Monday, January 31, 2011

Hans Rudolf Giger

Illustration isn't just print. Not anymore, not for a good long while now. Personally, this illustrator got on with the program to make concept art for games. Sue me.

Anyway, pre-production art for film, television, animation, and, yes, games is a huge field and a lot of really talented illustrators are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into it. H.R. Giger isn’t really and illustrator, but he did dip his toes in that particular pool in late seventies when Alejandro Jodorowsky was supposed to be making a DUNE movie (based on Frank Herbert’s masterpiece) and invited Giger to work on set, costume, and prop designs, giving him complete creative freedom. What a gig.

Eventually the project burned up in the development hell and it was probably for the best, since the universe would probably implode from such a heavy concentration of crazy awesome (did I mention that Pink Floyd were supposed to create the soundtrack and Salvador fucking Dali was at one point cast as the Emperor?). Several of Giger’s designs for the film did survive though, and, man, do the look good…

It bothered me for a long time that Giger’s work, while beautiful and appropriately atmospheric, didn’t really mesh too well with Frank Herbert’s books, but then I read Giger’s own memories of the project and found out that Jodorowsky took grave liberties with the source material anyway, so maybe H.R.’s images worked better with the script than it did with the book... The thing of it is: while any film would benefit greatly from a distinctive and consistent visual style, and Giger certainly is distinctive and consistent, art in a film, or TV show, or game, cannot exist for its own sake – it is there to carry the story/gameplay, and I am not sure that calling a mad genius like Giger and essentially telling him “go nuts” is a very good idea for the director. The end result would, at best, be a beautiful mess. Like the DUNE movie that did come out eventually. Ugh. I wish I haven't remembered that...

Jacob Charles Dietz

"2019 Post Alley" was done by Jacob Charles Dietz, whom I recently discovered. For the particular illustration Dietz was inspired by Syd Mead;s concept art from the 1982 film "Blade Runner". I too am very inspired by Mead's work as well as various other artists' unique ideas of what the future might look like. The dark and grimy atmosphere in this image captures what I think most places in the future might look like. I love the undertone of mystery and danger as well. Dietz's loose brush technique and color palette really brings out all of those emotions. "2019 Post Alley" allows us to enter a place that we normally would want to avoid and it leaves the narrative up to us. I wonder what sort of seedy characters and activities lurk in those dingy buildings.
Even though the elements in the picture look far-out, it's actually very realistic. There are places that exist now that looks similar. The only difference is the fashion and car designs. Candid images like these intrigue me because it shows everyday life in a not so everyday world and it's more tangible than an outer space battle scene (although I like those too).

Ever since I was little I've always had a fascination with science fiction art thanks to visionaries like Mead and Dietz. Looking at fantasy and futuristic concept art makes me want to push my imagination and create my own world; from towns and cities to the people who inhabit them and their lifestyles.

Kathy Beachler

This is a print by Kathy Beachler who is an artist that does mainly linocut pieces. When she does a print it can be just in the one color that was used to print the piece, or it can be in that ink color and then water colors as well. I really enjoy her use of water colors along side print making because its an interesting way to make each piece unique. When I think of print making, I generally think of many pieces that are identical, or close to it anyway. With this water color technique, each piece is one-of-a-kind. I also think this is a sophisticated way to treat a piece that would generally be used as a decoration for a child. The animals are not your run of the mill animals that are commonly used with children's alphabet primers and the style and technique used by Kathy are also a more "grown up" treatment of a child's subject matter. I really like the idea of treating art work for children in the same manner that one would treat art work for an adult and this is a concept that children's book illustrators like Eric Carle seem to have mastered. Although his subject matter might be geared for a child, its treatment is not. This is a great way to create unique illustrations, but especially when dealing with children it seems like a key selling point. If a parent is reading to their child night after night it seems only logical that they would enjoy reading books with sophisticated, interesting artwork over run of the mill cartoons and flat looking animal figures.

Matt Furie

Matt Furie is a San Francisco based artist that I have discovered recently from surfing through, an art blog that I tend to ruffle trough a lot. I remembered seeing his work on there along with an interview a while back, and I recently came across it again and was totally inspired not just by the detail and style of his work, but just how ridiculous it is. He says in his bio and some interviews that he is inspired by child hood movies like The Neverending Story and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. He describes this drawings and illustrations to be “Children’s book illustrations for adults.” I think his style and weirdness is awesome, and I can totally relate this to my own work. I may not be was weird as Matt Furie, but I am inspired by the same kind of things as him. I have a passion for creating characters and I love everything about what he does. He creates weird characters, in weird situations as fine art and illustration work. His characters are mainly animals and creatures, they are furry, have scales, and have human characteristics but with a cartoon style that I admire a lot.
Matt Furie’s Website:

Final Fantasy Tactics Character Design

I believe Ryoma Ito was the one who designed Marche (Character here). I have loved the Final Fantasy series since my youth and as I grew even more the art work. I say this is a great illustration because at heart it is the artist creative representation of a character.
The Final Fantasy Tactics art has a signature style. Childish faces, lots of detail in the clothes they wear, oval eyes that are in eyes that don't connect like normal eyes do and so on. Here I find bright colors, unique clothing, and more that get me excited make my own characters. I love how this character has skinny libs, and is short in statue, yet can carry a weapon that looks very heavy! The characters details clothing folds( in the arms and back), makes him look rigid, like he's a force.

The color palette is very nice as well, and of course it is drawn very well. All this comes together to make an awesome illustration.

Brandon Boyd

Brandon Boyd is an artist I recently found out about, from a friend who spoke very passionately about him. He brought this artist's work up after I had shown him examples of my own work. Usually, as an artist, trying to be independent and original, I can get a little defensive when my work is compared to another existing artist. But once shown some pieces, I was really inspired and impressed not only by Brandon's artwork, but also his methods and theories (a.k.a, his self-proclaimed ramblings).

