Joe Mathieu has been a freelance illustrator since he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1971.
Joe had worked summers and vacations as a film strip illustrator during his art school years, but decided to freelance upon graduation. He began his freelance career illustrating books and stories for Houghton Mifflin in Boston and McGraw Hill in New York, as well as for advertising agencies in Boston and New York. He got his big break in 1972 when Random House began publishing books for Sesame Street. This led to long relationships with both Random House and Sesame Workshop that continue to this day.
In addition to numerous books for Sesame Street, Joe created thousands of illustrations for all sorts of Sesame Street products, from clothing to interactive toys. Joe has also illustrated hundreds of features for Sesame Street Magazine.
Joe's work with Sesame Street brought him into contact with Jim Henson and the creative people at Muppets, who worked closely with Joe on all these projects. Random House soon began to use Joe to illustrate both Sesame Street books and other types of children s books.
In 1974, Joe wrote and illustrated "Big Joe's Trailer Truck" which was translated into many languages and is considered a classic. Joe authored several books, but generally prefers to illustrate books written by others. As a result, he has illustrated books by all the great writers of the Sesame Street television show, including: Norman Stiles, Lou Berger, and John Stone. In addition to Sesame Street, Joe has illustrated books written by such well known writers as Laura Numeroff, Marlo Thomas and Dr. Seuss.
Although Joe worked for years using traditional reflective materials like paper, pencils and inks, Joe made the transition to painting digitally in September 2002. He now works either traditionally or digitally.
To date, Joe has illustrated well over 100 children's books for many publishers including: Random House; Simon & Schuster; Golden Books; Marshall Cavendish; Readers Digest; Publications International; Little Brown, Houghton Mifflin; McGraw Hill, and The Tricycle Press.
Joe's love of ragtime piano and jazz of the 20's eventually led to his illustrating album and CD covers for traditional jazz bands and pianists from all over the U.S. and Europe. Joe has illustrated covers for such bands as: The New Black Eagle Jazz Band from New England; The South Frisco Jazz Band from California; The Turk Murphy Jazz Band from California; The Paris Washboard Jazz Band from France; The Hot Antic Jazz Band from France; The Humphrey Littleton Jazz Band from England, and many others.