James Blanding Sloan was born in Texas on September 18, 1886 to Alexander Colvin Sloan and Henietta Blanding. He grew up in Corsicana, Navarro county Texas, where he received his early education. He later studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. While there he shared a studio with printmaker B.J.O. Nordfelt and became interested in color etching through his friendship with George Senseney. He helped organize the Players Workshop in Chicago and later produced scripts by Ben Hecht, Alice Gerstenberg and Max Bodenheim in New York City. While in New York in the 1920's, he designed stage sets for Florence Ziegfeld, Earl Carrol and John Murrary Anderson.
He arrived in San Francisco in the mid-1920's and opted to remain. Establishing a studio on Polk Street. For some years, Sloan had a puppet theater in San Francisco, and during this time his etchings were exhibited in many of the galleries across the country. He brifly also had a studio in Carmel.
In the early 1930's he moved to Hollywood where he designed stage sets and spent much of the rest of his life. During World War II, Sloan worked on many army training films. After this period he co-produced religious, medical and education films with his foster-son, Wah Ming Chang. James Blanding Sloan is listed in Hughes, Davenport, Lawrence, Fielding and Mallett.
His etchings of Texas were presented by Vice President John Nance Garner to the Library of Congress in 1936, the same year in which Sloan was named specialist in arts and crafts for the mayor of San Antonio. Also in 1936, Sloan directed "The Cavalcade of Texas" a pageant of history for the Texas Centennial in Dallas. Sloan was a life long member of the Chicago Society of Etchers.
Blanding Sloan married Lillian Weiss and had 4 children. He died on October 5, 1975 in Canyon, Alameda County CA.