John Ennis, A Fine Artist & Book Illustrator
Life & Education
John Ennis is an American fine artist and portrait painter. Ennis also had a long career as a book illustrator.
He has designed over a thousand book cover illustrations.
Ennis was born on October 23, 1953. He would graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Later, he studied painting at the Art Students League of New York.
Career As A Cover Artist
Ennis’s career blossomed in the 1980s. He would receive many commissions for artwork from almost every mainstream publisher of romance. Ennis painted covers for Ballantine, Bantam, Dell, Dorchester, Berkley, Harper Collins, Penguin, New American Library, Pocket Books, Random House, Harlequin Enterprises, and, of course, Kensington Books.
It often seemed to me that half the Zebra historicals were painted by Pino and Ennis alone!
Trained as an oil painter, Ennis worked in that medium until the mid-1990s. He helped pioneer digital illustration by introducing it to the book publishing industry.
Digital imaging was a revolutionary method for illustrating covers. Ennis’ design for Robin Schone’s The Lady’s Tutor was a radical change from the clinch covers he’d done before for Zebra. It pictured only the heroine’s corseted torso as the hero’s hand unlaced her stays.
Where Is He Now?
Ennis has painted several hundred private and institutional portraits. Currently, his paintings hang in over 100 fine art collections worldwide. He has won numerous awards and received much acclaim.
In 2002 Ennis left the book industry behind and no longer illustrates and designs cover art. He returned to oil painting as a portrait artist.