Thomas James – Unused Idea for The Washington Post

Every once in a while I submit a concept sketch to an Art Director that doesn’t get chosen for final execution, but that I like enough to keep in mind for a personal piece. The illustration above is one such concept. This was for an article about people in the Washington area having to devise creative ways of winning increasingly competitive bidding wars when buying a home. One of the things that struck me about the topic was that the people whose bids were accepted were often the ones that made some sort of personal connection with the seller, and that many prospective buyers were trying to “court” or “woo” the sellers to win their favor.

So, one idea was to play upon the visual of courting someone with a ring in the shape of a house. I liked the straightforward and smart concept behind this, and decided to take it to final even though another approach was chosen. Sometimes I just can’t get an idea out of my head until I bring it to reality, and I’m pretty happy with the way this one turned out. Hope you like it. Many more personal pieces to come…

You can see more work on my website at

About Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at


  1. Those tiny little reflections are amazing. I know I’d probably go crazy adding lens flares and lighting, but this approach is perfect.

  2. Sweet job Thomas, love that diamond house.

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