CALLING ALL PERCY JACKSON FANS: Announcing John Rocco’s new art print shop+signed print giveaway!

Hello everybody! Today I am incredibly excited to be announcing something awesome that one of my favorite artists John Rocco is opening today as well as interviewing him AND giving something from his new shop away!  So let’s get started with the big announcement first so you can be excited for the rest of your life.




JOHN ROCCO HAS OPENED A PRINT SHOP! It has all of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians covers as well as the Heroes of Olympus covers at this moment. Each print is great quality, printed on museum rag paper and comes *signed* by John Rocco himself. If you are a Rick Riordan fan, these prints are perfect for your bedroom/bookshelf/wall/ceiling/floor/everywhere. Click on the photo or below to go to his new shop.

Screenshot 2016-07-24 at 5.39.31 PM

Don’t you just want to buy everything?!?!?

John is stopping by the blog today to answer some of my burning questions and tell us more about his new shop. Read on to learn about what it’s like illustrating Rick Riordan’s book covers.

Hey John! Thanks for coming to talk about your new Etsy shop.

Hi Xander! So cool of you to have me visit.

Why did you decide to start your new Etsy site?

That’s a great question. There are a lot of places you can purchase signed prints of some terrific artwork from children’s books, but unfortunately the prices for those can be rather expensive and so the audience becomes limited to only the serious collectors. I’ve always wanted the fans of children’s book art to be able to have access to the art, signed by the artist, at a price they can afford. After lots of research, I felt that Etsy would be the best place to have my art available to the fans. It allows me to create the prints myself, not only to make sure the color is spot on, but also so I can sign it and send it directly to the buyer. It also allows me to use the heavyweight museum rag paper that I love, and have it printed with archival inks to make sure the print will last for generations to come.

What is the most exciting part of working on Rick Riordan’s covers?

Hahaha….Well the first thing I think of when you ask that is that suddenly my artwork is on millions of books and in the hands of kids all over the world. For an illustrator to have that experience is mind boggling. I also love the challenge that comes with each new book; trying to create new and striking images that not only attract the reader, but makes them feel iconic at the same time can be tricky.

PicMonkey Collage

What part of the illustration process do you enjoy the most?

I think one of the fun parts for me is getting to sit and read the latest Riordan book before anybody else. Sitting on my couch, following Percy or Jason or Magnus on their adventure, and realizing that I’m actually working…It makes me giggle. I feel so lucky!

Who are some artists you really look up to?

I love many of the early American illustrators of adventure stories. N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and Dean Cornwell, come to mind. I also love the fairy tale illustrators; Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Maxfield Parrish. Among the more contemporary illustrators, there are just too many to list. Here are a few that I really look up to; James Jean, Jon Foster, Carter Goodrich, Lane Smith, William Joyce, David Macaulay and Shaun Tan.  Of course I cannot forget all of my former studio mates in Brooklyn; John Bemelmans Marciano, Brian Floca, Sergio Ruzzier and Sophie Blackall. (I miss them terribly!)

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve illustrated for the Percy Jackson series?

I would have to say, The Lightning Thief cover. Not only was it the first book cover I had ever done, It was the first painting that led to a decade of creating art for Rick’s incredible stories.

The Lightning Thief

Do you prefer the original PJO covers or the new 10th anniversary covers?

Come on Xander! That’s like asking a parent which of their children do they like better.  Painting the 10th anniversary covers was a real challenge, because I really felt like I had nailed it the first time around…hahaha.  But it was also fun because I was able to not only re-imagine the covers, but also pay some tribute to the ideas of the originals.  See how I skirted your question?

How many drafts do you go through for each cover?

The number of drafts I do for a cover always varies. The first idea usually gets a thumbs up with a bunch of tweaking to the design and composition, but other times I will go through three or four different ideas before I get to the solution that everyone is on board with.  Everyone in this case usually means myself, Rick, the editor, the sales and marketing team and the publisher.


Great questions Xander! We’ve known each other for a few years now, and it’s always a pleasure to run into you at various book festivals all over the country. I am so excited about this new venture in which I can send the readers signed artwork from the books they love, directly from my studio!  Thanks for helping me get the word out.
All the best,

Here are some pictures from the three times I hung out with John!

PicMonkey Collage



To celebrate the opening of his new Etsy shop, John Rocco is giving away a signed Rick Riordan cover print of your choice to one lucky winner!

