Enthusiastic, by Lonni Sue Johnson, 2009
Copyright 2011 by Lonni Sue Johnson.

In her ongoing gradual recovery,
Lonni Sue has been creating illustrated word puzzles.

A prominent artist, Lonni Sue Johnson, was suddenly struck with profound amnesia (memory loss).  Her recovery art gives a rare glimpse into the mind.

Lonni Sue was a professional illustrator for 31 years. Her art was published by The New York Times and appeared on covers of  The New Yorker magazine. She also did illustrations for The Boston GlobeThe Washington Post, the medical field, major corporations and the government.  She illustrated many books.  Her art has been recognized by the White House and the United Nations and is in the Smithsonian collection.

Suddenly, just before the 2008 New Year, Lonni Sue’s pen nearly stopped. She had been struck with a severe case of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and nearly died. She had to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat. Margaret Kennard Johnson, mother and fellow artist, has been helping Lonni Sue regain her art.

What is extraordinary about Lonni Sue’s case of amnesia is that, in the very area of her loss, her visual skills begin to fill in. In order to grasp the present moment, before it vanishes from memory, she urgently writes and draws.  Thoughts, which would otherwise be constantly slipping away, are held on the page, where she can build ideas. In the process, she has been leaving a detailed record of her thought, for us to see. We can see creative ideas unfolding and watch shifts in her mental ability.

Please visit again soon, for updates.                   Copyright text © 2011 by Aline Marie Johnson

Professional Illustrations, Before Illness

Illustration by Lonni Sue Johnson, Copyright © 2007 by Lonni Sue Johnson
The New York Times, August 6, 2007, column “Link by Link”, article,
“Politically Neutral, in a Blurry Sense,” by Noam Cohen

Illustration by Lonni Sue Johnson, Copyright © 2007 by Lonni Sue Johnson
The New York Times, August 20, 2007, column “Link by Link”, article,
“Defending Wikipedia’s Impolite Side,” by Noam Cohen


Illustration by Lonni Sue Johnson, Copyright © 2007 by Lonni Sue Johnson
The New York Times, April 2, 2007, column “Link by Link”, article,
“M.I.T. Education in China, Minus the Degree,” by Noam Cohen


Professional Biography, Before Illness


Lonni Sue Johnson, Illustrator


My Work

I write, paint and draw in watercolor, oil, pastel and pen and ink. My hope is to touch people with my art on as many levels as possible. I want to make them laugh and feel good, and take delight in daily life; but also to challenge their intellect as I express my deepest values. I believe that a successful piece of art has a trio of ingredients: a good idea, the medium chosen to best express it, and the tools of composition used to express it clearly.


B. F. A. School of Architecture and Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan in Printmaking and Drawing.

Additional study of humorous illustration at The School of Visual Arts in NYC with Chas. B. Slackman and R.O. Blechman.

I am a third generation artist. My grandmother was a portrait painter, and college instructor. My mother, my mentor, is a printmaker who studied with Joseph Albers at Black Mountain College. She taught for twenty-three years at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. My father was a scientist and inventor for RCA and Corning Glass.

Work I have written and illustrated

Planet News, Kodansha, Japan 1995

Taking Off, a short illustrated story for Vintage Airplane April 2003

Learning To Fly, an unpublished book in progress.

Books illustrated

The Stress-Free Traveler, Sandy Paton, McGraw-Hill. July 2005

You’re The Best, Barbara Milo Ohrbach, Clarkson Potter, 2003

Fifty-Seven Reasons Not To Have A Nuclear War, Marty Asher, Warner Books, 1994

Eat These Words, Harper-Collins, 1991

Parables of Kierkegaard, Princeton University Press, 1978

A Snake Is Totally Tail, Judi Barrett, Atheneum, 1983

Pickles Have Pimples and Other Silly Statements, Judi Barrett, Atheneum, 1986

Fat Cats, Cousin Scraggs and the Monster Mice, Barbara Shook Hazen, Atheneum, 1985

The Yuppie Handbook, Piesman and Hartley, Simon & Schuster, 1984

Save Our Planet, MacEachern, Dell, 1990

Be Nice To Marilyn, Ida Lutrell, Atheneum, 1992

The Story of Z, Jeanne Modesitt, Picture Book Studios, 1990 also in a Scholastic Books anthology

Mother Earth’s Counting Book, Andrew Clements, Picture Book Studios, 1992

Max and Diana and the Snowy Day, Harriet Zieffert, Harper & Row, 1987

Max and Diana and the Shopping Trip, Harriet Zieffert, Harper & Row, 1987

Max and Diana and the Birthday Present, Harriet Zieffert, Harper & Row, 1987

Max and Diana and the Beach Day, Harriet Zieffert, Harper & Row, 1987

Enjoying Jazz, Henry Martin, Schirmer Books, a Division of Macmillan, Inc., 1986

Sentence Combining and Paragraph Building, William Armstrong, Random House, 1981

Der entfuhrte Prinz und das Gartnermadchen, ?, ?, 1994 (in Japanese)

Additional books illustrated (just cover art) – 30 books

Additional books illustrated (one of multiple illustrators) – 4 books

The New Yorker

• The New Yorker Magazine – Six magazine covers and also interior illustrations. 

