José Cisneros grew up in Dorado, Chihuahua, where his family settled after fleeing their home during the Mexican Revolution. It was in his childhood that José developed his passion for drawing. When he was 11, he would collect clippings from old newspapers and books and draw them, but it would take him years before he developed the pen-and-ink style that he would become famous for. In addition to teaching himself how to draw, José had to overcome his color blindness.
From an early age, José Cisneros was fascinated with the history of his native Mexico. He is most widely known for his detailed pen and ink drawings of horses and Spanish horsemen. This is the same type of style that is used in El Rantoncito Pequeno, The Little Mouse.
Today José Cisneros is one of El Paso’s most celebrated artists. In a career that spans more than 30 years, he has illustrated over 300 books and publications. In 1985 Cisneros received the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award for his book of drawings of Riders Across the Centuries. In addition, he was knighted by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, for his contribution to the understanding of history through his art. He was honored in Austin, Texas, by then-Governor George W. Bush for his contribution to historical art in the Southwest.