Peter Paul Rubens described Tobias Stimmer's woodcuts as "a special jewel of our art," and Stimmer's fame in fact spread primarily through prints, both those he made and those he simply designed.
The son of a schoolmaster and artist, Stimmer had at least five brothers who were artists. From 1565 he owned a workshop in Schaffhausen, designing everything from banners to escutcheons. Unfortunately, many of his paintings were large decorative schemes now destroyed and known only from drawings and written sources. His first major commission, frescoing the facade of a fine house, now reconstructed, shows Stimmer as a proud and majestic artist. He also painted portraits that display his interest in the sitter's psychology. In 1570 Stimmer moved to Strasbourg, where he illustrated anti-Catholic books and pamphlets, created chiaroscuro woodcuts, and made portraits. He also designed decorations for Strasbourg Cathedral's astronomical clock and was considered an authority on architecture and geometry. He widely influenced Swiss artists of the 1570s and 1580s, including Daniel Lindtmayer.