|john steven gurney||
I grew up in Bucks County Pennsylvania. I always enjoyed picture books by Maurice Sendak, watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and reading Mad magazine. And I always enjoyed drawing cartoons of everyone I knew. When I was in fifth grade I took an art class in which the teacher, Jean Burford, read classic stories as we created pen and ink illustrations. That was when I knew that I wanted to be an illustrator.
During High School I took Saturday classes at the Philadelphia College of Art. I also studied with, and worked for, renown illustrator William A. Smith.
I attended Pratt institute in Brooklyn New York and spent the summers doing caricatures on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During my first years as an illustrator I also worked throughout the New York City area as a caricature artist.
While attending Pratt I won a national poster contest for Molson's Golden Ale. The illustration appeared in Rolling Stone magazine where it was seen by the art directors at Ariel books. That led to my first picture book assignment, The Temptation of Wilfred Malachy, written by William F. Buckley, published in 1985.
Since then I've illustrated more than 100 books for children (I feel like an old man whenever I write that), including more than 70 titles in Scholastics' The Bailey School Kids and the Bailey City Monsters series. I've illustrated all of the titles in the A to Z Mysteries and the Calendar Mysteries for Random House, as well as books for Simon and Schuster, Ace Berkley, and Orchard Books. Dinosaur Train, my first book as an author and illustrator was published by Harper Collins in Fall of 2002.
My illustrations have also appeared children's magazines like Cricket, Babybug, and Highlights High Five, and non-children¹s magazines, such as TV Guide and National Lampoon. I illustrated the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for their advertisements and shopping bags. I also illustrated the popular board game "Guess Who" for Milton Bradley.
In 1997 my wife and I and our two children moved from Brooklyn New York to Brattleboro, Vermont. Yes, my kids draw too. But we also love playing baseball, running, soccer, and skiing. (Actually, I'm just learning to ski, and I would advise anyone reading this to learn it before you reach your forties, rather than after.) I ran the Hartford Marathon and the NYC Marathon in 2008, but I think that's going to be it as far as marathons go. Maybe just an occasional half marathon from now on.