John Ennis

John Ennis

Life & Education

John Ennis was born on October 23, 1953. He is an American portrait painter. Most notably, Ennis had a long career as a book illustrator. He has designed over a thousand book cover illustrations. His paintings currently hang in over 100 fine art collections worldwide.

Ennis graduated 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 was established in the 1980s. He painted covers for almost every mainstream publisher of romance: Ballantine, Bantam, Dell, Dorchester, Berkley, Harper Collins, Penguin, New American Library, Pocket Books, Random House, Harlequin Enterprises, and, of course, Kensington Books. It seems 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 Ennis Now?

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.

Ennis has painted several hundred private and institutional portraits. He has won numerous awards and received much acclaim.


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