Like a lot of artists, I began drawing at a very young age. I was always known in school as “that kid who can draw.” The truth was, it was the one thing I enjoyed and the one thing I was good at. I wasn’t good at sports, or at paying attention, or at getting good grades. At the age of 20, I even dropped out of art school. But, I still loved drawing pictures and telling stories. So I stuck with it. Today, I am blessed to be able to say that I get to draw for a living, though it wasn’t an easy road.
I began building a children’s art portfolio sometime around 2003. Shortly thereafter, I was taken under the wing of Tony DiTerlizzi, creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, whose constant mentoring and encouragement brought out the best in me and taught me to always strive for better. That mentorship continues to this day, and has become one of my most cherished friendships.
Despite a great mentor and a tremendously supportive wife, who would never let me give up, many frustrating years came and went with what seamed like no light at the end of the tunnel. In 2012, just when I was ready to throw in the towel on my illustration career, I saw my first published illustration. I was hired to do one drawing in the John Carter of Mars anthology, Under the Moons of Mars, by Simon & Schuster. I spent all that I was paid on that project to fly with my wife to NYC in the hopes of visiting publishers. Abrams Books was one publisher that invited me in, and a year later I was offered Dr. Critchlore’s School For Minions, by Sheila Grau, which later became a 4-book series, with Book 3 set to release in March of 2017.
In 2014 I illustrated The Warden and the Wolf King, the long-anticipated finale to Andrew Peterson’s critically acclaimed Wingfeather Saga. My most recent addition to this legacy was illustrating a short tale by bestselling author, N.D. Wilson, in the Wingfeather Tales. In 2014, I also joined as a contributor to The Rabbit Room, an online community inspired by the works of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien, among other great authors, artists and musicians. That same year, I also became a contributor to Story Warren, an online community with the intent of fostering creativity in the minds of children.
While in Memphis in October of 2016, my wife Gina and I had the honor of touring St. Jude and Target House. Our tour of Target House concluded with a stop in their art room, where I had the privilege of drawing with kids and families staying at Target House. It was truly a life-changing experience for both Gina and me, and an unforgettable marker along the journey of our lives.
On December 12th, 2016, I celebrated the release of Word Of Mouse, by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, which I illustrated. The book was warmly received by both fans and critics, far and wide, some of which compared my art to my personal hero, Garth Williams. What a tremendous honor that is! I can hope for my art to be remembered as fondly as his is.
I have many projects in the works, some authored but each illustrated, all of which I will share in time. Thank you, all who have encouraged me through handshakes, hugs and kind words, as well as for purchasing the works I am a part of. The people I get to meet along this journey are often the greatest blessings.