Born in 1961 and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Mike Wimmer has been sketching and painting since age 6. His stepfather brought home paper and cardboard from his job at a box factory for him to draw on while his mother, then a college student and later a teacher at Mike’s middle school, introduced him to the world of books. Wimmer was deeply impressed with the classic adventure stories such as Treasure Island, especially those with the illustrations of such greats as N.C.Wyeth and Harvard Pyle.
Excelling both academically and athletically in high school, he began to take his artistic aspirations seriously as his graduation approached. He turned down his mother's offer to pay his college tuition if he would work on a degree in a "practical field" such as law or medicine. Instead, Wimmer followed his grandfather's advice, that if he did what he loved he would excel and he would be richly compensated for it as well.
Accordingly, he paid his own way when he started a bachelor of art program at the University of Oklahoma in 1979. Two years of the program were at the Sketchpad Studio in Arlington, Texas on a commercial arts apprenticeship, where he had an opportunity to study with Don Punchatz. His graduation in 1984 was made even sweeter by the fact that his own design was used on the diploma he and his fellow graduates received. Mike Later completed his MFA at the University of Hartford in Hartford, CT.
Mike has been featured in an Emmy Award winning production of the television series “Gallery” which runs on OETA. He has produced artwork for some of the largest corporations in the world, including Disney, Proctor and gamble. RJR Nabisco, Kimberly Clark, and has had the honor of painting the portraits of some of America’s most prestigious citizens. His work has recently been seen on packages of Celestial Seasons Teas, and has painted some 300 covers for almost every major publisher in the United States.
Mike has illustrated many children’s books and book covers. Train Song by Diane Siebert, 1991 NCSS/CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the field of Social Studies and a Redbook Best Book for 1990. He is also the illustrator of Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh by Robert Burliegh, published by Putnam Philomel who was the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children 1990. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan was published in 1994 by Harper Collins and has become a favorite of every generation. It also won the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book for 1995. Homerun: The Story of Babe Ruth, Mike’s second book with Bob Burliegh, was published in 1997 by Harcourt Brace and has been included on many state book award lists. In 1999 Simon and Schuster published Summertime -from Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin with Dubose and Dorothy Hayward. Will Rogers written by Governor Frank Keating was released in August of 2002. It has been awarded the 2003 Spur Award from the Western Writers Association of America.
His book Theodore, written by Frank Keating was released in January of 2006 received starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Stealing Home, written by Robert Burliegh, published by Simon and Schuster, 2007 also received starred reviews. The Trial of Standing Bear, written by Frank Keating, published by The Oklahoma Heritage Foundation, 2008, was awarded the SPUR Award by the Western Writers of America in 2009. One Giant Leap, written by Bob Burleigh, published by Putnam Penguin Philomel Books for Young Readers, 2009, was voted as a 2010 NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book. Mike's book George, written by Frank Keating and published by Simon and Schuster, was released on George Washington’s 280th birthday celebration at Mt. Vernon on Presidents Day February 20, 2012. The book garnered much acclaim and was named as an Oklahoma Book Awards Finalist for 2013.
Mike’s goals have remarkably stayed the same throughout his career: “The details help tell the story.” The details are not only found in his paintings, but in his life as a teacher, a husband and a father. These goals are wrapped up in his personal motto; “Learn It, Live It, and Teach It.” Mike currently serves as the Chair of the School of Visual Arts in the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University. He currently lives in Edmond, OK with his wife Jime, an Art Educator at Edmond Memorial High School. Together they have 4 children and one grandchild.