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Jim Butler

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise:
Illustration, drawing and book art

Jim is a practising artist with research interests in drawing, printmaking, illustration and artist’s books. His work has been exhibited in the USA, Mexico and across Europe, and is held in numerous collections including Tate, the Art Institute of Chicago and The Hague's Meermanno Museum.

[email protected]

Visit Jim's website

Watch Jim's films on Vimeo


Jim has worked as an artist and educator since completing his MA in 2001. He initially taught in Manchester Metropolitan University before starting at ARU in 2007.

In his illustration practice, he's has been commissioned by international clients such as Adidas, Siemens, New Island Books and the Wirtschafstkammer Tirol.

In 2008, he worked closely with Quentin Blake, Ronald Searle, David Hughes and other leading illustrators to produce a book of drawings to celebrate Cambridge School of Art’s 150th anniversary.

Jim has a particular interest in visual language developed over large series of work. His ongoing research included a series of several hundred collage drawings documenting different cities.

His artist’s books explore a range of themes and have been acquired by a number of major public collections. He sees his practice as being not just integral to research but a means of researching ideas through practice.

In 2018, Jim won the professional books category in the World Illustration Awards for his piece 'Blackrock Sequence,' a limited edition artist's book created in collaboration with a poet. It featured poems based around Jim's hometown of Dublin, exploring the cultural, historic and ecological richness of the suburban coastline, with one of the themes throughout being the idea of the city of Dublin as a palimpsest.

In 2019, Jim's two most recent artist’s books 'Open Ended' and 'Blackrock Sequence' were purchased by the Tate for their contemporary artists’ book collection.

Research interests

  • The tactile experience of artists’ books
  • The relationship between the observer and the subject in reportage drawing
  • The act of drawing
  • Structures of visual language



  • MA Communication Design, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • PG Cert Learning & Teaching (Higher Education), Anglia Ruskin University
  • BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • BE (Hons) Electrical Engineering, University College Dublin

Selected recent publications

Butler, J., 2017. Opening Times: Carrión ‘s The New Art of Making Books as Creative Stimulus. The Blue Notebook, 11(2) forthcoming.

Butler, J., 2013. The Printmaker and the Challenge of the Editioned Book. The Blue Notebook, 7(2) pp.38-45.

Butler, J., 2008. Cambridge School of Art 1858-2008 New Drawings. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University.

Work in public collections

  • TATE Britain
  • British Library
  • Joan Flasch Collection, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Museum Meermanno, The Hague
  • National Irish Visual Arts Library, Dublin
  • Centre for Artists' Books, Dundee Contemporary Arts
  • Western New York Center for Artists’ Books, Buffalo, New York
  • Special Collection, Manchester Metropolitan University Winchester School of Art
  • Special Collection & Archives, Cardiff University

Selected exhibitions

  • National Original Print Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London, 2016
  • Weltbaustelle NRW, Minden, Germany, 2016
  • Livres d'Artistes: The Artist's Book in Theory & Practice, Cardiff University, 2015
  • What the Butler Saw, Williams Art, Cambridge, 2014 
  • Drawings & Etchings, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, 2013 
  • Serigraphy, The Art of Screenprinting, Western New York Book Arts Center, Buffalo, New York, 2012
  • Da impressão ao livro de artista, Universidade do Porto, Portugal, 2012
  • Signs of Lfe, Signs of Change, Galeria Cozinha, Porto, Portugal, 2011 
  • Cabin: codex, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2011
  • Bitten & Pressed, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 2010
  • Sitting Room, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico, 2008
  • Sitting Room, K Gallery, Alameda, California, USA, 2008

Recent presentations and conferences

“The Duration of the Page”, Livres d’Artistes: the Artist’s Book in Theory and Practice, Cardiff University, 2015

Keynote presentation, “La Naissance des Images” Illustr4tio conference, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, 2014

“Les Espaces du livre”, Trinity College, Cambridge, 2013

“Observation: Mapping: Dialogue” Drawing Research Network, Brighton, 2010