Meet John Rocco, Rick Riordan’s Personal Illustrator

March 4th, 2010 by

John Rocco and The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition

Children's book illustrator John Rocco, with The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition.

It’s been Percy Jackson madness here on Kidsmomo (literal madness — have you heard our Kidsmomo Karaoke Tribute to PJ?) so I’m gonna write a serious blog post about some serious Percy Jackson stuff.


And now that I’m done gloating (yes, very immature of me), I’ll get to the good stuff — at the event (which was held at a bookstore in Manhattan), Percy Jackson editor Jennifer Besser talked about how the original cover illustrations weren’t really working, and they then found John Rocco, illustrator extraordinaire!

Maybe “personal illustrator” to Rick Riordan is an exaggeration, but John Rocco has designed all five covers of the Percy Jackson series and he’s also working on the new Kane Chronicles series.  I made sure to capture as much as possible on video:

John talking about how he came up with the idea for the cover of The Lightning Thief:

For aspiring artists: his process is really interesting! Check out all the different versions of The Titan’s Curse:

John also took some tough questions from the audience…

And some questions led to some DRAMA!

Some more goodies from John Rocco and Jennifer Besser:

  • The new Camp Half-Blood series by Rick Riordan will be released in October 2010!
  • John enjoyed working on The Last Olympian cover the most, and often went to the Empire State Building for inspiration.
  • John also worked on the new Rick Riordan series The Kane Chronicles, and afterwards I bugged him about the water tower on the cover of The Red Pyramid — and turns out it’s not significant in the story. (I guess I went a little overboard scrutinizing the cover!)

— Nancy

9 Responses

  • Hahaha me writes:
    March 4th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    YES!!! Camp Half-Blood is awesome!

  • Bianca writes:
    May 23rd, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I love your pictures, they rule. Thank you!

  • Amillia writes:
    November 10th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    i love your drawings! i want to be an author too,and i want you to be my illustrator when i become one! thanks.

  • Nico di Angelos writes:
    January 13th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I cant wait till he makes the mark of Athena cover!!!!!

  • Camryn writes:
    May 8th, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    He’s my ideal! I always wished to be an author AND my own illustrator one day if the fates and God lets me but now I wish he’d do it. A girl can dream!

  • Jonathon writes:
    May 14th, 2015 at 6:03 pm


  • caleb writes:
    September 16th, 2016 at 10:47 am

    i am on book two of the heroes of olympus i think book one is amazing and i love camp half blood is cool.

  • Samuel writes:
    February 21st, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I continue to live solely on Riordan’s writing and Rocco’s drawings.

  • Samuel writes:
    February 21st, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Which do you people prefer, Camp Half-Blood or Camp Jupiter.

    Personally, I prefer Camp Jupiter.

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