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James Martin earned his B.F.A. degree, with distinction, from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He studied figure drawing under the tutelage of renowned draughtsman Fred Fixler. Fred was a student of the Golden Age illustrator Frank Reilly, a protégé of Dean Cornwell.
Upon graduation he was hired as a storyboard artist by the legendary comic artist Neal Adams. This culminated in a collaboration of comic covers with the artist.
The next 7 years were spent as a freelance illustrator and sketch artist for the advertising and film industry. This included working on toy packaging, prop paintings for film, billboards, and print advertising. Clients included: Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, The Grammy Awards, Mattel, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, The Disney Magazine, Lightstorm Entertainment, Marvel Comics and commissions from directors James Cameron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
In the mid 90’s he accepted a position at Walt Disney Feature Animation as a Background Painter and visual development artist. He worked on such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan and Treasure Planet.
For the past 11 years he has worked as a texture and matte painter at DreamWorks Animation where his responsibilities included helping train the artists in painting environments and figure drawing.
He is a frequent guest lecturer and internationally exhibited fine artist. He has exhibited with the California Art Club, the Salmagundi Club, The Hilligoss Museum, The Springville Art Museum and many others.
He is currently a Faculty member of the illustration department at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida.