Peter Thorpe, age 58, was born in 1957, in Portland, Oregon. While attending an exchange program at Lincoln College, Oxford, England studying art and literature, he met Pauline Baynes, the artist best known for illustrating The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and The Tolkien Reader by J. R. R. Tolkien. Baynes encouraged Peter to pursue his interests in illustration. He continued his art studies in the fall of 1976 at the California College of Arts and Crafts, graduating in 1980 with a bachelor of arts in Commercial Art.
After college, Peter moved to New York City. By his second year in Manhattan, he was doing book cover jobs almost exclusively. He found that having a penchant for type design, as well as for illustration, allowed him to offer both of these services to book publishers.
He enjoyed early success with jobs from St. Martin's Press, Viking Penguin, and Harper & Row. Some were #1 best sellers. During the 15 years that he spent in Manhattan, he established himself as a top book cover designer.
In 1986 that he got his first Tony Hillerman manuscript, Skinwalkers, from Harper & Row. Hillerman writes mysteries about the present day Navajo Reservation. Using Navajo sand paintings as his guide, Peter developed a simple graphic style for the Hillerman covers that incorporated mystery elements along with Native American graphics. To date he has done over 40 editions of Hillerman's mysteries.
In 1998 he moved to North Carolina. He had attended camp as a boy in the Smoky Mountains. He now lives in those mountains, in Asheville, and runs his design studio out of a historic turn of the century hotel called The Manor Inn.
His life long love of space science led him to the position of Creative Director for the Space Frontier Foundation from 1988 to 2008. His Rocket Paintings have been collected by many in the space community, and are in the collections of such authors as Spider and Jeanne Robinson, Ben Bova, Andrew Chaikin and Vanna Bonta.