John Schoenherr

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John Schoenherr
Born July 5, 1935
New York City, New York
Died April 8, 2010
Easton, Pennsylvania, USA
Occupation Illustrator
Nationality American
Period 1958–2007
Genre Science fiction, children's picture books
Subject Wildlife
Notable works
Notable awards

Hugo Award 1965

Caldecott Medal
Spouse Judith Grey
Children Ian, Jenny

John Schoenherr (July 5, 1935 – April 8, 2010) was an American illustrator. He won the 1988 Caldecott Medal for U.S. children's book illustration, recognizing Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, a father-and-daughter story where only Schoenherr's drawings reveal the child's gender.

Life and career[edit]

Schoenherr may be known best as the original[clarification needed] illustrator of the dust jacket art of Dune, a 1965 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert that inaugurated a book series and media franchise.[1] Thus he created the canonical visual representations of elements such as sandworms. However, he is also very well known as a wildlife artist and children's book illustrator, with over forty books to his credit. Most of his black-and-white illustration work used the scratchboard technique, and he was long known as the only commercial artist who specialized in it. His paintings were often egg tempera, another unusual medium. Schoenherr also completed paintings for NASA.[2][3][4]

Beginning in the 1960s, Schoenherr created numerous science fiction illustrations, in addition to illustrations in other genres.[5] Among the books he illustrated are The Wolfling and Rascal by Sterling North (the latter a Newbery Honor Book) and The Illustrated Dune, a 1978 edition of the 1965 novel that grew out of his work for Analog magazine under John W. Campbell, Jr. and Ben Bova; he had illustrated the original magazine serializations of Dune. For Analog he also illustrated the first Dragonriders of Pern stories by Anne McCaffrey, 1967/1968 novellas "Weyr Search" and "Dragonrider" (each featured on one Analog cover as well) that were subsequently developed as the novel Dragonflight.[6] His July 1975 cover for Analog has been cited as influential in the designs for the Star Wars character Chewbacca.[7] He also worked for paperback and hardcover SF publishers like Ace Books and Doubleday.

His knowledge of zoology was very useful in creating alien creatures. He was a member of the American Society of Mammalogists, the Society of Animal Artists, and the Society of Illustrators.

Born in New York City, Schoenherr graduated from Stuyvesant High School,[8] and studied art at The Art Students League of New York with Will Barnet and at Pratt Institute. Schoenherr was a resident of Delaware Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.[9] On April 8, 2010, he died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Easton, Pennsylvania.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dune Universe series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-02-15. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  2. ^ Devore, Howard (1987). A History of the Hugo, Nebula and International Fantasy Awards 1951-1986. Dearborn, Michigan: The Misfit Press. p. 18. 
  3. ^ Miller, Ron (1976). Space Art: A Starlog Photo Guidebook. New York: Starlog Press. p. 179. 
  4. ^ DiFate, Vincent (1980). DiFate's Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware. New York: Workman Publishers. 
  5. ^ Difate, Vincent (1981). "Science Fiction Art: Some Contemporary Science Fiction Illustrators". In Tymn, Marshall B. The Science Fiction Reference Book. San Bernardino: The Borgo Press. p. 51. 
  6. ^ "Dragonriders of Pern – Series Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  7. ^ "George Lucas Stole Chewbacca But Its Okay". Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  8. ^ "BIOGRAPHY – JOHN SCHOENHERR". Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  9. ^ Adelson, Fred B. "ART; Children's Page Turners to Linger Over", The New York Times, January 9, 2000. Accessed December 9, 2007. "Both Richard Egielski of Milford and John Schoenherr of Delaware Township (near Stockton) are represented by illustrations from books aimed at ages 4 to 8, the youngest group."
  10. ^ Fox, Margalit (2010-04-15). "John Schoenherr, Children’s Book Illustrator, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  11. ^

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