Jim Woodring, the son of a toxicologist and an inventor, was born in 1952 in Los Angeles. After a childhood made interesting by hallucinations, paranoia and other torments, he visited a Surrealism retrospective in the Los Angeles County Art Museum in 1968, which opened his eyes to the possibilities of making art from otherworldly experiences. Woodring's post-high school years were lived out against a background of drugs, alcohol, underground comix, literature and 17th-century Dutch painting. In these hectic formative years, he held various jobs, including those of garbage man and seasonal worker in the countryside.
During this time Woodring taught himself to draw. In 1980 he took a job at the Ruby Spears animation studio, where he created storyboards for some of the worst cartoons ever made, such as 'Mr. T' and 'Rubic the Amazing Cube'. Thanks to the income generated by this absurd and demoralizing work, Woodring was able to begin the systematic documentation of his inner world in the self-published autojournal 'Jim'. 'Jim' was published as a regular title by Fantagraphics Books in 1986.
Jim Woodring went into comics full-time in 1989 and remains there today. His work has been published in such diverse titles as the Whole Earth Millenium Catalog, World Art, Weirdo, The Kenyon Review and Wired. Jim Woodring's comix have been collected in: 'The Book of Jim' (1993), 'Frank' (1996), 'Frank Volume Two' (1997 - all with Fantagraphics) and 'Frank' (L'Association, 1998).
Jim Woodring's fame stems from his creation 'Frank', a wordless comic that parodies the "funny animal" tradition. 'Frank' is situated in between cute and terrifying, for the drawing is cute but the subjects are terrifying. Woodring published another work in 1993, 'The Book of Jim', which is a very strange publication. There are a 100 possible points of entry and it can be re-read from all of these, creating a new reading experience with every entry. Woodring seems to be creating a genre of his own in comics.
Woodring drew the children's comic
'Smokey Bear, Friend of the Forest'