Cliff Nielsen was the valedictorian at ArtCenter College of Design in 1994. Nielsen is a freelance illustrator, graphic novel artist, and motion designer. His clients include major print and comic book publishers, including titles for world renowned authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham, Madeleine L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, Ursula Leguin, Cassandra Clare, Washington Irvine, and Edgar Allan Poe. He is an international speaker on digital art, and has judged for Society of Illustrators and a variety of professional illustration award programs.