Russ Cox-Smiling Otis Studio | Pittsfield, Maine |207.951.5009 | russ@smilingotis.com |© 2008-2019 Russ Cox. Do not use images without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

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Meet Russ

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10 things about me:

I am from Tennessee and that does make me a hillbilly. Yes, I do play the banjo, but not "Dueling Banjos" from Deliverance. 

I grew up on old monster movies and Warner Brothers cartoons. Daffy Duck is my favorite cartoon character of all time. Walt is great, but give me Chuck Jones and Tex Avery any day of the week. I also have a passion for music. It is my second love.

I was the artsy kid in school. I got to do the bulletin boards for the teachers. My artistic efforts did not impress the young ladies. 

I originally wanted to become an architect or an automotive designer. After bombing an automotive repair test, I had to change course. I did not get the automotive gene.  Pre-calculus and physics made me realize that architecture was out. The love of drawing was pulling me elsewhere.

Drawing has been part of my life since day one. I jokingly say that I was born with paper and pencil in hand. My mother does not think the joke is funny.

In art school, I studied graphic design and minored in illustration. Illustration was my first love, but I was partial to eating and having a roof over my head. My cats liked that idea, too.

Bulk of my life was spent in Pennsylvania where I met my wife; became a graphic designer; played in punk, alternative, and surf bands; had two kids, well my wife did; and started my own illustration studio, Smiling Otis Studio.

I love winter and the snow, so I tricked, er, convinced my wife to head further north.

I now live in Maine with my wife and 4 cats. Our two kids had enough sense to get out before we became the crazy cat people.

Children's books are now my main focus. I loved them as a kid. The little boy in me has never left, he just guided me back to where I belong. He could have taken a more direct approach but, but like a typical guy, he did not want to follow directions.

Client list:

Publishers
Capstone
Caterpillar 
Central PA Magazine 
Disney Magazine
Harcourt Publishing
Highlights Magazine
Humpty Dumpty Magazine
Islandport Press
Little Creek Press
MacMillan Publishing
Outhouse Ink
Penguin Random House
Peter Pauper Press
Regency Kids
Rubicon Publishing
Running Press Kids
Scholastic 
Sky Pony Press
Time, Inc. 

Commercial Clients
A&E
AKQA
American Greetings
AOL
Armour Games
Binney & Smith (Crayola)
Classroom Library
Dickies
Gamewright
Hershey
Ian Osborne
Janice Dean
Kaboom
Kellogg's
Kids Crooked House 
Kiboomu
Leap Frog
Lifetime Channel 
McDonalds
Maine Discovery Museum
Moosetache Games
New York Public Library
Nine 22 Media
Pangeum Interactive
PETA
PopCap Games
Portland Stage
Turtle Transit
Quaker Steak & Lube 
Warner Brothers
Word World