I am a children’s book illustrator and author.  I love to visit schools and talk about what I do for a living.  This weblog will be a way of continuing to do that: I’ll post sketches and paintings in progress to show you how I work.

Please visit my website and my Etsy shop.

30 responses to “About

  1. HI! This is fantastic! I am working as an illustrator for a while BUT in September and October I will have my first school visits! So thank you for sharing your experience here. I like your style! The mummy is really, really cool!

  2. Hi. I wrote a children’s book and I could use an illustrator. Would like to talk, eventually, about options for utilizing your talent.

  3. This is fantastic! Educational and eye opening. I’m pondering every page in the hopes it will assist me in my own work…thanks for sharing such great works!!!


  4. hello,
    thank you for setting up your blog. I find your work a real inspiration. Right at the moment I am half way through ‘how to be an illustrator- cantos 2’.
    If you get have a minute would you mind giving my website the once over?


  5. thank you very much. much appreciated.

  6. This is amazing stuff! It is so fascinating to get a look inside the process. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Beautiful work John!
    Great to see all the success that you’re having
    with your children’s books~

  8. Wow, kind of by accident I stumbled onto this and I’m so very excited! I was a student of yours at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute in the late 90s and I must say that your work then as well as now inspires me. I remember being quite in awe of you then and still am. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world. I’ve spent the past year working on a graphic novel and I think of your examples often. Thank you! 🙂

    • Great to hear from you, Jeff! When do we get to see your graphic novel?

    • It’s hard to say. I’ve been working on preproduction work for a while, designing characters and whatnot and working with a preliminary script but I’m in a rewriting faze right now. When I started my book it was more of an adventure story about a group of classic monsters who come together to turn over a new leaf and do good for a change. After drawing for a while I’m rewriting it to be more character driven and less adventure-like; make it more personal. We’ll see how it goes. As soon as I have something substantial I’ll let you know. I always enjoy feedback and especially from someone with so much great experience! 😉

  9. Love your Pirate Bunnies and the Pirate Bunny sea shanty! A friend sent me your blog because I work as a pirate on South Padre Island in Texas. Check out our Pirate ship on our website…love your work! And come sail with us if you get the chance!

  10. I was sent here by a Mr. Finn and a Mr. Gillett, I too am a former alum, hope you remember! I just wanted to say ‘hello’ and say that you’ve got some really, really nice stuff – but it’s what I expected!

    • Mr Finn & Mr Gillett? Weren’t they a vaudeville act back at the turn of the last century? They had a hit with ‘Me Auld Irish Mither’—Finn took the tenor, Gillett the baritone…okay, maybe not.

      Of course, I remember you! You had some boffo caricatures of the Marx Brothers in your student portfolio. Please e-mail me and tell me how you’re doing: Jmanders@aol.com

  11. Hi John,
    Somebody linked from your blog to mine and when I had a look I discovered that I am on your blogroll!
    I feel honored. And thanks for promoting me.
    I am putting you on my blogroll as well.
    Your artwork is stunning!!

  12. Hello John. My name is Danny Haiduk, I’m graphic designer and i like very much your illustrations. I would like to have a permission to use one of your sketchs to include in a little project I’m doing in this moment. The illustration I’m talking about is this ship > https://johnmanders.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/ship190.jpg If I have to pay any cash, how much would be?

    • Thanks for your interest, Danny! I’m not able to grant you usage rights for that image because it’s an illustration for the picture book, Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates. To use the image elsewhere would violate my contract with Candlewick Press, and their lawyers would not be happy. I could draw you a new ship if you like. Please contact my agent, Mela, at http://www.mbartists.com/cgi-bin/iowa/contact.html to discuss fees & production schedule.

  13. Me encanta tu trabajo, eres todo un artista. Un saludo y un abrazo desde Colombia….

  14. Hi
    I just found your blog- Once I learn how to add blog rolls on my blog front page I will ad yours. Could you take a look at my blog and website and leave a comment. I am interested in children’s book illustration. I think I will learn a lot following your work.T

  15. Hallo there,
    my name is Anita Toncheva and im from Bulgaria. At the present im studing animation and next year as my second bachelor i will take graphic and illustration.When i found your blog i was so excited i couldn’t and i still can’t stop watching it.So inspiring. Its very educational and useful too. And
    the thing i like the most its that u seems to be very open person.So keep it up and never stop dreamming 🙂
    Many smiles from sunny Bulgaria and me !

  16. John hello amazing blog! I am also an author but I am looking for an illustrator, after looking at your masterpieces I have been thinking maybe I should start drawing myself! But I will still ask if you would want to try yourself in illustrations and do 4 illustrations about turkey 🙂 I have a rhymed fable at a hand. And what would be the prices 🙂 thanks

  17. Do I have to have an agent in order to get my children’s book published?

    • My experience is that having an agent certainly helps. My agent—an illustration rep, not a literary agent—has shopped projects of mine around to art directors/editors and gotten me interviews that I would not have gotten on my own. However, if you have a manuscript to submit, there’s no reason why you can’t send it yourself. A book you should own is Children’s Illustrators and Writers Market (Writers Digest). A new edition comes out every year, and it is filled with listings for children’s book and magazine publishers, contact information, and guidelines for submitting manuscripts and art samples. 
      Best of luck with your project!

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