Even in his early years, Jörg Hilbert, born in 1965, was interested in music as well as drawing. Originally intending to study the guitar, he altered his decision after completing secondary school to pursue a career in drawing. In 1986, after meeting Paul Flora, whom he held in high regards, he was convinced of his decision and went on to study Graphic Design at the University GH Essen from 1987 to 1992. During this time, his drawings were published in magazines and newspapers, in addition to being shown in numerable exhibits in galeries throughout Germany and Austria. After he received his degree, he worked for several years as a free-lancer in Graphic Design.
In 1988, Hilbert published his first book of Music Cartoons, but in fact, it was a children’s book that would be his ultimate goal. In 1994, after seven long years of lying in a drawer and being turned down by every well-known children’s book publishing house, the first book of the series which would follow, The Rusty Knight (Ritter Rost), a children’s musical in book form (music by Felix Janosa) was published. The stories quickly became popular, although they were published by a small relatively unknown publisher. Many books followed, then audio dramas, and finally, plays.
Today, The Rusty Knight musicals are favored in German-speaking countries, showing over 500 performances a year. There is a variety of versions of the play, ranging from those for school plays to puppet theater to professional ensembles. In 2012, the renown publishing house 'CARLSEN-Verlag' acquired the trademark and in the early part of 2013, a cinema film was released, followed by a TV series making The Rusty Knight a central and integral part of the German-speaking children’s media world. In 2014 and after 150.000 sold copys the first book was decorated with the German Gold Award.
Besides The Rusty Knight, Hilbert has written and illustrated numerous other books. Together with Björn Lengwenus, he developed the prize-winning Fritz & Chesster (Fritz & Fertig), a series aimed at teaching chess. More than once has the software version reached the number one place on the US charts. Now, his works have surpassed the 2 million mark in circulation.
Hilbert is counted among the all-time favorite children’s book authors in German-speaking countries. His many works include musicals, composition, lyrics, poetry, novels, picture books, and software. Some specific works have been translated into over thirty languages.
Photos: Dominika Maria Bonk