When I was growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I would spend most of my time drawing pictures. My elementary school and high school did not have any art classes but I kept on drawing. Sometimes I'd ask my dad to show me how to draw things but I wanted to learn even more so I started copying pictures that I liked. Most of my favorite pictures were in comic books. I loved to read and my favorite stories were adventure stories. Comic books had adventure with great looking characters and settings. I read about famous artists too, such as Michelangelo and I would study photos of his work and even try to draw them. Eventually I had a portfolio of drawings to show people. My father arranged for me to meet Burne Hogarth, the illustrator of Tarzan and many drawing books, when I was about sixteen years old and he encouraged me to keep drawing!
When I was ready to go to college, Mr. Hogarth wrote a letter of recommendation for me to attend The School of Visual Arts. That's where I learned a lot more about art and illustration. Great illustrators such as N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell became my inspiration to become an illustrator and to be as good as them. I worked hard and practiced all the time. Before I graduated I had already managed to get a couple of illustration assignments and my work was picked for the SVA Portfolio as some of the best of the graduating class.
I began illustrating for magazines and eventually, picture books, my favorite thing to illustrate. I've illustrated over eighty books and won awards such as The Parent's Choice Award, Ben Franklin Award, School Library Journal Selection, Junior Literary Guild Gold Medal and one of my books was a featured book on the Reading Rainbow television show. I also received the Rip VanWinkle Award for my contribution to Children's Literacy.
I continue to illustrate picture books and coloring books and am working on illustrating stories that I've written too. I enjoy doing school and library visits for all ages. I teach digital illustration and art fundamentals at Marist College. As an artist I love the chance to share my work with others, especially young audiences, in picture books. I guess all my hard work at the beginning is still paying off!
I was always drawing.
I drew this when I was 5 years old.
I learned a lot from drawing comic book characters
and reading anatomy books.
This is where I work. There's a place for everything I need to make my illustrations at my drawing board, easel or on my computer and iPad. I store my supplies and paintings here too. As you see, there is a lot of natural light, just what an artist needs!
STEVEN JAMES PETRUCCIO ILLUSTRATION
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