Silly M.I.A.

james_hough_mia This is my personal favorite of the Fujikawa-esque fan arts I’ve made. It brings together M.I.A.’s loudness and Gyo’s softness, and I just kind of like how all the pieces came together. Now I need to take some time to finish coloring a piece with the working title, “Bad Blood.”

Dan and Phil, Jumping on the Ultimate Bed

james_hough_dan_and_phil My daughter is devoted to Dan and Phil. It wasn’t practical to fly them out last December for a Christmas surprise, so I made a Gyo Fujikawa-inspired fan art as a gift. I owe her friend Ashley a debt of gratitude for consulting with me to ensure that I didn’t mess up any details! It turns out that Phil’s colorful bed set is available at IKEA, so my daughter’s bed now sports the comforter and pillowcase that you see on the right. Nothing against Dan’s monotones at all—Phil’s palette just works better on her sky blue walls.

Lorde, Riding the Bus with the Knees Pulled In

james_hough_lorde Sometimes when you love a thing you have to do something about it. I love Lorde’s music, and too many times I’ve expressed my feelings by listening to her too much. So, to keep me from overdoing it on the tunes, I made some fan art! I also love Gyo Fujikawa, so I did what I could to channel her line and color, and her light touch:)

Runaway Soccer Ball, new and improved!

I made this illustration during the run-up to the 2014 World Cup. I was never thrilled with the final product: it needed some attention. So, I worked with the color palette and value, and now I am happier with the artwork. Watching little kids play soccer is a unique, crazy joy, and here I give the soccer ball’s perspective on it. James Hough, Runaway Soccer Ball, digital illustration, 2014

Our first quilt

Portrait quilt, 2014, by the Houghs My wife’s ancestors were pioneer farmers, and we are carrying on one of their traditions. Quilt-making! We began this one—our first—about 5 years ago then put it on hold for a while until we got some big quilting frames last Christmas. And now we have completed it. The design comes from a photo of our daughter cuddling our son when they were about ages 6 and 1. If you back away from the quilt about 50 feet you can see the image, which is hardly practical, so we content ourselves with wrapping ourselves in our new blanket knowing that the design is a picture of our kids, even if we can’t tell up close. Here’s a tiny picture of it, which shows the image a little better. Portrait quilt (small image), 2014, by the Houghs

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough, press release

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, header image Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, cover image FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW ART-THEMED COMIC BOOK RELEASED IN DALLAS Jim Public, the enterprise of artist James Hough, publishes Starving Artist, a comic book about art, family, and hamburgers DALLAS, TX — Jim Public is proud to announce the publication of the new comic book Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by Dallas-based artist James Hough. The comic tells the story of Jim, an artist and family man whose aesthetic ambitions are vitally linked to his domestic and gastric aspirations. “Jim has a plan to sell a painting and use the cash to take his family out for burgers,” says Mr. Hough. “Starving Artist is a slice-of-life story that connects the artist’s career to the artist’s home and family. It is an Anti-Myth of the Artist.” The reader first sees Jim floating pajama-clad through his dreams of fame, fortune, and food before he is abruptly awakened by an early alarm clock. From there he makes his kids breakfast and kisses them good-bye, setting off to exhibit his painting on the downtown Dallas streets. The story is semi-autobiographical, much of it based on Hough’s experiences as the proprietor of his mobile gallery of contemporary art, Jim Public’s Truck. “The gallery continues its mission ‘to present artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways’ with the publication of Starving Artist,” says Hough. “The comic exists digitally and in the traditional paper format, and it costs the tiniest fraction of an original painting, for example. It is an extremely accessible piece of art, a bit spontaneous and very neighborly.” The comic also features Hough’s new painting Burger Night and a bonus educational chart entitled “All Art Is Abstract Art,” which includes the artist’s renderings of famous paintings from art history organized into a concise lesson on abstract art. Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough is available on paper at www.jimpublic.com/books and digitally at eBookstores everywhere.

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SCBWI Picture Book Workshop in DFW, with Priscilla Burris

I’m passing along the details of this workshop—I’m looking forward to it, and it should be particularly helpful for aspiring illustrators. I learned so much from last year’s workshop with Dan Yaccarino.
Dear NC/NE Texas SCBWI illustrators, Do not miss the April 20 SCBWI picture book workshop, BLENDING WORDS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. We are lucky to host Priscilla Burris, a successful Southern California-based illustrator/author who has published many books for kids. She is also the illustrator coordinator for SCBWI. As an added bonus, Priscilla will do portfolio critiques for the first eight who register and pay for the conference and a critique. There are still a few spots open, so send your registration form in by April 13 to reserve your spot. In this full-day workshop, Priscilla will share her views on the publishing industry and what it takes to create a successful picture book. Targeted to illustrators and author/illustrators, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how to blend words with illustrations. There will be lots of hands-on work, so bring a sketch pad, pens and pencils as well as your favorite picture book. WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. WHERE: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1330 S, Fielder Road, Arlington, TX 76013 WORKSHOP COST: Admission is $45 for members, $60 for non-members. PORTFOLIO CRITIQUE COST: Admission is $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Go to www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47&sec=News to download the registration form. Please plan to join Priscilla and other SCBWI members for a casual Dutch treat dinner Friday night in Dallas and/or Saturday following the conference in Arlington. Times and locations are on the chapter website). We look forward to seeing you. Watch the chapter website www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47 for the latest news and events.

Superhero Kid Portrait on Canvas

Jim Public, Superhero Kid, June 4, 2012 I received some commissions to make a few superhero portraits on canvas. I was able to make the colors and characterization a little richer in these paintings than in the works on paper, and to experiment with depth of color and lighting effects by using acrylic glazes. Here is the first one I finished.

Digital Baby Daughter

Illustrated Baby Daughter, Jim Public, 2003 My daughter was born during the time of my graduate studies at UNLV, where I was learning about digital art from the illustrious Helga Watkins. In an effort to improve my skills and create a portfolio piece, I used Adobe Illustrator to make this vector portrait of my baby girl. I like the idea that, because it’s a vector image, she could be scaled up infinitely without losing her smooth, baby features.

Two Sisters as Superheroes

Little Girl Superhero Portrait, Jim Public, 2012 Baby Girl Superhero Portrait, Jim Public, 2012 While working on new paintings and illustrations in the studio, I have also been working on an upsurge of new portrait commissions lately. There are so many painters who do traditional portraiture better than I do–not to mention photographers–that I prefer the fun energy of transforming people into comic- and cartoon-style heroes.

New Homepage Illustration

Homepage Illustration, Jim Public I have just streamlined this website, and the homepage now features this new illustration of some characters standing in front of one of my paintings with their attention elsewhere.

Words in the Air

Words in the Air, Jim Public, 120207
Sometimes I like to talk out loud when nobody is there. My brother calls it craziness, my mother calls it prayer, my father calls it poetry, and all of these are fair; but I just like to watch the shapes my words make in the air.