Tim Davis


SCAD Designations

SCAC Verified Teaching Artist


Greenville County, SC


  • Visual Art
  • Literature

Geographical Availability

  • Upstate
  • Midlands
  • PeeDee
  • Low Country


Artist Bio

Tim Davis received a BA in Art from Bob Jones University and has worked as a professional illustrator and published author for over three decades. The most prolific Hidden Pictures illustrator in Highlights magazine’s history, Tim has taught workshops for the iconic children’s magazine to train other illustrators in the art of Hidden Picture creation. Now he teaches some of those same techniques to elementary students.

Tim has written and illustrated 13 children’s chapter books: the Mice of the Herring Bone series (5 books) and the Tales of Dust River Gulch series (2 books). Most recent books are: the Island Rule series (3 books) The Island Rule, The Island Rules? & The Island Rules! and the Mort the Mushroom series (3 books) Mort and the Sour Scheme, Mort Finds his Roots & Mort’s Circle. Tim regularly teaches writing and illustration in elementary schools through the Smart Arts program of the Metropolitan Arts Council of Greenville, SC.

Artist Statement

I’ve been an illustrator for as long as I can remember. Practically every picture I did as a kid had a story behind it. That has never stopped. Pictures and story are completely intertwined for me. This led me to work with Highlights magazine—Hidden Pictures—which became my specialty, and I suppose it will become my legacy. Through a quarter century of creating these popular puzzle illustrations, I came to appreciate the joy of utilizing patterns, negative spaces, and look-alike objects to fool the eyes and cause a viewer to read the story within the illustration.

I transitioned into digital media in the early stages of its development. Today I typically sketch my illustration ideas in pencil, then finish with industry-standard applications in the Adobe Creative Suite. Sometimes I blend my own photography with my characters created in 3D. In the classroom, I try to break down characters and scenes into their iconic elements, helping them simplify and observe the interaction of shapes within their own drawings.

My Island Rule trilogy offers readers a glimpse into indigenous cultures’ conflict with imperialism, the corruption of riches and conquest, and even a critical eye at those who come to “help”. The books reflect on the value traditional roots, yet progress beyond expectations toward relationships with differing cultures. This is enveloped in songs inspired by the islands of the Caribbean, and the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan.

My Mort the Mushroom trilogy highlights the connectedness of nature, and many of the hidden values it provides for humanity which are only recently coming to light. Students learn, even like a Hidden Picture, the underground world of the forest is full of surprises.

I enjoy using a light-hearted style, both visual and verbal. However, the my themes often feature pattern recognition—drawing similarities from animal societies to real life issues such as environmental respect, building cross-cultural bridges, and exploring patterns of the past to apply today. I’m hoping to challenge kids to explore and love the natural world as it continues to fascinate me—a world full of patterns and hidden wonders!