During college, he spent a summer sketching with a friend, and they created the book "The Artist's Guide to Sketching", which opened the door for them into doing work painting background art for the animated film "Fire and Ice", in which Kinkade explored the use and effects of light. Following the completion of this film, he made his living as a painter, selling his work in galleries in California.
After marrying in 1982, Kinkade and his wife began to publish his art commercially. He demonstrates an admiration for the tradition of 19th- century American luminists and attempts to create romantic worlds and uplifting moods covering a wide variety of subjects, from quaint cottages to rustic outdoor scenes, to bustling cityscapes.
His is a warm palette, utilizing soft edges in his painting technique, and an effort to create a glowing atmosphere. He is a devout Christian whose intent is to communicate values of family, home, and faith in God through his art.
Thomas Kinkade has been inducted into the Bradford International Hall of Fame for plate artists, along with his idol, Norman Rockwell. In 1995 he received the Lithograph of the Year Award and 1995 Graphic Artist of the Year from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers.
His work has been the subject of several books, among them "Thomas
Kinkade: Painter of Light" (Lightpost Publishing, 1993),
and "Thomas Kinkade: Paintings of Radiant Light" (Abbeville