Enjoy the Journey!!
If you have any questions for Jim (or any other comments), this is the place. Just send us an email @ email@example.com and will post replies as soon as we can.
So, stay tuned for further developments! We might even get a picture of Jim on here too! :o)
What is Jim’s educational background? Where did he learn to illustrate? – IJ
A. I am self-taught, never had a lesson except to study some oils my Pop did. I barely passed art in High School and flunked it in College. There is nothing better to get you to improve your work than to be constantly told by Art Directors and fellow artists how crummy you are. This, more than anything, kept me trying to improve my work – which I think the new stuff will show, particularly the upcoming remakes.
College: Attended Cameron U. Majored in Art – stayed for almost three semesters, failed miserably (you’re not supposed to make money with Art), dropped out, and went to work.
Employers: ’70s- started out painting lead fishing lures, worked in various print shops doing offset printing, and one 30’s era Platen motorized printing press(scary!). Painted signs and store windows (always on the outside and in Winter!). Did a series of Animal paintings for the Children’s Wing of Comanche Memorial Hospital. Did (briefly) crime sketches for the Lawton Police Dept (I am NOT a Narc!!!!). The late ’70s – became Head Artist for a branch of CA Parschall, where we illustrated manuals for the US Army, particularly the Lance Missle System and M109 SP Howitzers. I bought a copy of Artist Market 78(?) saw an ad for Dragon Magazine, submitted art, was eventually hired in 1980 at TSR, kicked to the curb in 1985, and have Freelanced ever since. My favorite art style is 70s-90s fantasy art like that found in D&D and MTG.
I’m sure many fans are wondering … why was 95% of the artwork purged? And how did the rest (5%) survive? – IJ
A. TSR never returned any of the older stuff in the early years when I was happily working there. The few that I did get back in the later years I was really not happy with – most were rush jobs or neat ideas ruined by writers who knew more about art than we did (not all of them, there were quite a few writers I did like). I usually destroyed them because I knew I could have done better. Other reasons, I never knew we’d be around long enough to be considered classic, and never thought about doing prints in the early days. Had a really nice, working fireplace. To be honest, I never knew I had fans till a couple of years ago when Paranoia started up again. There were people at TSR that threw away fan letters addressed to me, so to anyone who wrote me then, I was not being a snob by not answering, I just never received them.
Any possibility of getting some of his Fasa artwork on the website? One of the main reasons I started playing Battletech is because of his covers. Thanks! – BK
A. Sure! We’ll see what we have on hand and try to get it up on the site as soon as possible. Look for it in the “Other Genres” section.
Greetings Jim and friends,
I was surprised when i saw the new artwork for the French version of Keep on the Borderlands. Was that artwork commissioned especially just for the French version? I always assumed the foreign editions would be the exact same as the English versions except for the language changes. Was this a once-off, or have you created any more artwork for foreign versions that we may not have seen yet?
Congratulations on the site, and i am also a big fan of your artwork. It is very dynamic and action packed. I particularly like the way you play with shadows and shading. Very inspiring stuff. I am at the moment working with Len Lakofkas team on the next Lendore series module. My brief is to complete various black and white interior illustrations. And your brilliant First edition artwork really inspires me. – AT
A. Thank you for the compliments, I appreciate it!! I don’t remember being told the Borderline art was specifically for the French market. I’ve seen the Dragon cover with the girl and dwarf leaping off the cliff in French, and the cover of the Ninja girl and Kappa in both British and Australian covers. I also saw my cover of the Monkey Claw tattooed on the arm of a guy in Finland, and they did a really good job of it.
Who were some of your influences early on? – JPS
A. I liked a lot of Virgil Finlay’s art, especially the technique, and stippling. Frazetta was the one who got me started. One guy really inspires me to this day is Fred Gwynne (aka Herman Munster). Not a lot of people know this, but he was a really great artist. He published a bunch of art books and he had a really great sense of humor. Some of the modern Magic the Gathering art isn’t the best, but there are some classic pieces that I truly adore.
