John began developing his passion for carving and painting in college. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SMSU (now, Missouri State University) in 1983. Following graduation, he established John Lee Engler and Associates, a design company focused on woodcarving and watercolor painting. For nearly 30 years, John has traveled nationwide teaching relief carving and watercolor painting classes. He has taught in 15 states, judged over 30 art shows on wood sculpture, and has completed numerous commissioned pieces. In addition, John established and directs the Ozarks Woodcarving Seminar held annually in Springfield, Missouri. The Seminar completed its seventh year and is one of the largest woodcarving events in the United States with an annual participation of nearly 200 woodcarvers representing 30 states.