I was born in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1956 to Phyllis and John W. Mattingly, the last in a line of three brothers, with John C. and James coming before me. Interesting fact: my dad was the inventor of the Waterpik oral hygene device. I've used the Waterpik practically every day of my life since it was invented.
I pretty much set my sights on being an artist even as a toddler. From a very early age, comic artist Jim Steranko was huge influence on my work. I started reading Edgar Rice Burroughs as a youngster, partially because my parents gave me the middle name of Burroughts after him. I love lots of different artists, ancient and modern, from Jackson Pollock to N.C. Wyeth, to Norman Rockwell, to John Singer Sargent and Sandro Botticelli.
After high school, I switched around between a bunch of schools, starting at Colorado Institute of Art, then transfering to Colorado State University, and finally settling at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
I began my career as a matte artist at Walt Disney Studios under Harrison Ellenshaw. I learned a lot from him and his father, Peter Ellenshaw, about what makes a good matte painting. Ultimately, I became head of the matte department when Harrison left to create the ILM matte department. While at Disney, I worked on "The Black Hole", "Tron", "Dick Tracy". I also did some mattes for Stephen King's "The Stand". Weta Digital flew me down to New Zealand to work on "I, Robot". Hey Weta--I'm willing to come back if you desperately need me!
I have produced a whole lot of book covers over the course of my career--I stopped counting at 2000. I've worked for almost everyone in the business over the years, including Bantam, DAW, Del Rey, Dell, Marvel, Omni, Playboy, Signet, and Tor. I've done the most work, and found a home at Baen Books. For the Gen Y cohort, I'm probably most famous for creating 53 covers for K.A. Applegate's "Animorphs" series, along with the last 5 covers for the "Everworld" series. At Baen Books, the thing I most known for is illustrating the New York Times bestselling "Honor Harrington" series for my friend, author David Weber. I'm also proud of the paintings I did for Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Pellucidar" series for Ballantine Books--it was a lifelong dream to do those, and the originals still hang in our bedroom. I've won a few awards over the years. I'm two time winner of Magazine and Booksellers "Best Cover of the Year" award, and I won the Association of Science Fiction Artists "Chesley" award for my "Subway Wizard" painting. Other folks I've work for include Michael Jackson, Lucasfilm, Universal Studios, Totco Oil, Galloob Toys, R/Greenberg Associates, Click 3X and Spontaneous Combustion.
I wrote "The Digital Matte Painting Handbook", the first guide to digital matte painting to use as a text book in my matte painting classes at School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute. Sadly, my publisher let the book go out of print (WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING!!!!), but you can still buy it used.
I know I already mentioned this, but I teach digital matte painting and compositing at School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute in New York City. I love teaching, and I get a kick out of passing on my knowledge of matte painting every semester. I also do web based training for matte painting on Lynda.com for those of you not lucky enough to live in the New York area.
I'm married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Cathleen Cogswell. We live with our cat, Juliet. She threatened to bite me if I didn't mention her.