Dragon Cover #127 – This is my favorite of Mr. Holloway’s, three Orc army survivors gather at their standard for one last defiant stand against cautiously advancing Elves. Expressive imagery enables the observer to create a detailed story about the battle and disposition of the Races involved. I am one of many longtime fans of Mr. Holloway’s art, I grew up on Dragon and Dungeon magazines.
It is possible TSR Inc never returned this artwork to Mr. Holloway and it is stashed away deep in their Dungeon? – IM
A. Unfortunately, that painting was either lost or stolen. However, I am planning on redoing it in the near future. I’m currently working on redoing the painting that was used for the cover of Dragon #178. You can see it in the Spotlight section. Let me know what you think!
What mediums did you generally use for your early first edition black and white pictures? Are they acrylics? Did you use special paper? Did you paint on A4-sized sheets, or did you make your paintings/ ink works larger and reduce them for better detail in the mods? – AT
A. In the early days I used to use the impossible-to-clean-or-keep-working German Rapidographs, the frustration of cleaning them and trying to put them back together probably shortened my lifespan considerably. I used a piece of paper that had a bit of texture to it. By adjusting the speed and pressure on the texture I could vary the width of the line, so it wasn’t necessary to switch to different pens. After a while, I was able to do this with smoother bristol paper and now I use cheap disposable pens. All b/w drawings were done in India ink, sometimes shaded with a wash of the ink diluted with water. Most b/w’s were done 100% because they had to get out right away. I’ll do paintings larger so they can be reduced, again depending on how fast it had to be done. All early paintings were done in acrylics for speed, I think the Borderlands painting may be the first done in oils. Most of the paintings after that were done in a combination of oils and acrylics, backgrounds done in acrylics.
I just noticed that the ranger woman in the tree from DRAGON #88 was recurring – was she real? Also, can you get some of that HORROR ON THE HILL art up there? Not a lot of people have seen it in my experience and it’s some of your best stuff. -GW
A. The girl is real, one of my all-time favorite models, one of the first models I used when I first moved to Wisconsin. She definitely will appear in new stuff. Will also be posting some of the artwork from Horror on the Hill soon!
Jim, I finally found you! I was a child of the 80s playing Battletech and D&D. Your artwork was all over the FASA books I read and played, and I remember a number of covers you did for Dragon magazine. I love your style!
I just wanted to send my regards to your artwork…it really was very influential in my choosing a career in art and design, I attribute that desire to learn and improve my art to artists like you and Larry Elmore.
I’d love to see more of the FASA stuff. I remember your Black Widow Company cover and a cover for the FASA book ‘Decision at Thunder Rift.’ Any chance to see those soon?
Highest regards! -BH
A. Thanks for the compliments, really appreciated it! Will see what we can do about the FASA scans – doing our best to track them down.
Hello Mr. Holloway,
Thank you very much for all the great art over the years. I believe the original (West End Games) boxed edition of Paranoia was the first product I bought that featured your artwork prominently. The “dark humor” of the game was funny enough, but the dozens of your illustrations of Troubleshooters and the insane-asylum citizens of Alpha Complex left my friends and me in stitches. (“Excuse me Citizen, but is a Tankbot on our requisition form?!” Hilarious!)
Throughout the next couple of decades, I’ve wondered at your continued parade of top-notch art in all the products and periodicals I’ve purchased over the years. From D&D to Car Wars, from Pacesetter Games products to projects for FASA (i.e. BattleTech) -your art was usually the deciding factor on whether I bought an item or not. I’m sure everyone has their “favorite” work that you’ve done. For me, your cover painting for the “Gray Death Legion” for FASA’s BattleTech game system was my favorite. The crisp colors, animated poses of both the ‘Mechs and Carlyle leading a group of infantry along with the fantastic “blurring” effect of the Von Luckner tank smashing through a pile of girders with the ‘Mechs towering in the background, beautiful! I’ve also enjoyed the cover you did for the first “Gray Death” BattleTech novel “Decision at Thunder Rift” as well as the cover for the boxed supplement to BattleTech called “CityTech”.