To enter the giveaway, post a comment answering this question: Which Rick Riordan cover is your favorite and why? You must enter it into the Rafflecopter form below by clicking on “Enter to win a signed cover print.” Once you post a comment and validate it on Rafflecopter, there are more options to get more entries. SUPER SIMPLE!


The giveaway is open to winners with US addresses only, sorry international readers. The giveaway ends on August 18, 2016 (Percy’s birthday!!!!) at 12:00 A.M. CST and a winner will be chosen and contacted shortly after. The winner has 72 hours to reply with their address or a new winner will be chosen.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post and good luck in the giveaway! I’m off to Camp Half-Blood now (I’m actually 100% serious, tomorrow I go to Camp Half-Blood Austin for the week). You’ll see me (or my body) on the other side! (I’ll try not to die while I’m there)



John Rocco is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes as well as the cover illustrator for all of Rick Riordan’s international best-selling Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus series. He has also written and illustrated several of his own picture books, including Blizzard and the Caldecott Honor-winning Blackout and has most recently illustrated  How to Train a Train and How to Track a Truck. He has also illustrated books by Whoopi Goldberg and Katherine Patterson, and recently co-authored his first novel, Swim That Rock, to high acclaim. Before becoming a full-time children’s book creator, he worked as pre-production art director on “Shrek” for Dreamworks, and for Walt Disney Imagineering. He lives in Los Angeles.


35 responses to “CALLING ALL PERCY JACKSON FANS: Announcing John Rocco’s new art print shop+signed print giveaway!

  1. This is so cool, Xander!
    I personally like the first Heroes of Olympus one. Because MECHANICAL DRAGON, DUDE. It’s awesome! But PJO is my favorite series out of all the Rick Riordan ones.
    It’s pretty cool that you’ve met him a lot, Xander. You’re really young in some of those! (Like reallly young.) That’s awesome!
    Thanks for the opportunity for this giveaway!

  2. My favorite Rick Riordan cover?? Wow well I gotta say well for the percy jackson series, I really loved the Last Olympian’s cover, it’s monochromatic yes but it’s very well done and its a scene from the book, which I may add is the last Olympian is my favorite of the 5 books. Yet I still continued to be amazed by the fantastic book covers for the Heroes of Olympus! I loved every single cover for that series so much I couldn’t simply just choose one! They all depict a single scene from the book, but the colors and detail and everything is amazing! So in respond to the question, I don’t favor one only cover, and thats because they’re all amazing in different ways, and not to mention every book cover is a small sneak peek of what the book will be about or about a critical scene, or simply what caught the artist’s eye (john rocco in this case) and his view on the story.

  3. Ah I forgot to why! I really liked the Son of Neptunes Color scheme! It’s also makes me see Percy moving out, like the scene playing in my head. 🙂

  4. Oh, man, my favorite cover? I can’t pick just one! The Sword of Summer cover is absolutely stunning… but so is Mark of Athena… But House of Hades and Blood of Olympus are my favorites…. I don’t know if I can pick just one…. I think I’d probably choose either Sword of Summer or Blood of Olympus though, for multiple reasons(:

    I think it’s so cool that you want your art available to all your fans, and incredibly endearing. x

  5. OMG Xander those photos of you are too cute! Other than the 10th Anniversary book covers I think Mark of Athena is my favorite. It perfectly captures both Camp Jupiter and Camp Half Blood coming together. Though I love the image of Festus on Lost Hero.

  6. I have always loved The Titan’s Curse cover. I just love how the vines that are intertwined between blackjacks legs give you a glimpse of what us happening in the book. I also love how John Rocco portrayed the skyline of the city below as separated by a fog (the Mist?) and peaceful and oblivious to the chaos that will soon ensue. I can’t actually explain why I love this cover so much, it just flows so well and depicts a beautiful image.

  7. My favorite Percy Jackson cover is all of them! John Rocco is able to encompass the most important and dramatic part of the plot into the cover of each book. Every cover is unique to each book where he captures the intensity of the scene. You can tell that Rick and John have grown together as a writer and artist because as Rick started to expand into Roman mythology and different points of view, John’s style changed. John Rocco’s covers have become more detailed and dramatic like his ” House of Hades” cover as compared to ” Battle of the Labyrinth”. You can see the intensity in Percy’s eyes; they capture the torturous atmosphere that Percy and Annabeth faced down in Hades. My favorite cover is ” The Son of Neptune” because it captures the (one of) most important part of the books plot. Percy, from the depths of the Alaskan water, triumphantly retrieves the lost staff . I love the detail of the crumbling glacier and temples and how cold and wet Percy looks.
    I do love all of the covers by John Rocco. He is an amazing artist and I look up to him as an artist, being an artist myself.

