Tomasz Lew Leśniak is a comic artist and director of animated films. He co-created Jeż Jerzy (George the Hedgehog).
Comic artist and director of film animations. Co-creator of Jeż Jerzy (George the Hedgehog).
He was born in Warsaw in 1977, where he graduated from the department of graphic design at European Faculty of Arts. As far back as in high school the artist, together with Rałał Skarżycki, created the figure of George, a humanoid hedgehog who skateboards and wears a cap. The first comics with the protagonist were created in 1994. Two years later, parts of them were published in Świerszczyk and Ślizg magazines. Since 2002 eleven albums about the adventures of George have been published, including one album with archival works and one dedicated to children. In 2005 selected short stories were published in a Przekrój supplement.
The comics featuring George the Hedgehog are addressed to adult readers but at the beginning a version for children was published as well. The titular protagonist is a classic antihero. He swears, drinks, smokes, and frequently gets into trouble. An important characteristic of the series is a strong antifascist tone: some of the main antagonists are two skinheads. The best albums of the series are: Egzorcysta (The Exorcist), In Vitro and Człowiek z blizną (Scarface). The cycle was adapted in 2011 into a feature film titled Jeż Jerzy (George the Hedgehog), co-directed by Leśniak, and was seen by a hundred and twenty thousand people. The animation won many prizes, including Grand Prix at SICAF in Seoul and a prize at the Brooklyn Film Festival 2012. The film was followed by the premiere of Jeż Jerzy na urwanym filmie (George the Hedgehog in a Broken Film). Leśniak is now working on a few animations, including Diplodok based on Tadeusz Baranowski’s comics.
george the hedghehog
the anthology of polish comics
Tymek i Mistrz (Tim and the Master) is a series intended for children from the very beginning. It is based on a script by Skarżycki and had its premiere in 2002 in Komiksowi, a supplement to Gazeta Wyborcza. The six albums already published will be republished in 2016. The comic book about the vicissitudes of the titular young wizard and his student appeared also in France in the cult comic magazine ‘Spirou’. Nowadays, Leśniak works on an animated series based on the comic. Its pilot was shown at the International Festival of Comics and Games in Łódź in 2015.
Leśniak is responsible for illustrations to the comic-book Hej, Jędrek!, its storyline was written by Skarżycki. Two volumes are already published. Leśniak has also published numerous short comics, including: AQQ, Produkcje (Productions) and three issues of Antologia polskiego komiksu (The Anthology of Polish Comics). For ‘Filipinki’ he illustrated the series Kfiatuszki based on Dennis Wojda’s story. For Our Earth Foundation he created the album Podróże w czasie i przestrzeni w celu ratowania ziemi (Travels through Time and Space for the Sake of Rescuing the Earth) based on Skarżycki’s script. Together with the scriptwriter Leśniak also creates the satirical cycle Polska mistrzem Polski (Poland – the Champion of Poland) which appears in Duży Format.
Nowadays, Leśniak draws with a tablet. His style shares the aesthetic of authorial realism: his drawings are full of expression, he uses both thin and full contour lines, and his boards are composed dynamically with frequently diversified panels, and changes in plans are characterised by fluent visual narration.
Author: Łukasz Chmielewski, translated by Antoni Wiśniewski, March 2016.