Monday, February 28, 2011

Andy Warhol

This is a fashion illustration done by Andy Warhol. Before he was known for his Marilyn Monroe and Campbell Soup can, he started off doing commissioned pieces for magazines in New York. This was obviously commissioned for a fashion magazine, he was very well known for his beautiful pen and ink drawings and shoe advertisements. I believe that this piece was successful for the time. Since the audience for these fashion magazines was geared towards fashionable women he is showing a beautiful young woman dressed in a outfit that would suggest for an upper class person.

Week 5 Blog Post

This watercolor painting is called Black Wolf and the Pomo Girl. According to its artist, Sandy Eastoak, the wolf in the painting is a spirit who is healing the girl from something that is painful, and according to her it’s the way that the Europeans and Americans were killing her people.

Well, I did some research and the Pomo people (they don’t call themselves a “tribe”) are Native Americans who live in Northern California. The black wolf isn’t native to Northern California. But it did come into contact with the Native Americans in Florida. If the Pomo people do in fact, have a connection to canine spirits, it’s that the coyote is their “creator god” in their belief system.

Um, okay. This artist did not do her research. Honestly, it only took about five minutes to learn that, and she likely spent hours on this painting and couldn’t bother to check her facts? She’s says she’s been an artist for 35 years, and she doesn’t do research on her subjects? It’s kind of jarring since her whole website is dedicated to making paintings that honor the Pomo people.  

I chose this painting because I liked the dark tone of it mixed with the cute dancing poses of the wolf and the girl, and I thought the snow was a nice touch that leant a good sense of texture to the piece. Also, the red on the wolf’s clothes added a nice bit of emphasis in an otherwise dark painting. At the time I was hoping it was a historical painting, but it turns out it was made in 2005. Now that I know that the artist doesn’t have her facts straight, I find it kind of a letdown.  

Dustin Nguyen

Dustin Nguyen uses a combination of traditional and digital techniques in his work, most commonly airbrush, brush and ink, and in this particular case watercolors.
He employs a list of artistic methods and elements into what many would consider the childrens market of superhero comic books and manages to produce work that is both rich in detail and color, the use of watercolors for the stained glass window design work perfectly and he lets the watercolor do its own thing in the stone wall detail but still manages to control the medium and produce a tight piece with a wealth of detail and style. His style lends itself to the series that he pencils and he brings a dark and somber image of gotham and batman, the main series he works for, all the while maintaining some playfulness to his work proving that he is capable of being a diverse artist.
While his cover art is fairly straight forward in terms of layout and presentation, his pencils inside the book draw heavily from film noir and set a dark and mysterious tone, some of it probably having to do with the subject matter. It would be great to let him step out from behind the bat and explore other subjects to see what hes truly capable of.

Then again, he seems pretty capable of handling colorful images even with batman

Henry Warren Week.5

Here is another favorite artist of mine Nimit Malavia. To the top is a piece called A Gifted Storyteller. I think that the both the symbolism and the visual appeal of the piece are just beautiful. The treatment to the man's face making him very dark and kind of demonic yet softly whispering into the ear of the girl, telling her lies. I thought that the soft embrace of the two was nice and it allows the artist to tell more of the story by showing the ring finger of both people and only the man has a ring. I really like the play between the visual symbolism of the flowers/ bee and the snake, making his words like honeyed poison.

The other piece, to the bottom, is called Red Snow and is another favorite of mine. I like the play between the little girl and the wolf, the wolf being the victim in the this case, because in a lot of stories it is the wolf that is demonized and considered the villain. I an also very attracted to the background where the trees make the picture feel like a snowy white prison. The girl also has on what a white dress that reminds me of a insane asylum/ hospital dress.

Both pictures are rendered digitally and use a lot of different imagery and emotion to give a lot of information to the viewer.


