Deborah Zemke

I have been interested in what happens when you put words and images together since my big brother first taught me to read. I like to make pictures that you can read, and I like the way words look, the shapes and spaces and rhythms of letters. I am still amazed by the simple magic of drawing - that you can turn circles into suns, moons, bugs, sleeping dogs, uneaten bagels, sitting ducks.

Deborah Zemke makes lively pictures with gouache paints and digital pixels under the watchful gaze of her one border collie. She is a frequent contributor of Critter Crackups to Ranger Rick magazine, from whom she received the Trudy Farrand and John Strohm Magazine Writing Award. Zemke is the designer of the popular font ITC Zemke Hand. She lives in Missouri with her husband, daughter and dog in a house with a big oak tree

“Zemke can make any animal appear to be laughing.”
New York Times Book Review


  • Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award 2018-2019 Nominees – My Life in Pictures
  • Brightly "New Chapter Book" roundup for 2018 – Tale of a Scaredy-Dog 

Books Published

Client list:

Dutton Children's Books
Handprint Books
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Barron's Educational Series
Blue Apple Books
Cobblestone Publishing
Great Source
Grosset & Dunlap
International Typeface Corporation
Learning Resources
Ranger Rick magazine
Scholastic/Children's Press
Sterling Publishing
Workman Publishing