John Picacio

John Picacio (born September 3, 1969) is an award-winning American artist specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror illustration.


John Picacio was born on September 3, 1969, in San Antonio, Texas. As of 2007, he still lives and works in San Antonio, together with his wife, Traci. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992, and illustrated his first book – Behold the Man: The Thirtieth Anniversary Edition by Michael Moorcock (Mojo Press) – in 1996. In May, 2001 he ended his career in architecture to became a full-time illustrator.


He advocates his own method of gaining attention – sending physical samples to art directors of books and magazines – since:
„Even if an artist has a good website, it’s a good idea to send out a physical reminder of their art so that art directors can keep it around.” His early work featured in many annuals and art compendiums, including Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, as well as magazines such as Realms of Fantasy.

Picacio has since produced design work and – particularly – cover art for many notable SF, fantasy and horror books printed by many different publishers, from some of the longest-established and largest American SF&F imprints (Random House/Ballantine Books/Del Rey; HarperCollins/Eos; Roc Books; Tor Books), to more recent, independent publishers (Golden Gryphon Press; MonkeyBrain Books; Night Shade Books; Tachyon Publications; Earthling Publication and iBooks).

Picacio cites a „mutual respect” between himself and his art directors, who tend to give him „space to create” his artwork, which he sees as part of an interaction with the reader, „communicating with a smart and sophisticated audience”. He works particularly well with fellow-Texan Roberson (author and MonkeyBrain publisher), and the editorial director of Prometheus Books‘ science fiction imprint Pyr Lou Anders. He has provided covers for several of Roberson’s solo efforts – from one of his earliest self-published titles, the 2002 Clockwork Storybook title Any Time at All to his 2007 X-Men novel – as well as providing dozens of covers for almost the entire output of MonkeyBrain Books. For Anders, Picacio has provided covers for several anthologies from multiple companies since Wildside Press‘s 2001 Outside the Box.

Cover for Monkeybrain Books

Picacio Art for Robert Silverberg’s TIMES THREE

cover illustration for Michael Moorcock‘s ELRIC: SWORDS & ROSES



Cover illustration for THE DARK AGE: THE DEVIL IN GREEN by Mark Chadbourn

Cover for THE DARK AGE: THE HOUNDS OF AVALON by Mark Chadbourn

Cover illustration for ROBOTS & MAGIC

Cover illustration for THE BEST OF JOE R. LANSDALE

Cover for AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK 2 DARKEST HOUR by Mark Chadbourn

Cover for ARE YOU THERE AND OTHER STORIES by Jack Skillingstead

Cover illustration for ELRIC: THE SLEEPING SORCERESS by Michael Moorcock

Cover illustration for MUSE OF FIRE by Dan Simmons



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