Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1961, Steven Petruccio was raised in a household where art was always present. His father, Albert Petruccio, worked as an art director and did retouching work at home quite often. Petruccio recalls, “I remember standing beside my dad as he sat at his desk, compressor rumbling away on the floor and then smelling the paint as it sprayed out of the airbrush, creating lines and colors that made pictures look better. I hated having to go to sleep and missing any part of the process.”
Petruccio spent his own spare time learning to draw, asking his father for tips and later receiving books on drawing and art for his birthdays and holidays. No art classes were offered in his elementary or high school so he studied anatomy through George Bridgeman and Burne Hogarth's work, and discovered the art of comic books during the Silver Age. With his ability to draw heroic figures, he put together a portfolio which his father arranged for him to show to Hogarth. A few years later, Hogarth wrote a letter of recommendation for Petruccio to attend the School of Visual Arts in NYC. There, Petruccio learned about illustration, and great illustrators, such as N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and Norman Rockwell, who became his inspiration.
Before he graduated, Petruccio had already managed to get a couple of commercial assignments. He began illustrating magazine articles and eventually, picture books. With the support of his wife, KathyAnn, a former graphic designer for CBS Television and Time-Warner/DC Comics, he created illustrations for over sixty picture books. His awards for his work include The Parent's Choice Award, Ben Franklin Award, and School Library Journal Selection as well as having one of his books featured on the Reading Rainbow television show. He continues to illustrate picture books and work on illustrating his own original stories.
Also involved in the art world of the Hudson Valley, Petruccio became the president of the local art association, taught in the studio art department at Marist College, exhibited his paintings in regional shows, participated in plein air painting events, and entered juried competitions. Recently, he was commissioned to paint a mural for the new Children's Emergency Department at Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown, New York. The 7 by 30-foot acrylic painting greets patients, families, and visitors to the new ER. He decided to use native forest creatures as fable characters so visitors and patients will be able to see stories in the landscape.
Illustrations by Steven James Petruccio
Petruccio, Steven James. Construction Site Sticker Picture Puzzle. Dover Publications, 2009.
Petruccio, Steven James. Learning About Cats. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997.
Petruccio, Steven James. Let's Build a House! Coloring Book. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2017.