Joni Nemeth is an author-illustrator of children’s stories.
Joni approaches illustration by first asking the question: "'How is my illustration stronger than just using a photo?" Through her art she hopes to teach or illuminate a moment in time that exists just beyond “reality”, to focus on an emotion or an event that cannot be captured in any other media. She loves to build her images out of paper because it both pushes and limits the stories she is able to tell, and she is constantly surprised by what she can create.
Joni Nemeth grew up in Canada climbing trees, reading books, and always drawing; These days she's more likely to be in a hammock by an Arizona lake, reading and drawing under, rather than up, a tree. Joni writes and illustrates children’s books that explore darker themes, and sometimes even SCARY themes, combined with heart and humor to build empathy in young readers. (Although she's a ginormous wuss who still covers her head with a blanket at the scary bits). Joni has a BFA in Illustration from BYU, and belongs to SCBWI, Storyteller Academy, SVSLearn and Children’s Book Academy . She has also completed workshops through Highlights Foundation.
Joni was raised in Calgary, Canada, and currently resides in Arizona. Being Canadian is a huge part of who she is, it is manifest in her heart and personality. Joni has a quiet, gentle humor partnered with a little touch of cynicism/sarcasm, yet is always mindful of the beautiful mosaic of human experiences which surround us.
Joni has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Brigham Young University. She worked in technical illustration post-graduation, developing educational software for clients such as the United States Postal Service, Weyerhauser, and Caltex International, then transitioned into medical illustration for Jerome Medical/Ossur, producing all in-house product literature.
When her three children were younger, Joni stopped working professionally. She “fell” into paper sculpture after volunteering for many teacher blackboards and hallway displays. Unlike painting, which made her want to tear out her hair and throw her brush across the room, she was delighted with the way she could bend, shape, and form even low-quality paper. She spent several years researching different forms of paper art, from flat cut to paper sculpture, and continues to learn so much with every new piece. Her website and blog at are a visual record of her progression to mastering paper storytelling.
Joni loves telling stories – she always has. Her family jokes about when she was young and they would have to say, “Joni, stop, take a breath…”(or give THEM a break from her stories). Coming up with new ideas is never a challenge – it’s taking those ideas to full execution that causes the problem (!). Her favorite stories are those that broaden our understanding of the “real” world, and its people and inhabitants.