Juan Varela Simó was born in Madrid in 1950. He was trained in biology and worked in seabird colonies in North Africa, participating in several conservation oriented biological research. At the same time he began a career as a scientific illustrator for numerous publications, demonstrating a special passion and skill in bird representation.
In 1986 he was hired as Director of SEO/BirdLife, holding the post for five years before satrting a full time art career.
His works have illustrated more than 40 books and numerous periodicals. He has authored many books including Birds of Spain, one of the best-selling ornithological Publications in Spain.