ames McMullan was born in 1934 in Tsingtao, North China, where his grandparents founded an Anglican Mission. He was educated in China, India, Canada, and the United States, and graduated from Pratt Institute in 1958.
From 1965 to 1968 Mr. McMullan was a member of Push Pin Studio. During the 1970's, he provided journalistic illustrations for many magazines, including several for a story in New York Magazine that became the visual inspiration for the movie Saturday Night Fever. Since that time he has done a wide variety of work, including a short film, Christmas 1914, part of a PBS Christmas special called Simple Gifts. As the principal artist for Lincoln Center Theater, he has created posters for dozens of plays, such as Anything Goes, The Front Page, Six Degrees of Separation, The Sisters Rosensweig, Carousel, The King and I, and Arcadia.
Mr. McMullan has been a Director and Vice President of the AIGA. He has been profiled in the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among many magazines in the U.S, Japan, France, Holland and Germany. His Awards include the Society of Illustrators’ Hamilton King Award, a special Drama Desk Award for “consistently inspired artwork for theatrical productions”, an ANDY Award, the Joan Cullman Award for creative contribution to Lincoln Center Theater and the Pratt Institute Herschel Leavitt Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Besides his illustrative work for every major American magazine, he has designed U.S. postage stamps, an animated film for PBS, December 25th, 1914, and a mural for Lincoln Center Theater. He initiated the High- Focus Drawing Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York where he taught for many years. He is the author of High-Focus Drawing (Overlook Press, 1995), Revealing Illustrations (Watson Guptill, 1982). and The Theater Posters of James McMullan (Penguin Studio, 1998), as well as a recent series on drawing, Line by Line, for the online edition of the New York Times.
In addition to his fine art publications, Mr. McMullan has illustrated many picture books, including: Nutcracker Noel (HarperCollins, 1993), Noel the First (HarperCollins, 1996), Hey, Pipsqueak! (HarperCollins, 1995), The Earth Is Good (Scholastic, 1999), and Papa's Song (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000). With his wife, the author Kate McMullan, he has conceived and illustrated twelve children’s’ books, including the much loved and celebrated I Stink! (HarperCollins, 2002), now on its way to becoming a television series. His latest picture books in the series are I'm Brave (HarperCollins, 2015) and the upcoming I'm Cool (HarperCollins, 2016). In 2014 Algonquin Press published Leaving China, his illustrated memoir of his war years in China, Canada and India, which has been reviewed in the New York Times and Vanity Fair among many other publications and which Jules Feiffer described as “a picture and prose poem, exotic and deeply personal.”
Mr. McMullan lives with his wife, Kate, in New York City.
James McMullan is represented by Holly McGhee.