John Nez / About Me:

I've illustrated over 60 books of every sort, from picture books to historical folk tales. I'm now also writing and illustrating my own picture books, which is fun.

I draw mostly in a whimsical style with the goal of conveying lots of feeling... happy, sad, sneaky, mad, hopeful, afraid... whatever. I'd guess that's about the main point of any illustration.

Most of my drawing is done on real paper and then processed in the computer. I work in Photoshop and Adobe CS, which greatly expands the artist's toolbox. The combination of traditional and digital mediums is very fun, the best of art and science.

I also use acrylics, watercolors, pencils, inks, scanned textures, photographs... whatever works.

I grew up a happy go lucky child who liked to draw and build things.

My brothers and I built boats, cars, buildings, wooden towns and dioramas. We entered our drawings in the Denver Post newspaper contest... where my brother Dave won all the time. He's also an artist.

Finally I decided to become an artist for real. So I ran away to New York City. I wanted to be a children's book artist.

After three days on the Greyhound I arrived at the Parsons School of Design.

Art school only lasted one quarter. But I did get to take a class with the amazing Maurice Sendak... so that was fun.

I'd already been to college with a degree in English. So I started freelancing in New York City. I already had a portfolio to show.

My uncle, Edwin Schmidt, inspired me to try to become an artist. He was very successful as a commercial artist doing books and magazines. He lived in a beautiful house in Valley Forge outside of Philadelphia. That was the golden age of illustration I guess.

Ever since I began freelancing in New York City, I've kept at it. It's a full time job. So I guess there must be something about it I like.

For the last 30 years I've lived in Seattle, where I enjoy the natural wonders of the Northwest with my family.

In case you're curious, the surname Nez is the americanized version of the original Slovenian name Knez. And Knez is a common translation of "prince" in Croatian and Serbian literature, or so I'm told.

And I thought it was just short for 'Knave'.

Top of Page