James Bennett began studying art at Bucks County Community College in 1981. His professional career as an illustrator started soon after receiving recognition from the Society of Illustrators and RSVP as a scholarship student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. James Bennett’s conceptually humorous Illustrations have since appeared as covers and interior pieces for The New York Times, The L.A. Times, Forbes, Time, Sports Illustrated, The Weekly Standard, Mad, Business Week, New York, Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest, Yankee, Golf, and Philadelphia magazines, among others. He has also produced art for RCA Records, American Express, Paramount Pictures, Citibank, Hasbro, and Milton Bradley. James Bennett has completed a number of picture books, two of which have appeared in the top 5 of the New York Times Best Seller list. “Tell Me A Scary Story… But Not Too Scary,” written by Carl Reiner and the picture book “Halloween,” written by Jerry Seinfeld. “The 2000 Year Old Man Goes To School”written by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner,and “Tell Me A Silly Story”by Carl Reiner have been added to the celebrity book shelves. James Bennett’s awards include the prestigious Hamilton King, which acknowledges an illustrator’s outstanding body of work represented by the “Best Illustration of the Year by a Member,” the Stevan Dohanos Award from the Society of Illustrators in New York. The “Creative Show” in San Diego which recognizes the best in advertising for the year, awarded him a gold medal, and he has also won gold medals from the Society of Illustrators Annual Shows in New York City.Bennett received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, and has also been the featured artist in issues of Communication Arts and Fantasy Art from China. A member of the Executive Board of Directors at the Society of Illustrators, Bennett is also active in the Illustrators Partnership of America. He has taught classes in illustration and portfolio technique at The School of Visual Arts and Pratt in New York, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and has lectured extensively at various art institutions locally and nationwide. He received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in May of 2013,after giving the commencement speech to the graduating class of Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania. James lives and works in Bucks County,Pennsylvania.
The New York Times
The L.A. Times
The Weekly Standard
New York Magazine
At the beginning of an assignment,my first step is to visualize exactly what the image will look like at its conclusion.
The clearer I can see the finished painting,the faster I can begin collecting the important elements that will make it a fun and interesting process for myself,and a successful endeavor for my client.
I try to think of the action first,which then allows me to see the primary focus from many different angles,then select the one that works best,and from a fresh perspective.
Once I’m satisfied with the perspective and the composition,the details of characters and hand gestures are selected from a buffet of sketches,photos and carefully scripted reference shoots.When amassing these details,thoughts of light and color are always being presented and debated.
Although constantly aware of my original vision of the final piece,I allow myself to look for pleasant surprises that I may have overlooked.
Once the painting process begins,which can vary,depending on size and usage,I work as quickly as possible,eager to see the finished work.
Starting thickly with oils,in a very limited palette,allows me to construct the basic framework,which can be decorated with light washes and fine lines.The intensity of color can now be added to enhance my intentions.
In the final stages,I inspect each section to ensure that it fits with my original thought.