Friday, September 17, 2010
Thomas Herpich is an illustrator whose focus is comics but has created a distinct style which is used in his other illustration work as well. His editorial illustrations have been featured in ESPN, American Way, COMPLEX, Radio & Records, and Billboard magazines.
This small strip was featured in ESPN magazine alongside an article about "the wave". It features some of the main elements of his style (frozen sense of motion, lumpy cartoon features, strong line work) but less exaggerated as some of his other work.My first exposure to him was through Flight Vol. 4, a comic anthology showcasing young and innovative artists and writers, where his short piece "Fairwell Little Karla" was featured. He also works as a concept artist for the most awesome show on television, Adventure Time. You can view his process for many of the surreal characters he has created for the show on his blog, here.
Many of his comics take place in sparse, desert environments which, in addition to the surreal and often grotesque creatures which inhabit them, is very reminiscent of the work of Moebius. The top most image is the first page of a work titled "Distant Screaming", which will be featured in the Meathaus "SOS" anthology. While the line work isn't nearly as detailed as the exquisite work Moebius was known for, nor are the environments as expansive, the way things are told visually is a common thread between the earlier master and his contemporary. We aren't told what is happening or who the characters are, but we have a sense of foreboding tension. Read the rest of the six page comic here.
Herpich's work really struck me simply because it seems to plant itself directly between two distinct comic styles. They have a sense of realism and seriousness lacking in typical cartoonish comics, but also a sense of humor and exaggeration not found in hyper-realist comics. In addition, I love limited color palate used in "Distant Screaming". Perhaps I'm just a sucker for desert colors, but I love the retraint shown in this piece and many of his other works.