I was raised in a Marine Corps family and traveled extensively during my childhood, usually staying no longer than a year in each place (all in all, I attended nine different schools between the first and twelfth grades). To this day I get an itch to pull up stakes and move every twelve months.
From a very young age I discovered the joy of art. In particular, cartoon art. Being a cartoonist saved my sanity; however the jury is still out on this. I’d sit in class drawing caricatures of teachers and fellow students, a talent that helped me make friends with classmates (if not with teachers). I drew numerous cartoon strips, emulating the styles of T.K. Ryan (Tumbleweeds), Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (Rat Fink), and Walt Kelly (Pogo). My political satires made their way into several school base newspapers, giving me an identity as someone who could make people see themselves and the world as I saw it, making people laugh and think.
After a tour of duty in the Marines, I attended Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz, California, where I met and married a willowy brunette named Cathleen Correll. Graduating in 1977 with a B.A. in English Literature and Bible Theology, we headed south to the Los Angeles area, where I soon landed a career in the cartoon animation industry. Not exactly what I had studied to do, but that’s where God led me.
During the late-70s and throughout the 80s, I worked for studios such as Hanna Barbera, Filmation, Warner Brothers, and Marvel Productions. In each studio I honed my skills as an animator, storyboard artist, character designer and writer. I worked on the five-time Emmy award winning Muppet Babies, combining my skills as a writer and artist to create the visual interpretations of the song bridges in each show. It was at Marvel Productions that I began producing and directing television series and specials: Blondie and Dagwood for CBS; the animated Fraggle Rock series for NBC; the My Little Pony feature film.
In 1987 I left Marvel to start my own company, The Stillwater Production Company. At Stillwater I produced and directed the animation segments for the award winning video series McGee and Me! as well as the animated Adventures in Odyssey; each series boasting several gold and platinum episodes. I also produced scores of animated commercials for toy companies such as Milton Bradley, Hasbro, Kenner, McDonald’s and Playskool. I went on to produce Spy Dogs (Fox Kids), and Pigs Next Door (Fox Family).
It was during the early-nineties that I began writing novels, beginning with a story that takes place in Fifth Century Britain, during the Anglo-Saxon invasion. Moody Press bought and published it in 1995. The Crimson Tapestry went into a second printing a month after its release. Christian Retailing Review wrote:
“Joens’ style is unlike any other in the Christian fiction market…let the eyes become accustomed to the incredible vocabulary and innovative imagery, and it will be savored as rich, full-bodied writing that is treacherously laced with suspense…. The Crimson Tapestry could become a best seller and raise the standards by which Christian fiction is judged.”
Its sequel, The Shadows of Eden followed six months later.
If you are interested in viewing each of my novels and their synopses, pleas go to the Books button on the menu bar.
In 1978 I created a concept where I would use cartoons as my platform to teach theology to children. Theo Presents is that concept. It took thirty years before I received the funding to make this dream a reality. If you are interested in learning more about this unique animated series, and how you may use it to train up your children in the way of the Lord, please visit www.theopresents.com, where you can learn everything you need to know.
I will be writing about the things that I have learned over the past forty-three years, during my sojourn as a Christ-follower. I look forward to walking with you along the way.