Russ Cox grew in the hillbilly-infested woods of Tennessee, and those were just his crazed relatives. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent many days drawing, whittling, and throwing dirt clods at his cousins. When not drawing, he would watch endless hours of monster movies, Warner Brothers cartoons, and reading comic books. Wyle E. Coyote and Daffy Duck provided him with new ways to torment his evil cousins. While in high school, he developed an interest in graphic design and a passion for music. With a portfolio in his hand, he opened his own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, where he presently specializes in writing and illustrating children’s books.
He has illustrated Freddy the Frogcaster series (Regnery Kids), written by Janice Dean; Puppy Pirates series (Penguin Random House), written by Erin Sodersberg; Merry Moosey Christmas (Islandport Press), written by Lynn Plourde; and many other children’s books. Faraway Friends (Sky Pony Press) is his first book as both author and illustrator.
Russ lives in Maine with his supportive wife, Lynn, and their 4 cats that serve as creative and art directors to his work. Seeing no fur balls on a drawing or painting is their stamp of approval.