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.
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.
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.
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!
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
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.