Tony DiTerlizzi

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Tony DiTerlizzi
Born (1969-09-06) September 6, 1969 (age 45)
Los Angeles, U.S.
Occupation Author, Illustrator
Spouse(s) Angela
Awards Caldecott Medal

Tony M. DiTerlizzi[1] (born September 6, 1969) is an American fantasy artist, children's book creator, and motion picture producer.

DiTerlizzi created The Spiderwick Chronicles series with Holly Black, and was an executive producer on the 2008 film adaptation of the series. He won a Caldecott Honor Medal for his adaptation of The Spider and the Fly. In the gaming industry, he best known for his work in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and on the Planescape product line for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.

Early life[edit]

Tony DiTerlizzi was born into an artistic household in Los Angeles in 1969, the first of three children.[2] The name DiTerlizzi means "from Terlizzi", a village in Italy's Pulia province.[3] He grew up in South Florida where he attended South Fork High School.[2] He went to college at the Florida School of the Arts and The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he earned a graphic design degree in 1992.[2]

During his childhood he was introduced to the work of a variety of artists including Norman Rockwell and Dr. Seuss, that he cites as major creative influences.[4] "Many good fantasy artists will tell you their influences are Frazetta or Boris Vallejo. Realizing this, I went for more diverse influences, since it seemed to me that most current fantasy work has that same oil-painted feel."[3] DiTerlizzi was influenced by artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Leonardo da Vinci to early 1900s magazine artists (Maxfield Parrish, Heinrich Kley) to classic children's book illustrators (Arthur Rackham, Ernest Shepard, John Tenniel) to offbeat modern fantastists (Brian Froud, Moebius, William Stout, Jim Henson).[3] Another inspiration was David Trampier, who illustrated much of AD&D's first Monster Manual, which DiTerlizzi recalled as his favorite book as a child: "I would copy Trampier's drawings over and over."[3] DiTerlizzi was a fan of role-playing game art long before entering the field.[5]

DiTerlizzi was inspired by many of the great contributors to children’s literature. He is an avlid fan of the work of Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, which have remained as inspiration throughout his entire life. He also loved many of the artists who have illuminated those works. Illustrators such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen and Ernest Shepard all worked during the “Golden Age” of children’s illustration, and have had a prodigious impact on Tony. With his daughter, he has also rediscovered artists who he loved as a kid; Author/illustrators like Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and Richard Scarry were some of his favorites.[6]


First Lady Laura Bush just after reading from the DiTerlizzi adaptation of The Spider and the Fly, 27 October 2006

After art school, DiTerlizzi moved to New York with his wife Angela and began a freelance illustration career working for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.[7][8] "I was so psyched when I got a chance to work on [the 1993 Monstrous Manual tome]. My entire goal was to 'blow away' the other artists. It helped me in getting the job for the Planescape setting."[3] DiTerlizzi worked on the 1994 Planescape Campaign Setting and its supplements, redesigning the look of the Outer Planes, "Not only buildings but the people had to have a rusted, organic look. This seemed to come naturally in my art style. When I went to work on Planescape, I looked at anime and Japanese fantasy art like Yoshitaka Amano."[3] According to Shannon Appelcline, Planescape was "built around a strong artistic concept, thanks to Dana Knutson's conceptual art and Tony DiTerlizzi's final drawings".[9] DiTerlizzi continued to work for TSR, as well as White Wolf Publishing's Changeling and Werewolf Storyteller games, and illustrated many cards for Magic.[3]

DiTerlizzi branched out from games art by illustrating books such as 1997's Giant Bones by Peter Beagle, and 1998's Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear.[3] After seven years of work as a gaming and fantasy artist, DiTerlizzi entered the field of creating children’s picture books. With the publication in 2000 of Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, he fulfilled a childhood dream of writing and illustrating his own book.[10] Jimmy Zangwow was followed the next year by Ted, which received the 2002 Zena Sutherland Award. Ted was followed with his spooky-themed picture book of Mary Howitt's classic poem The Spider and the Fly, which became a New York Times best-seller,[11] and for which DiTerlizzi was awarded the 2003 Caldecott Honor Medal.[7]

DiTerlizzi met author Holly Black when she came to interview him for the role-playing games magazine d8, and they soon began working together.[8] In an effort to bring fantasy to younger readers, DiTerlizzi and Black created The Spiderwick Chronicles, and sold it to Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and Nickelodeon Movies in 2002.[7] Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing launched the series in 2003. Since then, Spiderwick has been published internationally and translated into over 30 languages. In 2005, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You was published. In 2008, Paramount Pictures released a live-action movie adaptation of the series, with DiTerlizzi acting as co-executive producer. A sequel series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, began publication in September 2007 and continued through 2009.[12]

Personal life[edit]

DiTerlizzi lives and works in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife and manager Angela DiTerlizzi and their daughter, Sophia.[7]




  • Dinosaur Summer, 1998
  • Ribbiting Tales, 2000
  • Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What, 2001
  • Alien & Possum: Hanging Around, 2002
  • The Spider & The Fly, 2002
  • Dragonflight, 2002
  • Peter Pan in Scarlet, 2005


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at
  2. ^ a b c Llanas, Sheila Griffin (2012), Tony DiTerlizzi, Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Publishing Company, pp. 6–11, ISBN 978-1-61783-245-1 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Varney, Allen (September 1998). "Profiles: Tony DiTerlizzi". Dragon (Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast) (#251): 120. 
  4. ^ Tony DiTerlizzi's website
  5. ^ "Blog Archive » Art Evolution 6: Tony DiTerlizzi". Black Gate. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Tony DiTerlizzi | National Book Festival - Library of Congress". Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  7. ^ a b c d "News and Information from the Amherst, MA area". Amherst Bulletin. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  8. ^ a b Gazette, The (2008-02-13). "Bringing the magic from page to screen". Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  9. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  10. ^ "Tony DiTerlizzi's Biography". 1969-09-06. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  11. ^ Best Sellers: Children's Books - 27 October 2002 New York Times
  12. ^ "Tony DiTerlizzi | Official Publisher Page". Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]