About the Artist
Who's The Man Behind The Curtain!

Hello, my name is Jim Stilwell. I have been drawing buildings for a living since 1978. Do the math, that's a long time. I'm what you might call a self taught artist. Ever since I can remember, I've loved to draw, spending many hours creating adventure scenes on paper. People, cars, buildings, airplanes, you name it, I drew it. My Mom always encouraged me and made sure I had art supplies. Thanks mom. 

During my last year of high school, mom asked me to draw a picture of our neighbor's house to give as a gift. While looking out the window I drew, to the best of my ability, an illustration of that house. I used a quill pen that had to be dipped in a bottle of black India Ink and drew on a piece of Bristol board. I thought it came out pretty good. My mom loved it but that's no test because moms love everything their kids do, remember those pencil holders made from toilet paper rolls? Anyway it was a hit with the neighbors. I ended up drawing dozens of other neighbors' houses in our sub-division. I charged $20 each and even threw in a mat so it was ready for framing. It took me about 3 or 4 hours for each drawing and that was good money back then, especially for doing something fun, and I was my own boss.

I continued doing house drawings to earn money while attending Business College. After a year of school my family moved to Florida. I followed because I was tired of freezing to death in New Hampshire. I ran a newspaper advertisement to draw homes, and was contacted by a local architect. He asked if I did Architectural Delineation (the fancy name for drawing buildings from 2 dimensional plans). I said yes, and I had no idea what architectural delineation was. I met with him and he showed me blueprints of houses he was going to build. I came clean and told him I never had drawn perspectives from plans but was willing to try. I went to the bookstore, found a book on perspective drawing, and spent about 3 days struggling to figure it out. Long story short, I managed to use his plans and produce some crude perspective drawings. He was happy with the results and best of all I was cheap.

This ignited an interest in Architecture. My landlord had an architect friend and I went to see him, taking along some drawings I had done. I was just looking for a little guidance but left his office with a job as a junior draftsman. I had never done that either. I learned on the job. I continued doing side jobs at night drawing local houses for people and occasionally my boss let me do Architectural Renderings (another fancy name for doing 3D drawings of buildings). After about a year and a half my good friend Luc, a co-worker, got laid off. While looking for a new job, he stumbled on a large architectural firm that was looking for someone to do renderings and presentation drawings. I went for an interview with my portfolio of stuff and left their office with a job as junior planner. Again, I did not know what that entailed either. I learned on the job.

I spent the next year doing renderings as well as doing preliminary land planning. It was great experience; this firm had over 50 employees comprised of architects, engineers, landscape architects and interior designers. I was able to work on projects with all of them at one time or another.

An advertising agent whom this company did business with lured me away with dreams of a partnership. I did all the work, found all the clients and gave half away to my partner. This launched my independence.

I have worked for myself since then producing thousands of renderings and other artwork. I am constantly learning and improving with each challenging job. I have worked on projects throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Europe, drawing everything from doghouses to large resort hotels. I have been blessed to have a long list of repeat clients. As well as people in the design field, I have worked with ad agencies, builders and corporations. I have especially enjoyed my working relationship with creative people.

This website is a product of my work experience. Having to learn how to illustrate on my own motivated me to put this knowledge out into the world to inspire others and hopefully give them easy tools to get started in this field or pursue a hobby. I believe there is an artist in everybody. I encourage you to use your imagination and not get to dependant on today's technologies.

I have been happily married to my wife, Edrianna since 1986. She is my biggest fan and motivating factor in my life. I dedicate this website to her.

This was my first rendering!

To encourage you, take a look at my Architectural Rendering Gallery to see how far I have come.

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