John Rocco

Rocco on a SCBWI panel, November 2011

Christopher John Rocco (born July 9, 1967)[1] is an American illustrator of book covers and children's books.[1] He is best known for illustrating the covers of books in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He is the sole creator of some children's picture books.


Rocco was raised in Barrington, Rhode Island.[1] He studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the School of Visual Arts in New York City[2] and earned a degree from the latter.[1]

Rocco is married to Aileen and they have a daughter Alaya. They currently live in Los Angeles. Aileen also writes and illustrates children's books.[2] They lived in Brooklyn at least to 2010[2] and his personal website biography gave that residence as of March 2012.[1]


Rocco did not take drawing seriously until he was 19 years old. Rocco has also been an international art director in the entertainment industry. Rocco was the pre-production art director at Dreamworks for the film Shrek. He designed attractions at Disney's Epcot and served as art director for DisneyQuest.[2]

Two companion books to the Percy Jackson series were published in 2014 and 2015, with lavish interior illustrations by Rocco, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. Regarding the first Kirkus observed in a starred review, "Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning ...".[3]


Rocco was a runner-up for the American Library Association Caldecott Medal, which annually recognizes the best in U.S. children's picture book illustration, when Blackout was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2012.[4]


Children's books as writer

This is a "middle grade/YA novel" by Rocco and an old friend, the "captain of the shellfishing boat I worked on as a child".[7]

As illustrator only

Interior illustrations
Cover and dustjacket art

Another artist illustrated the first edition dustjacket for at least the first Camp Half-Blood novel by Rick Riordan, namely The Lightning Thief. Before the end of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians subseries (2005 to 2009), all volumes were in print with stylistically matching dustjackets illustrated by Rocco. New cover illustrations from a single Rocco painting that spans all five books were introduced early in 2014.[12]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The U.S. Library of Congress cites 2007 email correspondence with Rocco's publisher, for his full name and date of birth, and otherwise cites his website as of March 2012.
      "Rocco, John". Library of Congress Authorities ( Retrieved 2015-11-04. Point of entry to LC Online Catalog for works by Rocco.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "About". ROCCOART: Words and Pictures ( Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  3. 1 2 "Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco". Kirkus Reviews. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  4. "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
      "The Randolph Caldecott Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  5. "Past Winners (Irma Black Award)". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  6. "BLACKOUT, by John Rocco, illustrated by John Rocco" (starred review). Kirkus Reviews. April 15, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  7. 1 2 3 John Rocco. "2014 – a novel, an illustrated book of myths and a picture book, oh my ...". ROCCO Art ( Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  8. "BLIZZARD, by John Rocco, illustrated by John Rocco" (starred review). Kirkus Reviews. September 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  9. Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco". Kirkus Review. Posted online July 22, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  10. 1 2 "Rick Riordan Books". ROCCOART. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  12. "Percy Jackson gets new covers!". [February 2014]. ROCCO Art. Retrieved 2015-11-14. According to Rocco his first reaction was that "because of the popularity of the books they had become very iconic", evidently concerning his cover illustrations for all five novels.

External links

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