(Kuhn Gallery) It all started with a number two pencil. And a bad day. And a doodle. Because the doodle Jim Jinkins drew to cheer himself up on that bad day turned into Doug Funnie, a character who has touched the hearts and lifted the spirits of millions of children around the world. And incidentally, along the way, turned into a multi-million-dollar business enterprise. Jim Jinkins’ character hit a chord because lots of kids–and parents too–have bad days, and Doug became an inspiration to keep on trying and doing the right thing, no matter what.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Jim, as a youngster, did extensive research into early childhood behavior by riding bikes, building forts and being picked on by a big mean kid named Roger. His earliest career goals were either to be a forest ranger or to move to the Belgian Congo, grow massive muscles and become Tarzan. But, as with most best-laid plans, they went astray, and he ended up at Ohio State University instead, studying animation and filmmaking.
Next, all the times he got sent to stand in the corner for drawing in school paid off with a job as Graphics Director for Children’s Television Workshop’s Square One TV on PBS. Then came a stint as director and production designer on the Emmy award-winning special for HBO, Buy Me That! A Kids’ Survival Guide to Television Advertising.
Since his favorite subject in school was recess, Nickelodeon was a logical next stop. There he appeared as an on-camera performer and artist for Pinwheel and later co-created and produced the award-winning live action series, Allegra’s Window, for Nickelodeon.
In 1991 Jim and his partner David Campbell founded Jumbo Pictures to produce Doug, which became one of Nick Toons’ first big hits and an instant phenomenon with kids and critics alike. Doug and his friend Jim were no longer having a bad day.
In 1996, Jumbo Pictures was sold to The Walt Disney Company and a new show, Disney’s Doug was born. Disney’s Doug received the Annenberg Public Policy Center Award for Most Outstanding Educational Program on a Commercial Broadcast Station for the year 2000.
Doug’s worldwide popularity led to the international release of Doug’s 1st Movie. Jumbo also created and produced the Disney Channel series PB&J Otter and the animated series 101 Dalmatians for ABC.
In 2001, Jim and David co-founded a new independent company, Cartoon Pizza, where they produced Stanley for Playhouse Disney. Jim also co-created JoJo’s Circus, along with his partner David and his wife Lisa Jinkins. HoopDogz, was also produced at Cartoon Pizza and takes each of the Ten Commandments and helps kids to understand them better and make them relevant for their lives.
Jim is also the author/illustrator of Pinky Dinky Doo which was inspired by bedtime stories Jim made up for his 2 kids, Rose and Heath.
Jim has served as honorary chairman of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia and was recipient of the Alumnus of the Year award from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee and the National Eagle Scout of the Year. He lives in Brunswick, Georgia with his wife, a Westie named Lulu and a big ol’ box of number two pencils. Exhibition runs through May 28, 2016.