Howard David Johnson

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Howard David Johnson
Howard David Johnson.jpg
publicity photo
Born (1954-09-02) 2 September 1954 (age 63)
Mötsch, West Germany
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Photography
Movement Photorealism, Science Fiction / Fantasy

Howard David Johnson (born 2 September 1954) is an American photorealist Illustrator and painter most noted for historical, religious and mythological art. He works in a wide variety of mixed media ranging from oil on canvas to digital media.[1][2][3][4] Though he paints in a realistic vein, he creates a world of folklore and mythical characters combining his traditional style and methods with contemporary digital techniques.[2][5][6][7] Specializing in archetypal and idealized iconic imagery, he is a classically trained artist who is particularly influenced by the great illustrators of the late 19th century and the artists of the pre-Raphaelite period.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Mötsch, West Germany, the son of an American Air Force officer stationed at Bitburg Air Base, he was influenced by the art and culture that he was exposed to while traveling in the Mediterranean and Central Europe. He began his life as an artist as a boy in 1960.

He was trained at the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Art and began his career working as a scientific illustrator for their School of Paleontology reconstructing dinosaurs in 1974. [1] It was under their tutelage that he developed his research methods for his scientific approach to ensuring accurate details for his historical illustrations. [2]


Johnson illustrates for books, magazines, games, motion pictures, television programs and computer software for The National Geographic Society, The University of Cambridge and The University of Texas, Adobe Photoshop, PBS television, Doubleday, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios among others. His illustrations for books like The Blood of Heroes and Fairies 101 have appeared in major bookstores newspapers and magazines across America[8] but he has had more educational work published in Europe.[9] He has worked for major Universities like Oxford[10] and his works like Helen of Troy have been published in textbooks like The Epic Cycle by M. L. West and appear in libraries worldwide."[11]

His major subjects are Greek, Celtic, and Norse mythology, Arthurian legends and elements of other mythologies. In addition, there are extensive articles on his technique and some of his subject matter on his website.

A proponent of mechanical aids to visual art such as photography, tracing, projection, and computers, Johnson considers his art to be a modern-day offshoot of the old Brandywine School style started by Howard Pyle. In addition to traditional media, he combines drawing, painting, photography, and digital media to create his Realistic Art.[12]

Johnson has a background in the natural sciences and history. As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create fantasy art but has been involved in the development and advertising of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. His traditional art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. His digital work has also been displayed in numerous other museums since such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[13]


His paintings of religious, mythical and historical subjects entail vivid imagery and preponderance of detail in Pre-Raphaelite art.[14] At first he used Xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo-collages. Beginning with a tracing or projection he draws or paints from original computer digital montages.[3] A critic familiar with his development was quoted as saying: "That he is able to work in both digital and traditional formats and produce such similar results is a truly remarkable commentary on what a great command he has over his tools."[1]


He founded the Brandywine School of Illustrative Art[15] in 1996 because many 20th century realist artists were trained in an educational system which he believed was "openly hostile or dismissive to Classical realistic painting and art tradition and were only taught the tenets of Abstraction and Expressionism."


  1. ^ a b "The Art of Howard David Johnson - Page 2 - Blogcritics Culture". Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b " Legends of King Arthur Through the Ages (9781411636279): Colin Bradshaw-Jones, Lady Charlotte Guest, Sir James Knowles: Books". Archived from the original on 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Stars Portraits - 3 Dimensional Drawing tutorial". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  4. ^ "Howard David Johnson, American Illustrator & Surrealist Artist: Biography & Portfolio". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  5. ^ a b "The Art of Howard David Johnson | Blogcritics". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  6. ^ " |". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  7. ^ Bradshaw-Jones, C.; Guest, C.; Knowles, J. (2005). Legends of King Arthur Through the Ages. LULU Press. p. 4. ISBN 9781411636279. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  8. ^ "Book Review: The Blood of Heroes - WSJ". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  9. ^ "Draksjukan: Mytiska fantasier hos Wagner,Tolkien,och de Vries | Nordic Academic Press". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  10. ^ "The Epic Cycle - M. L. West - Oxford University Press". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  11. ^ Howard David Johnson. "Howard David Johnson Prints and Posters at the Johnson Galleries". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  12. ^ "Howard David Johnson : Heaven And Earth Designs, cross stitch, cross stitch patterns, counted cross stitch, christmas stockings, counted cross stitch chart, counted cross stitch designs, cross stitching, patterns, cross stitch art, cross stitch books, how to cross stitch, cross stitch needlework, cross stitch websites, cross stitch crafts". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  13. ^ "Xapz! Howard David Johnson". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  14. ^ "Sleeping Beauty Posters at". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  15. ^ Howard David Johnson. "Art Lessons; The Brandywine School of Art: featuring Realistic Illustration and Portraiture in a home study art school: Affordable Lessons in drawing, painting, photography & digital media". Retrieved 2015-01-23. 

External links[edit]