Lois van Baarle, or “Loish” as she is called online, is a Dutch woman who is a big name on  Her pieces usually make the first page (which, for those of you who don’t know deviantART, is a big deal).  Her style is very dynamic and usually quite brightly colored, though as she has improved she has been experimenting with less saturated colors and playing around with textures more in her works.

While her style is very distinct, Loish is also very adept at drawing realism, which is evident in her self-portraits.  Loish mostly works with digital media but she has enough techniques up her sleeve that add a traditional look to her artwork.  This is part of what draws me to her work, because I am definitely not advanced enough with Photoshop or any other program to make my work look half as interesting as hers does.  The color themes she uses in most of her works are also something I really like.

I have been a huge fan of Loish’s ever since I first joined  It’s been an amazing experience to be able to witness her style change, grow, and improve over the years.  You can check her out here, on deviantART, or on her website.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Natlia Ninomiya

I went through a children's book phase this week. This image is done by the artist Natalia Ninomiya. It's simplicity and content is what drew me towards this image. I like characters that are developed out of large broad shapes, the boys head being ovally shaped, and the parent blob looks like an oversized kidney. The texture to this piece is also very pleasing. You can clearly see the fluid long brush strokes throughout the whole painting. All except for the kidney parent who is decorated with a heavy grain-like texture, making it feel like the only “real” physical thing in the image. There is lack of attention to perspective, the frames are all uneven, there are hardly any straight lines at all. This creates a lax, carefree air to the image. Also, obviously the only color used is red. What the image is trying to communicate, however, is sort of unclear. The parent kidney looks upset, but you don't know exactly why. Maybe the kid fell asleep half-way through the bedtime story. Though the image is very childlike and simplistic, the use of objects and attention to certain aspects of detail create a complete, finished product.

Henry Warren Week.4

Well of course one of my favorites, Frank Frazetta. This piece is called the Silver Warrior. I always love the simple beauty of Frazetta's work. I thing that the heavy shadow and on his characters always gives this ominous feeling of dark mystery. He has an incredible attention to detail especial for an oil painting (at least I always have trouble with that much detail). I think he must use a lot of references because is animals look so realist. I also think I am attracted to his juxtaposition of posturing figures in motion combined with a heavy sense of emotion. I think there is a lot of simplicity to this back ground, which I think Frazetta often plays with, pulling in and out of detail. The one thing that has always troubled me about this piece though is that I am not sure if the white shape in the top of the picture is a cloud or a mountain, maybe its a cloud-mountain.

alex neonakis- owl boy.

I found this piece while randomly searching among illustration inspiration and was immediately attracted to it. The artist is Alexandria Neonakis, hailing from Nova Scotia. There wasn't a lot of information to be found on her, but she is apparently a freelance graphic artist who has worked with Valve and various video game development projects.

Oddly enough, this doesn't make me think of video game development at all. The first thing that came to mind was Peter Pan, specifically the lost boys. The texture of the piece makes it feel like book art, but the style is very reminiscent of classic western cartooning and animation.

The image on the left is the original interpretation of the owl boy concept, which was reworked into a very different style. I am a lot more partial to the newer version. The line work is both strong but made subtle without the use of black, and the shading and texture of the piece are a lot developed. The sky rendering is quite impressive, in that the sky seems to have a lot of depth and light, yet it sticks to the cartoon-y style. The new one feels a lot softer and seems to have a lot more personality, especially because the owls are given characteristics of their own, allowing separation between characters. It reads as more of a snapshot than as a static image of a boy and two owls on a branch.

Bill Watterson

Bill Watterson is a cartoonist most well-known for his highly popular comic strip series Calvin & Hobbes, which ran syndicated for ten years from nineteen-eighty five to nineteen-ninety five. He had ended the strip with a press statement to newspaper editors that he felt he had accomplished all that he could in the medium. The abrupt end to the series has only added to his reclusive nature as an artist.

