My illustration career began at the age of four. I was
inspired by a mural my father had painted of several ducks
on a tranquil pond. I was so inspired, that I drew eight,
life-sized, Sesame Street characters in crayon on the other
three walls of my bedroom! Resisting the urge to ship me
off to China, my parents decided to encourage my budding
talent and made certain that I was never without a
generous supply of crayons and paper to draw on. As for
my tribute to Bert and Ernie, it remained along with my
father's mural, until we moved the following year.
A few years later, academic life would present many opportunities for this precocious, young
illustrator to move beyond mere vandalism. In grade school, I won a contest to design a banner for
R.I.F. (Reading Is Fundamental), was selected to join Art Plus - an elite group of young artists, and
created my first children's book titled: The Bottle That Rode The Waves.
By Junior High, along with madly sketching Spider-Man on any available surface, I was taking art
classes at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH, which exposed me to techniques and
materials beyond cartooning with magic markers.
At Bishop Guertin High School, in addition to caricaturing my teachers during class, I also held the
position of Features Editor on my school newspaper and created posters for the drama club and
school dances. At graduation, I was honored to receive a scholarship for artistic excellence.
In 1988 I began my formal, commercial and fine art education at the Maryland Institute College of
Art. After gaining a solid foundation in Baltimore, I continued my studies at Maine College of Art,
where in addition to painting and drawing, I also studied courses such as photography and
printmaking. Upon completing my Junior year in Portland, I transferred to Florida's Ringling School
of Art and Design, where I focused on commercial art, electing illustration as my major.
The year after college, I began contributing political cartoons and
comic strips to the University of New Hampshire newspaper.
Shortly thereafter, I began illustrating professionally and have
been working in that capacity ever since.
I enjoy working with a variety of media and styles. I use traditional
materials including pen and ink, brush and ink, watercolor, and
acrylic paint. I also use digital media such as Photoshop and a
Wacom drawing tablet to create my illustrations. One of my
greatest aspirations is to have a children's book published. If a
4-year-old kid were to draw the book's characters all over their
bedroom walls, that would bring a mischievous grin to my face.
© Copyright 2013 John B. Watson