John Ennis was born on October 23, 1953. He is an American portrait painter and former book-cover illustrator. He has designed over a thousand published book cover illustrations. His paintings currently hang in over 100 fine art collections worldwide.
He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and studied painting at the Art Students League of New York.
Ennis’s career was established in the 1980s as a book cover illustrator. He painted covers for, more or less, 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 as a revolutionary method to illustrate covers. His design for Robin Schone’s The Lady’s Tutor was a radical change from the clinch covers he’d done before for Zebra, picturing only the heroine’s corseted torso as the hero’s hand unlaced her stays.
In 2002 Ennis left the book industry behind and stopped illustrating and designing cover art. He returned to oil painting as a portrait artist. Ennis has painted several hundred private and institutional portraits for which he has won numerous awards and received much acclaim.