I was delighted to stumble across your website and see that you are still going strong. You’ve given me (and a lot of other gamers and readers through the decades) something that is quite beyond the price we’ve paid for the products bearing your art. Simply put, a lot of people “do” art, but very few (in my opinion) put their heart and soul into their work. When they do, it really shows. And I believe you are one of those artists. So thank you again Mr. Holloway, and I hope to see much more of your work in the industry in the years to come. – J.H.
Wow, I am so glad to know that Jim is still around. I remember doing a web search for him a year or so ago and fearing he had disappeared.
I absolutely loved Jim’s artwork, especially TSR’s Gangbusters and of course Paranoia. The pieces always conveyed the themes of the games so precisely, every piece showed a sense of struggle, danger, humor, and general pulp excellence! So many RPG ‘spot illos’ are so generic – characters ‘posing’ for the ‘camera’. Every one of Jim’s pieces was a slice of some story, some dire moment of action.
If I was publishing I would be demanding Jim’s artwork for my products. – KD
A. Thanks for the compliments!! They are really appreciated! Be sure to check out the Paranoia section – it has most of the newer covers for the latest edition. And I can be found in one of them!! ;o)
I’m 30 years old and grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons and reading Endless Quest. Much of my imagination from my formative years was in some part shaped by your character portrayals. I stumbled upon this site and started going on a nostalgic trip, clicking on gallery after gallery. When I saw the troll from “Raid on Nightmare Castle”, I froze. There it was, that perfect image of a troll, remembered from my childhood. Thank you so much for posting that out there! I would love to see more from the old Endless Quest line. After seeing the troll, it jarred my memory–didn’t you at some point do a gargoyle for those books? I would absolutely love to see that again too!
A fan for the past 20 years! – CP
A. Thanks so kindly for the compliments! Glad you had a nice trip down memory lane. I’m not sure about the gargoyle, that was many years ago (who’s counting?!)! We have more Endless Quest scans that will be posted at some point, so keep checking the website.
Hello-I wanted to drop a note and say that I’ve been a fan of your work for many years one of the first books I owned with your illustrations was Dungeon of Dread by Rose Estes. I would look at the illustrations of the characters in that book more than the actual book and I have never had quite the same impression of someone’s artwork since. You really brought character and a sense of adventure to your illustrations in that book (and all of the illustrations I have seen of you since). My first DnD character was based on your illustrations and I always drew inspiration from it when i read it as a kid way back in circa 1982(?).
I’m a lot older now and have a family of my own, and just returned from Iraq last year. I happened to find your site while surfing the net and I enjoyed looking at your illustrations all over again and just wanted to drop a note to say thank you for the work you have done over the years. I recognize all of your great drawings on this site from the Endless Quest books, TSR, Dungeon, and Gamma world and it really takes me back to my formative years. Thanks again for all of the memories Jim,
Take care and keep drawing!
A. Thank you for the compliments! Glad you enjoy the artwork! Still working hard to bring you some more! So keep coming back!
All artwork displayed on this website is the sole property of Jim Holloway and may not be used without his permission. Herein you will find an amazing assortment of illustrations from artist extraordinaire, Jim Holloway.
Jim has been a mainstay in the gaming art arena for many, many years. Jim got his start with TSR in the early 1980s and worked on many different projects – AD&D/D&D, Boot Hill, Wizards of the Coast, Gamma World, Top Secret, and others.
This website serves as the Comfy Roadside Inn – a place where you can stop for a rest and enjoy the many outstanding pieces of artwork that whet the appetite for adventure!!
Jim is also well known for his contributions to TSR
Below are some of the many covers he has contributed to:
*S4 Back Cover