Jim Woodring was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and enjoyed a childhood made interesting by frequent hallucinations, apparitions, disembodied voices and other psychological malfunctions. Despite the generally frightening nature of his delusions he learned to accept them as part of life and was accordingly a reasonably cheerful and good-natured child.
After barely graduating from high school, Woodring got a job as a Garbage man and lived in picturesque squalor as he set about the task of capturing his inner life in words and pictures.Some of these fledgling efforts were printed in various "underground" publications of the day: Two-bit Comics (a weekly tabloid), the Los Angeles Free Press, and an early effort at self-publishing, The Little Swimmer. Gradually he developed a number of serviceable drawing styles and became a full-time freelance cartoonist, doing work primarily for advertising agencies and public relations companies but also working on whatever projects came his way, such as student films and other collaborative art.
Eventually Woodring landed a salaried job in an L.A. animation studio where he worked with the likes of Jack Kirby and Gil Kane.
In 1980 he self-published the first issue of his "illustrated autojournal," JIM, containing comics, drawings and stories drawn from his indelible ongoing childhood experiences.JIM was subsequently published as a 32-page magazine by Fantagraphics. Response was good enough to pursuade Woodring to leave animation and embark on a career as a full-time cartoon artist.
Since then he has drawn enough autobiographical material to fill a book (specifically the book of Jim), hundreds of pages of wordless FRANK comics (The Frank Book, The Lute String, The Museum of Love and Mystery, Pupshaw and Pushpaw, The Portable Frank and Weathercraft), designed dozens of vinyl and plastic toys (Crazy Newts, Imperial Newts, Dorbel, Mr. Bumper, Mantra, Jiva and Big Egypt Parlor Sphinx), produced numerous elaborate charcoal drawings and paintings, many if which are gathered in the 2005 collection Seeing Things, and written a handful of articles and essays (such as the introduction to New directions' 2008 Kenneth Patchen collection The Walking Away World).
In 2006 he and guitarist Bill Frisell received United states Artists Fellowships for their multi-media collaborations. He has received numerous other awards and honours, including an artist residency at San Fransisco's Yerba Buena Arts Center in 2009 and a Rasmussen Foundation-sponsored residency in Homer Alaska for March 2010.
Woodring now lives in Seattle with his family.