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John Hendrix

John Hendrix is a New York Times best-selling illustrator and author of many children’s books, including Shooting at the Stars, Drawing is Magic, John Brown: His Fight for Freedom, Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus, and The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler. His illustrations have appeared on book jackets, newspapers and magazines all over the country. Hendrix is the Kenneth E. Hudson Professor of Art, teaching illustration at the Sam Fox School, where he is founding chair of the MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture program.

Hendrix’s work has appeared in numerous publications, such as Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Esquire, The New York Times, and Time Magazine, and National Geographic, among many others. He has also drawn book jackets for the likes of Scholastic, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Greenwillow Books, Knopf, Penguin, and Abrams Books. His images also appeared in advertising campaigns for ESPN/ABC, AT&T, and Target/Star Wars. Hendrix’s drawings have won numerous awards, including Silver Medals from Society of Illustrators in 2006, 2008, and 2015. In 2018, his book The Faithful Spy won a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. The book was also called a Best Book of 2018 by NPR and School Library Journal. His images have also appeared in the annual award publications, 3x3, American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Society for Publication Design, Communication Arts, AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers Show, and Print’s Regional Design Annual.

In 2012, Hendrix served as President of ICON7: The Illustration Conference, a biennial global summit for the illustration community, and before that as Vice President of ICON6 in 2010. He also chaired The Society of Illustrators 55th Annual Show, the illustration industry’s longest-running and most prestigious juried show.

His first picture book Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, was named and ALA Notable book of 2008 and won the Comstock Award for read aloud books. Hendrix’s book John Brown: His Fight for Freedom, the first he had both written and illustrated, won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal and was named one of the “Best Books of 2009” by Publisher’s Weekly. About his 2016 book Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus, The New York Times said, “… even nonbelievers will enjoy this powerfully told and visually dazzling book.”

Born in the gritty midwestern suburbs of St. Louis, Hendrix attended The University of Kansas to study graphic design and illustration. He graduated with a degree in Rock Chalk and Visual Communication in 1999. After working for a few years as a designer, he moved from Kansas to New York City. He attended The School of Visual Arts MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay program and graduated in 2003 with some honors and some debt. During his time living and working in New York, Hendrix taught design at the Parsons School of Design and worked at The New York Times as assistant art director of the Op-Ed page for several years.

Hendrix has presented his work and drawings in many places: Miami Book Festival, The Festival of Faith & Writing, Hutchmoot: The Rabbit Room’s Annual Conference of art, music and faith, The Southern Festival of Books, SCBWI Conference, Church NEXT Conference - Story Conference, Nashville - Q Commons St. Louis, The National Archives in Washington D.C., and The National World War I Museum, among many others. His sketchbook drawings from church have been featured in Christianity Today and Smithsonian Magazine. He lives in the St. Louis with his wife Andrea, son Jack, daughter Annie, dog Pepper, and cats Kit-Kat and Luna.

Personal website

Making Visual Stories

Play video

John Hendrix, Kenneth E. Hudson Professor of Art and chair of MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture, discusses how ‘the action of drawing teaches you to make ideas.’

Video: Washington University

Work by John Hendrix

Faithful spy

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and The Plot to Kill Hitler, 2018

Book Cover, Abrams Books
A spread, drawn in vibrant teal and red-pink hues, with black text: a towering figure standing on a cliff on the right with a long, blood-stained spear in their left hand, a shield with Nazi insignia in their right. To the left is a smaller figure standing on a hilltop, willing a sling in their left hand. Shadows from the giant extend their talons out towards the paragraph on the left hand page, which reads: 'Dietrich's resolve to resist Hitler had swelled into a holy anger. Christians must see the Jews as their brothers, as "children of the covenant." He believed an attack on the Jewish people was an attack on the Jewish people was an attack on all of God's children. IF THE CHURCH, IN THIS MOMENT, DID NOT EXIST TO PROTECT THE OTHER, IT HAD NO RIGHT TO BE CALLED THE CHURCH AT ALL. As he closed his eyes, he could hear his Jewish heroes—King David, Elijah, Gideon, and the Apostle Paul—all crying out: "GOLIATH HAS RETURNED! GOLIATH HAS RETURNED! DIETRICH, IT IS YOUR TURN TO PICK UP THE SLING!"

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler (spread), 2018

Abrams Books for Young Readers/Amulet.
Newsweek magazine cover featuring a cereal box with the words Breakfast in Post Apocalypse America, and a bowl of cereal, with pairs of people "entering" a door in the bowl through a ramp and a text note referring to Noah's Ark.

Breakfast in Post Apocalypse America, 2015

Newsweek Cover.
Pen & Ink, Fluid Acrylic, Digital.
An illustration: the word "SHELTER" hand-lettered in a large font in the center of the illustration; slight shadows behind the letterforms are cast onto a dynamic composition that swirls in waves, teeming with foliage and flames, framing a small drawing of a house with two pens in the center/upper-right area.

Shelter from the Storm, 2020

Future Farmers of America Magazine.
Pen & Ink, Fluid Acrylic, Digital.
Book cover featuring a golden background with a large white sun in the background; in the foreground, Jesus is sitting on a large tree stump, several people sitting around him.

Go and Do Likewise! (cover), 2021

Abrams Books for Young Readers.
Pen & Ink, Fluid Acrylic, Digital.

Drawing is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook, 2015

Book Cover
Pen and ink drawing of a black, demon-like figure with a house, lit from inside, atop his head. The text Trembles Before Him is in large, colorful type over the figure.

Death Trembles, from Drawing in Church, 2017

Sketchbook drawing.
Pen & Ink, Fluid Acrylic, Digital.
Several scrolls, of which include two that contain the text, "IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD" — "AND THE [WORD] WAS WITH GOD, AND THE [WORD] WAS GOD" — "HE WAS WITH [GOD] IN THE BEGINNING." The word "GOD" hand-lettered in a tall, sharp and narrow serif font; the several scrolls around the text fade into a constellation of stars. The "W," "R," and "D" in "WORD" are drawn in a gilded serif font; the "O" is replaced with a circular frame that contains an illustration of a crowned figure with a golden sword pointing ahead; rays from the circle/"O" extend outwards.

The Word, 2017

Christianity Today Magazine.
A large "G" lettered in a gothic style (as seen in medieval manuscripts), framing the golden characters, "ONE?" to form "GONE?" — the curve of the G contains the rest of the text, in red, which when read together, forms the question — "WILL YOU MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE?" The capital G features vignettes of fantastical scenes, to the left an image of an anthropomorphic cave with ghostly hands reaching out from within, rocks forming the face's teeth. A person, perhaps a traveller, stands before the gaping mouth of the cave. To the right, a scene of a person, wrapped head to toe in bandages (or likely a mummified person), sitting on a (stone) platform surrounded by rivers overflowing with bones of the dead and a brick wall in front of them.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone, 2014

An illustration on a black background: in a band/strip of full color across a diagonal (from top right to bottom left), wolves jostle against knights, whose spears and axes are lost amongst a tide of flames — blood is splattered on the background.

Wolves Vs. Knights, 2015

Asset International.
Thg bookonly

The Holy Ghost: A Spirited Comic, 2022

Book Cover, Abrams Comic Arts
Shelter print copy

Shelter, 2018

Future Farmers of America

Drawing in Church Sketchbook: Hear Ye Him, 2019