  8. I wasnsupposed to comment mybfav cover for the giveaway its th son of Neptune on of my all time favorite books and Percys on it, I remember not being ble to wit until it came out!

  9. My favorite cover has to be the Magnus Chase cover! I absolutely love the colors and background. And most of all, Magnus on the cover, perfectly matches how I imagined him throughout the book!

  10. I love the cover for “The Lightning Thief” the most! The nostalgia for when I first read PJO is part of the reason I love it so much, but the color scheme is also so Percy!

  11. I personally love tge cover of House of Hades!!! It’s my favorite Percy Jackson book and I think it was nicely done!!!

  12. The Lightning Thief! I started the series my senior year in high school and finishing it made me positive I wanted pursue a degree/career in book publishing. Now I am! I’m so grateful for the magic this series brought to my life and this cover was the first thing I saw before starting that adventure.

  13. I absolutely love the Mark of Athena Cover. I love the color combinations and the way Percy and Jason are battling on horseback, representing the conflict between the two camps. Also Athenas owl in the background looks awesome.

  14. I of course like them all, but if I have to pick one, then I’m going with The Lighting Thief. There is just something about that cover! ❤ like – what am I getting myself into? It's got an ominous feel to it!

  15. I like the trails of Apollo cover. I love how the yellow stands out from the blue. I love the concept of seeing both the god version and then the human version. Of course I love all the covers so this is a hard question.

  16. The Titan’s Curse. Love the dark imagery and the boldness of the figures really conveys the plot of the book. Also I love ponies so

  17. My favorite cover has to be House of Hades. I love how it shows Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus, the Doors of Death and the Phlegethon. The House of Hades is my favorite book in the entire world.

  18. I gotta say my favorite cover is the Mark of Athena, because it covers the true struggle the demigods are going through, while showcasing the two main leads AND the owl. Plus, before reading the book it troubles you to think that there could be a fight between the seven demigods. Then you read the book and realize that it really just is something else!

  19. Although the Lost Hero has been my computer background for the past 4 years, I have to say the Battle of the Labyrinth is my fave book cover. The details in the Labyrinth and Kronos’ casket are incredible!!

  20. The Lightning Thief and the Son of Neptune are my favorite covers because being a long time PJO fan, I feel very connected with Percy. He’s like an old and close friend of mine.

  21. My favorite cover would probably be the third Percy Jackson book aka The Titans Curse. It’s my favorite novel because we have a young and innocent Nico and then we have Thalia who is awesome. Plus we have the beginnings of Percabeth because Percy goes across the country just to get her back. Talk about goals. Plus the cover is just so pretty. I love all the covers and blue is so pretty and of course Percy’s favorite color. I love the fog over the city and the so majestic pegasus aka Blackjack. It’s just so gorgeous.

  22. John is right, it’s like trying to name your favorite child. These aren’t even my masterpieces, but it’s so difficult to decide! Yikes!

    I think, maybe, Mark of Athena could be the top pick. Everything that happened in that book was amazing! Annabeth learned so much. But on the cover, the owl eyes/face is just so eye-catching.

  23. My favorite cover has got to be Mark of Athena. Not only does it foreshadow a lot of the events that do happen in the book the cover looks intense, which had led me to know that that book was not only going to be my favorite in the series but it was going to be the book with the most action. The art style for it was fantastic and I loved it!

  24. My favorite Percy Jackson cover has to be The Last Olympian from the original set. I believe the color choices were amazing and made the art look bold and enticing, just like the actual book. It’s epic.

  25. My favorite cover, eh? Good question… It would probably have to be The Lightning Thief just for the nostalgia and mystery it has!

  26. I’m partial to THE LAST OLYMPIAN, because I like the swooping backlit effect, but they’re all beautifully done.

  27. Gosh, it’s so hard to choose my favorite cover! I really love the original Sea of Monsters cover because it makes you do a double take at what you think is the moon but it’s actually an eye and I’m also a huge fan of the Battle of the Labyrinth 10th anniversary cover because I love how the maze is comprised of buildings in the New York skyline. However I think that the Sword of Summer has to get the title of my favorite just because of the incredible coloring on it!

  28. I think my favorite cover is The House of Hades because it really helps give you an idea of what Percy and Annabeth were dealing with.

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