Funeral services took place Aug. 25 for Joy Sikorski, 57, a well known author of how to draw books, loved equally by adults and children. She died Aug.18 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, New York from complications following a ten-year battle with ovarian cancer. Joy was a senior production editor at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. of Hoboken and was active in the Hoboken Museum and Hoboken Garden Club. For the past two years, Joy lived in Ridgewood with her husband and collaborator.
Joy was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, a manufacturer of metal castings, moved the family to Logansport, Ind., afterwards settling in River Forest, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Joy studied anthropology at Northwestern University and then at Georgetown University. She moved to Vermont and after several years, enrolled at Smith College to study fine art, graduating with a B.A. in 1983.
While taking a class in the art of the book at Smith College, Joy met another student of the arts who was enrolled in another college in the five-college consortium of which Smith is a part. Together they began creating and publishing art books. They married in 1993.
“How to Draw a Radish” was published by Chronicle Books and is now in its tenth printing. It was followed by “How to Draw a Cup of Coffee.” The success of these two books fostered “How to Draw a Clam,” published by Clarkson Potter in 2000 and “Squeaky Chalk,” published by Knopf during the same year. “Squeaky Chalk” introduces children to the industrial history of Paterson, N.J. It won many awards and was a direct outgrowth of philanthropy that Joy and her husband conducted for the past fifteen years toward preserving Paterson’s cultural heritage
“How to Draw a Sailing Cat,” published by Sterling this past March, introduces children to the natural history of New Jersey’s wetlands. Its sequel, tentatively titled “How to Draw a Witch,” also concerns the wetlands and will be published late in 2010. These two books feature the misadventures of Little Man, a short tailed cat whose inspiration originated thirty years ago in Vermont when Joy tended to the care of an elderly woman and her cat. When the cat’s name escaped the elderly woman’s memory, she would refer to him as the “Little Man.”
Joy lives on in the hearts of her mother, Josephine Sikorski of Clearwater, Beach, Fla., her siblings John, Mary, Richard, Anne, and Joseph, her many fans, and her husband, Nick Sunday. Services arranged by the C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home, Ridgewood.