John Rocco studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. Upon graduating he collaborated with actor/comedian Whoopi Goldberg creating the picture book Alice.
Shortly after, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as an art director for computer graphics pioneer Robert Abel, the man responsible for some of the very first CGI commercials and special effects.
For the next fourteen years he continued to work as a creative director in the entertainment industry in the U.S. and abroad. As a member of the Walt Disney Imagineering staff, he designed many attractions at Disney’s Epcot, including the Spaceship Earth Post-Show and the Mission Space Post-Show. While at WDI, he also served as the art director for DisneyQuest, an interactive theme park in Downtown Disney.
At Dreamworks, he was the pre-production art director for the top grossing animated film Shrek, where he created hundreds of illustrations that helped the animators develop the final look of the film. He also held positions on several museum projects including the production designer for a 4D ride film at the Newseum in Washington D.C., as well as media creative director for Paul Allen’s Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame where he was responsible for designing the first film ever produced for exhibition on a completely spherical screen.
In 2005 he shifted his focus back to children’s books and created Wolf! Wolf! which garnered several awards including Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book. His next book, Moonpowder, was part of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators, and artwork from the book was selected for a special nationwide traveling exhibition. In 2009 Fu Finds the Way, about a boy who finds courage in a pot of tea, was released; and published in 2011 is his picture book, Blackout, about one summer night in New York City when the power goes out. Among the many cover illustrations he has done, are the covers for Rick Riordan’s multi-million copy international bestselling YA series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, as well as The Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus, also by Riordan.
John Rocco lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Aileen, their daughter, Alaya and their dog, Jag. He spends his time making new books, traveling the country speaking about his work, and restoring his family’s 1860’s Pennsylvania farmhouse inhabited by a family of mice, six bats and several chipmunks.
For more information on John Rocco please visit his website.