John Howe (born August 21, 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a Canadian book illustrator, living in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. One year after graduating from high school, he studied in a college in Strasbourg, France, then at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs.
He is best known for his work based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s worlds. Howe and noted Tolkien artist Alan Lee served as chief conceptual designers for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, Howe also did the illustration for the “Lord of the Rings” board game created by Reiner Knizia. Howe also re-illustrated the maps of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion in 1996–2003. His work is however not limited to this, and includes images of myths such as the Anglo Saxon legend of Beowulf (he also illustrated Knizia’s board game Beowulf: The Legend). Howe illustrated many other books, amongst which many belong to the fantasy genre (Robin Hobb’s books for instance.) He also contributed to the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. In 2005 a limited edition of George R. R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings was released by Meisha Merlin, complete with numerous illustrations by Howe.
Howe has illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game.
For the upcoming The Hobbit films, former director Guillermo del Toro and current director Peter Jackson have been in consultation with Howe and fellow conceptual artist Alan Lee to ensure continuity of design.