Children’s Book Illustrator John Hendrix Opens Exhibit at Todd Art Gallery

"Expecto Patronum" by John Hendrix Photo courtesy of

Renowned illustrator and author of children’s books, John Hendrix, opened both a display and a student show in the Todd Art Gallery with a lecture for students about the craft of illustration and the importance of visual art on Monday.

Hendrix’s gallery, titled “Drawing by Heart: The Illustrations of John Hendrix,” displays a variety of his illustrations that have been featured in popular magazines, advertisements, book jackets and narrative books around the world. Inspiration for many of Hendrix’s works come from politics, disasters, American folklore, Biblical stories, popular culture and science-fiction.

Hendrix, who teaches illustration and typography at Washington University in St. Louis, spoke about the impact of visual art in society today and the responsibility of future illustrators to reach the masses.

“Images and illustration…they’re just woven into our culture,” Hendrix said. “We’re basically coming into an age where ‘visual-ness’ is going to control how people communicate.”

Although his illustrations for clients tend to be based on particular themes, Hendrix spoke in depth about the importance of working artists keeping the joy of drawing alive, judging themselves honestly and having the courage to take risks.

“Failure is not fun, but it’s actually cool because failure is really learning in disguise,” Hendrix said.

After the lecture and a pre-release book signing by Hendrix, attendees crossed the hall to view MTSU’s 2014 Student Jury Show. The student art for this gallery was selected by Hendrix, who served as this year’s juror.

“The emphasis for the show this year was on illustration, which is one of the elements of graphic design,” said Art Director Eric Snyder. “So having [Hendrix’s gallery] here at the same time worked out fortuitously for us.”

“Drawing by Heart” and the Student Jury Show will run from Oct. 7-23 at the Todd Art Gallery. All galleries are free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

For a schedule of Todd Art Gallery exhibitions, click here.

For more updates, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email

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