Artist and poet Douglas Florian was born and raised in New York City, and educated at Queens College and the School of Visual Art. Florian was a cartoonist for the New Yorker before a chance encounter with William Cole’s anthology of children’s verse, Oh, That’s Ridiculous (1977), inspired him to try his hand at the art.
Florian’s illustrated poetry books for children often incorporate elements of collage, watercolor, and gouache on a surface of primed paper bags. He frequently takes the natural world as his subject, using wordplay, neologisms, rhyme, and humor to engage young readers. In a BookPage interview with Heidi Henneman, Florian spoke of the linguistic and syntactic pliability his poems flex, noting "poetry is not black and white. It is more like the gray and purple area that connects all the things we live in."
Since 1980, Florian has written and illustrated dozens of books of children’s poetry, including Poetrees (2010); Dinothesaurus (2009), a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare List selection and a Junior Library Guild selection; Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs (2005), a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book; and Gryphon Award-winner and Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year Bow Wow Meow Meow (2003).
Florian’s abstract paintings have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, several of which have been favorably reviewed in the New Yorker and the New York Times.
Florian lives in New York City with his family.