A native of Offenbach, Germany, Ralph Voltz is not the first artist in his family. His great-grandparents and grandmother were accomplished musicians and teachers. His late father was a well-known science fiction author. Lacking musical and writing skills, Ralph continued the family tradition with pencil and brush.
At age 13, Ralph was “commissioned” by his father to draw a cartoon for Perry Rhodan, the longest running sci-fi series in the world. After several revisions, Ralph had received his first lesson in commercial art and earned his first publication.
Despite the family’s proven artistic gene, Ralph’s parents required a bit of reassurance from his high school art teacher that art college was the right path. Ralph earned both BFA and MFA degrees in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and was named “outstanding student in illustration” in his class.
Like many aspiring artists, he, along with two other SCAD grads, relocated to New York. There, he gained more constructive criticism than work but did kick off his commercial career with illustrations for the New York Times Book Review. To support his fledgling art career in NY, he would return to Savannah each fall to teach art classes and coach college soccer.
While working in Savannah one fall, he met his future wife. They decided to relocate to Charlotte, NC. By that time, Ralph had just completed a CD cover and promotion for John Tesh’s Discovery project and also was creating illustrations for three German publishers, including VPM’s Perry Rhodan series.
Ralph started illustrating using traditional painting and drawing media but now creates most of his work digitally. His illustrations have appeared on more than 450 novel and book covers, and he has worked with a variety of agencies, companies and publishers including Duke Energy, UCLA, Random House, National Geographic Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Oxford University Press, Saatchi & Saatchi, Campbell’s Soup, Jim Beam Global, Department of Defense, BIC, Novant Health and Levelor. He is represented by Deborah Wolfe.
In 2010, Ralph began teaching an illustration class at Winthrop University. Two years later, Ralph joined King’s College, in Charlotte, NC, where he’s been an instructor of graphic design, specializing in digital and traditional art.
Ralph lives in Charlotte, NC, with his wife, Laura, and daughters Josephine and Carly.