Arguably known most for his part in the band Incubus, Brandon Boyd has published two collections of his illustrations, memories, snapshots, and life-thoughts in his sketchbook-style books "White Fluffy Clouds" and "From the Murks of the Sultry Abyss". I was loaned the later, and found that while the illustrations were placed beside a written passage, they almost never had any correlation to them. The layout of the books was to share all these different art forms: photography, illustration, poetry, prose.

I was really interested in this artist's work because of the stylized human figures, the bright colorful market work, and the variation in the pen work. Being very fond of pen and ink illustrations in my own work, I loved seeing the changes from thick to thin in certain areas, and the detail work of small, thin lines that created depth and texture. I also especially loved the sectioned look of the illustrations. The hair of the figures is separated into thickly outlined sections, then boldly filled with vibrant colors or textured pen fillings. Lips, eyes, noses, ears, are all fully outlined, adding to the stylization of the piece that I love. And of course, the many layers of details (flowers, swirls, symbols, patterns, designs) all make a visually interesting piece that I can enjoy looking at for a long tie, and enjoy going back to time and time again while always discovering something new I missed before. However, not only is his work itself inspiring, but Boyd as an artist is as well. He does not restrain himself to one label, but explores illustration, written work, music, photography, and more with equal passion.

Jan Brett

 Jan Brett has been one of my favorite artists ever since I was a little girl—I grew up reading her books over and over, partly for the clever stories but mostly for the amazing illustrations that accompanied them.  While her illustrations would be enough as companions to the stories, she also includes highly detailed borders in most of her books that serve to guide the reader and give clues on what will happen next in the story.

This illustration is from her website; she has activities for children that are related to her books, and this is one of the printable masks she has from her book “The Mitten”.  Her attention to detail never fails to amaze me.  I especially like her ability to depict the animals in a realistic yet distinct style.

While many good artists have a more minimalist style, I have always been drawn to artists who use a lot of detail in their work, and I believe this stems from Jan Brett’s influence on my life as a child.  My own style has been influenced and inspired by her works of art.

Here is her website:

Tomomi Kobayashi

The Japanese illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi has been one of my earliest and most consistent inspirations. She is, first and foremost, a watercolorist, and is most known this side of the ocean for her work on Square's experimental SaGa series and the MMO Granado Espada. There is an obvious elegance to her work - in her lines, her use of color, her stylistic approach to rendering characters, her combination of organic nouveau and geometric deco elements to create a style that encompasses both the romantic and heroic traditions (incidentally, perfect for the type of video games that she has worked on).

My favorite Tomomi Kobayashi pieces are those done for SaGa Frontier on the original Playstation, probably due to the sheer variety in types of characters she had to tackle. This piece is fairly representative of that body of work. I especially like the approach she has taken to the designs of the characters. There is a good balance of form and function here - these designs actually make sense and don't feel like they have been created only to look cool, yet they are beautiful nonetheless.

If anyone is interested in watercolor illustration, it's definitely worth it to check out her work. She has a site at It's in Japanese, but the art is not hard to find. (However, the majority of her SaGa Frontier work is not up there. You'd have to Google that.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Peace" by Gerald Brom

I find this illustration by Gerald Brom to be exquisite and alluring. The contrasting color palette is powerful and eye catching, and it was the first element to grab my attention. The beiges, pale taupes, and soft pinks of the background are finely blended. The feel of the environment is soft and warm. The flying doves are a delicate element that almost goes unnoticed, in a sense they seem ghostlike. The female figure is my favorite element. I admit, I have been a fan of Brom for many years and this is a powerful example of how beautifully he illustrates flesh. Her skin reminds me of ivory, but yet seems warm and supple. Her dark helm and ebony gloves frame her torso and also highlight her as the main focus of the illustration. The tattoo on her back I find quite intriguing. It looks to me to be a cross between a chaos star and peace symbol. At first I found that quite contrasting, but really, how often is peace attained without chaos? The gun in a holster(lower right corner) only strengthens the concept(in this illustration) that peace and violence are often interconnected. I have seen this illustration before, many times actually, but never have I really looked at it. I hope everyone enjoys “Peace” as much as I have.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ashley Wood

I first came across Ashley Wood's artwork in volume one, number four issue of Swallow, an illustration catalogue. I'm really inspired by his work; from what I've seen he mostly deals with oil paints. Some say his style is like that of an expressionist's, for most of his paintings include distorted/blurry images, sometimes the subject matter gets lost in his layering, and brush strokes. The image I chose to present doesn't really communicate that exactly. This is one of his cleaner works in my opinion. What I enjoy most from this piece and most of his other pieces is his color-palette, and the shapes and forms he creates. I especially enjoy the cylinder-like robot to the right of the image; it looks like a wine cork or something.

The monochromatic, sepia-like palette gives off an antique photo effect that makes the image sort of look like an old war photo, except with robots. While I admire his technique and style, I'm not particularly a fan of his subject matter. He chooses to paint mostly robots, and nude women. Now, while I'm not saying that I don't like nude women in art, I do get a little tired of robots. But I think pretty much all of his designs are unique and well crafted.

Here's a link to his website, definitely check out his work,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Post of Spring 2011 Semester

Hey guys,

10 minutes after everyone desktop was fixed. Oh well. I'll save it for next week's lecture.

I look forward to this class and I'll see you guys next week. Remember: 15 images for your sketchbook "flipbook" and a 150-200 word blog post on any image are both due by next Wednesday. Please make sure you insert the image you discuss in the blog. Here was something fun I found that caught my eye. It's an illustration for Linn Olofsdotter from Sweden - She has done work for MTV and others. Here is her site.

Have a good week everyone!