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

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