shadow puppets led to the development of his distinctive cut-paper illustrative style. To create his pictures, David cuts layers of colored paper with an X-Acto knife. Granted, he is very, very picky about sharpness; still, for one book, he will use nearly a thousand blades.

David and his family currently live in Monrovia, Maryland.


Amanda Joins the Circus

American Holidays and Special Days


Elfwyn's Saga


I'll Play With You

Keep Your Eye on Amanda!

Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria

Rain Player

The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups

Sundiata: Lion King of Mali

Tough Cookie

The Warrior and the Wise Man

The Wave of the Sea-Wolf

Worlds of Shadow: Teaching With Shadow Puppetry

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