We love the arts: photography, drawing, painting, pottery, crafts…the list goes on and on. Whether it’s taking a photograph that captures the candid smile of a child riding her bike for the first time, painting an epic landscape at sunset, learning to master the latest design software, or creating a friendship bracelet for your best friend, we find it all fascinating, and we love how everyone can be creative and express themselves. Seeing as you’re visiting our site, you probably do, too.
Rocky Nook is a small, independent publishing company that was founded in 2006 in Santa Barbara with the goal of helping photographers of all levels improve their skills in capturing those moments that matter. In the last few years, we’ve diversified and expanded our publishing to include topics for all creative people, whether your goal is to be a professional artist, start a side hustle, or simply pursue your love of the arts as a creative outlet and hobby.
We are a small (but mighty!) eight-person team that loves creating beautiful books that help you master the technology, find inspiration, and hone your craft in order to create better and more meaningful work. In doing so, we are fortunate to partner with many of the best artists and teachers in the world.
In 2016, the company relocated to San Rafael, California—just 13 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge—after founder Gerhard Rossbach retired and handed the reins over to Scott Cowlin. Scott is lucky to be joined by a very talented group of publishing veterans, photography enthusiasts, and aspiring artists. Most of the team is based in San Rafael, a few colleagues keep our roots alive in Santa Barbara, and in 2021, we welcomed a colleague who works from his home in the UK.
- Quality. Every time you pick up one of our books, we want you to think, “Someone put a lot of care, thought, and energy into making this a great book.” Great authors, innovative design, quality production, amazing editing, and a fabulous customer experience are what we strive for every day.
- Laughter. Life is too short not to enjoy what you are doing. We strive to do great work and enjoy ourselves along the way, whether it’s helping our customers at a tradeshow, talking with an author about a book outline, or figuring out how we are going to get the color just right on the printing press, our aim is to have fun and probably tell a joke or two along the way.
- Balance. We love what we do. It is very satisfying to provide people with the tools they need to pursue their goal of becoming better artists. However, at the end of the day, the most important things happen outside the office. We believe in taking the time to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. We work hard and take pride in the books we publish, but keeping it all in perspective is key to a happy, balanced life.
- Kindness and Respect. We live by the Golden Rule and always aspire to treat our customers, partners, authors, and each other as we would like to be treated.
- Growth. We are a business, and we strive to grow and create profit so that we can keep doing what we love. But that is only one way we look at growth. We also push ourselves to keep learning and growing in our understanding of the communities we work with, our customers’ needs, and the technology that drives both the art and publishing worlds forward.
- Transparency. We have no secrets around here! Our objective is to be open and honest with customers, partners, and authors. We will make some mistakes along the way (see below), but when we do, we will be open and honest about them.
- Make Mistakes. “What’s that,” you say? “One of your values is to make mistakes?” Yes, absolutely. If we aren’t making mistakes, then we’re becoming set in our ways and we’re not pushing ourselves enough to try new things. It’s like selective color: you have to try it once to know it’s a mistake, right?
- Relationships. We are proud of what we can accomplish as a team, but we know we wouldn’t be where we are today without the strong relationships we have with our authors, customers, and partners.