Howard defined the art of fashion illustration during the ‘70s,
‘80s and ‘90s. His highly admired work graced the
advertising campaigns of America’s top department stores,
cosmetic companies and advertising agencies. Instantly recognizable,
Jim’s style was realistic and yet totally expressionistic,
too. Deep, dramatic shadows, meticulous rendering of fabrics,
plus an amazing blend of freestyle sketching and careful attention
to details made every one of his illustrations into a memorable
piece of art.
Howard’s career trajectory was a steady, sure-fire rise
to the pinnacle of glamour but it began far from the fast lane
when he was born in Sterley, now a ghost town in the Texas panhandle.
He immodestly jokes that he was “the best coloring book
artist in West Texas.” Jim’s first formal training
was at a junior college and then he earned a Bachelor of Fine
Arts degree at the University of Texas.
a store in Austin, was Jim’s first job. He dressed windows
and drew the ads but that was cut short by a two-year stint
in the Army. He returned to Texas and took his portfolio to
Neiman Marcus in Dallas, one of the world’s most prestigious
stores, where he remained for four years. Next step up the ladder
meant a move to New York City where Jim’s list of freelance
clients reads like a Who’s Who of fashion retailers: Bonwit
Teller, B. Altman, Marshall Field’s, Garfinkel’s,
I. Magnin, Dillards, Bon Marche and others. It was when he was
hired by Bonwit Teller in 1976 that his now-famous, dramatically
lighted style really locked-in. “I had done a small painting
with lower, footlight-type lighting...I did a sample drawing...the
first ad was a bow to the dawning space age world and the more
traditional, great symbol in the New York Harbor, the Statue
of Liberty.” Jim then moved on to work for Bullock’s
in Los Angeles for ten years.
leaving the illustration world, Jim moved to Santa Fe where
he painted and showed in a few galleries. Next, it was on to
Albuquerque where he became active in the theatrical scene,
acting as well as designing sets and costumes and from there,
to his present home in Denver.
Howard’s work, fine art and commercial illustrations, has
garnered many awards and been exhibited in museums and galleries
from New York to Chicago, from Texas to Taos. More than three
dozen of his pieces are in the permanent collection of the Boston's
Museum of Fine Arts. In November 2010, Jim returned to New
York City for a book signing with Patrick McDonald, hosted by
the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman department store to celebrate
the release of the Four
Famous Dandies paper doll book.
current titles for Paper Studio Press include: Jim Howard's
Fashion Ilustration Paper Dolls, Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Dorothy Lamour,
Shirley Jones, Four Famous Dandies, Gene Fashion Doll, COUTURE:
Sublime Fashions of the 1950s, COUTURE: Alluring Feminine Fashions of the 1930s, COUTURE: The Many Faces Of The 1920s, Fashion Originals by Jim Howard, Vol 1.
Titles by Jim Howard for Paper Studio Press
COUTURE: The Extravagance of the 1910s
Hollywood Goes to Sea