Jack Unruh was born in Pretty Prairie, Kansas in 1935. The son of an Air Force pilot, the
artist lived in a variety of places throughout his childhood until enrolling at the
University of Kansas, Lawrence to study art. During a trip to St. Louis in his freshman
year, Unruh visited Washington University where he toured an exhibit of illustrations by the
recent graduate Bernie Fuchs. As a result of what he saw, Unruh decided to transfer to
Washington University and major in Magazine Illustration. After graduating in 1958, he moved
to Dallas, Texas to pursue his career. His first job was to design a logo for the city's
"Help Keep Dallas Clean" campaign.
Unruh has since produced artwork for a diverse client base of magazines, corporations, and
organizations. His work has been published in Entertainment
Weekly, New York Magazine, Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, and Time and has been commissioned by such companies as MCI, Sony,
IBM, and Budweiser.
Working with both real and imagined scenes, Unruh's work often employs a freer style in
which scale and perspective are irrelevant. He is known for his practice of creating tiny
pen and ink marks, combined with larger brush strokes, as an alternative to crosshatching to
produce shading effects. He is considered an excellent caricaturist and one of the most
prolific and recognized illustrators of his generation.
Unruh has won numerous awards including the Hamilton King Award for Illustration of the
year from the New York Society of Illustrators in 1998. He was inducted into the society's
Hall of Fame in 2006. As of 2009, he lives and works in Dallas.
Biography compiled by Skye Lacerte.