Hi! My full name is Robert Nataniela Johnston. I was born on the tiny Fijian island of Rotuma but grew-up in Rockford, a small, sweet town in West Michigan. I have always LOOOOVED art and the process of creating. From the time I was “Robby” I enjoyed taking art classes and learning to express myself.
After I graduated from Rockford High School, I went to Michigan State University to pursue a degree in International Relations. Sadly, art classes were difficult to enter for non-art majors…so, I honed my craft independently and cultivated my passion for art and creating. After 4 wonderful years in East Lansing (during which time I became “Robb”), I moved to Japan. I taught English classes to kids and adults in a town called Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture. I spent a year and a half teaching English and it was there that I had my idea for a children’s book.
I wrote the story during my last few months in Tsukuba and then did some traveling on my way home (Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Iceland). Once I got back to Michigan my parents let me live at home in Rockford while I worked on my illustrations. I spent about 8 months sitting at the kitchen table, outlining, painting, and drawing.
With the illustrations finished, it took me just less than 2 years to put the whole package together and get it to print. On December 22nd, 2010, the first print run of The Woodcutter and The Most Beautiful Tree was delivered to my house. I’m still thinking of new ideas for other books, and painting, sketching, and drawing to keep my creative side sharp.