• Christmas at The New Yorker, Stories, Poems, Humor, and Art, from the Editors of The New Yorker, Random House, 2003 – Book Cover

• The Complete Book of Covers from The New Yorker, 1925-1989, Alfred A. Knopf, 1989 – Six magazine covers shown inside book.

Drawings have also been published by

The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Christmas cards

Adobe Systems, Eyewire, Getty Images


The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times

The Baltimore Sun

The Chicago Tribune

The Boston Globe

The Washington Post


Business Week

MacDonald’s, Annual Report

Audubon Magazine

Lotus Development Corp., packaging, editorial, animation

Brown Publishing Network, Boston




Baxter Healthcare

Memorial Hermann Healthcare System

National Geographic


Providian Bancorp

Knoll International

Simon and Schuster

Random House

John Wiley and Sons

Southwestern Bell

Oil-Dri, Annual Report

Orion Capital, Annual Report

Corning Glass, Annual Report

Roher Pharmaceuticals

Postgraduate Medicine Magazine

Emergency Medicine Magazine

Peat Marwick


Herman Miller/Meridian, Advertising, and brochures

Harper Collins

Bantam Doubleday Dell

The Hillier Group

US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Time Magazine

Business Week

Time-Life Books, London

Red. Eltern, Germany

Fortune Magazine

Gourmet Magazine

Parents Magazine

Workman Publishing

Royal and Sun Alliance, REMi, brochures

Clarkson and Potter

Walker Books

Scott Foresman

Takashimaya, Japan, Department Store Brochure, and more.

Interactive and internet/web illustrations

 TIAA-Kref animated brochure

Knowledge Adventure

Orion Capital, illustrations for web site annual report and brochures

IntraNetics for web site

Merck-Medco for web site

Hello.com and Idealab! company for card web site


The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Designfold, Inc.

Marcel Shurman

Hello.com and Idealab! company

Watercolor Farm Flying Note Cards

Work has been recognized by 

The White House, one of an exhibit of commissioned posters to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Bureau, 1995

The Society of Illustrators

The United Nations, Graphis, Switzerland

American Illustration

The Society of Publication Design

Creation, Japan

Communication Arts 

Print Magazine

Princeton University, Milberg Gallery 1991, All In Line – Three families of artists: George Grosz, Karen Grosz, Rube Goldberg, Thomas George, Margaret Johnson, Lonni Sue Johnson 1991

Airventure Museum Sport Aviation Art Exhibit EAA Museum Oshkosh WI, 2001-4

Honorable Mention 2001, 2002, Excellence 2003

Flying Magazine Summer 2001, Summer 2005

Private Pilot Magazine April 2002

Sport Aviation Magazine April 2002

Vintage Airplane Magazine July 2002

Work is in the collections of

New Jersey State Museum

Princeton University Graphic Arts Collection

Newark Museum 

The Smithsonian

Rockefeller University

American Embassy, Tokyo

Johnson & Johnson

Janos Starker

Betty Parsons


Hartwick College guest speaker October 2004

Parsons, NYC, guest speaker

The School of Visual Arts, NYC, guest speaker

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, guest speaker

Syracuse University Masters of Illustration, Visit to my studio in NYC

Princeton Art Association, Drawing and design class for children

The Stuart School, Princeton, NJ, preschool to 8th grade, 1974-1976

Recent Exhibitions

The United Nations Prevailing Human Spirit Sept 2002 sponsored by the Society of Illustrators, NYC

Juror of Exhibitions

Juror Central New York Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition September 2003

Juror, Society of Illustrators annual show in NYC twice, latest in 2000

Juror, Washington Art Directors Show 

Inspirations come from


Fly Creek Philharmonic 2001-2004, viola and chorus

Princeton University Orchestra 1967-8, viola

Theater Orchestra University of Michigan 1970-72, viola 


Private pilot, single engine land airplane, since 1996

Tail wheel sign-off 1997

President, 2002, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter #1070 

Secretary 2003, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter #1070 

Established Watercolor Airport 43NY, 1999

The Olde Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Rhinebeck, NY Volunteer 1996-7, including a flight From LaGrangeville NY to Lakeland, Florida with another woman pilot in my Cessna 150 to help run the booth at the Sun’n Fun Fly In

Oversaw (and ordered parts) for the restoration of a 1968 Cessna 150 and a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub

My Aviation artwork has been featured by Flying Magazine at Sun’nFun and Oshkosh Fly- Ins
2003, 2004, 2005

Garden and Farm

Re-establishing a hay and dairy farm to be organic
with Certification from NOFA, Northeastern Farmers Association, for organic hay, grain and vegetables; and organically-grown cattle


England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, and locally with my airplane

I work from a milk house studio in a rescued barn on a hay farm in upstate New York; with seven cats, a herd of cows and one horse, pigs and an organic vegetable garden, flowers, a small pond with fish, and a landing strip for a small yellow airplane, a 1946 Piper Cub. I have been a freelance illustrator since 1976.

Lonni Sue and her mother in an airplane

Lonni Sue in her airplane, a Piper Cub, with her 
mother in the backseat prior to her illness.