What I really enjoyed about Watterson’s work was the range of detail he could execute his projects with. Naturally in the realm of the comic strip, the characters in Calvin and Hobbes were often drawn very simply, but every so often we’d also glimpse the true depth of skill he possessed. In the strip below we see a look into Calvin’s childlike imagination, and in his daydream we see a fairly realistic look at a number of dinosaurs… flying jet planes. Either way, I feel the popularity of the series stemmed in part due to many scenes like this and his experiments with illustration.

Allan Burch

This is an image by Allan Burch called "Kyoto Protocol". I am drawn this this image because I like the color palette quite a bit. I like how the sky goes from dark and dreary to a brighter, lighter glow. The color scheme lends a sense of hope to the piece, particularly given the content. The movement of dark to light colors offer a literal glow. The environment is something I consider to be a huge priority so I appreciate the fact that this artist has taken the time to create a piece that lends some commentary to an environmental issue like the Kyoto Protocol. I also like the literal explanation that this piece give to that issue. It clearly communicates that idea that the Kyoto Protocol is a piece of legislation that supports regulating air pollution. I think this piece is succesful because its an interesting image, it takes on an important social issue, and it clearly communicates the concept it is illustrating.

Amy Casey

Amy Casey is a painter based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her paintings are very illustrative in nature. She normally creates surreal urban landscapes, with floating houses, long exaggerated buildings on stilts, and twisting roads. Most of her paintings are in acrylic, and I really like how the flat colors work in her compositions. Amy says she likes to illustrate the nervous state of the world by showing these suspended homes with wires and streets gnarled around them. I think this works very well while creating a feeling of tension. But at the same time, I also think her painting seem playful, because the setting is so unreal, and the colors also remind me of the way children's books are illustrated. Sometimes the homes and buildings look like figures, and even seem expressive sometimes. If you look at some of her other paintings, they tend to be chaotic and seemingly unorganized. However, I thought this particular piece was beautiful.

Some of the most influential art in history has been classical art by the Greeks and Romans, art which depicted their gods and religious stories. This early art then was really illustration, and one of the early stories was Leda and the Swan, which also happens to be the story illustrated in this very contemporary piece. I think this illustration is particularly interesting because it does sort of create a timeline of art from ancient times to the present, you can pick up on influences for other times and places, and really see how far we’ve come. Purely visually I think this illustration is fantastic. The flat layered trees, grass, and background give it a theatrical feel and the bright white of Leda and the Swan really make the figures pop out of the muted scene. The graphic application of color makes the piece bold and dynamic. This illustration is by Matthew McLemore, an artist and graphic designer currently based in Barcelona, who has worked in film and theater, and done book illustration and album art.

Tool-ink Pen Drawing

This is a tool-ink pen drawing that I found. This is a picture that was posted on sash0's website on I really like this piece because of all the details that was put in it, especially in the headpiece and the staff. The shapes and patterns in them look amazing as well. How she used hatching to shade in the picture looks really cool as well. I also really like that she didn't leave the background blank, the pattern in the background looks amazing and makes the whole piece look more complete.

This illustration was created and published in Cleveland in 1911, it illustrates the concept and structure of the capitalist system (politics aside, that’s the idea behind it). I was drawn to this illustration because I like the idea that visuals combined with information can make information more accessible and less dry, and make the art more meaningful. Visually this piece is very much a product of its times. The style of the drawing, relatively realistic with lots of historically specific detail and heavy outlines, compositionally centered and straight forward, makes the piece dated, but no less effective. I think that there is often a temptation to obscure meaning in artwork, but if the point of illustration is to communicate ideas than being obscure is counterproductive. This illustration was relevant and easy to understand for the people viewing it when it was published, I have to wonder what the art and illustration of these times will look like to people 100 years from now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

John Blanche

John Blanche is a British illustrator and designer and also the man who played a MAJOR role in the success of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 franchise.

Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop strategy game in which geeks assemble and paint plastic miniatures and then pit armies of them against one another.

Warhammer 40,000 is also a science fantasy (look that up) setting that provides the backdrop for all those miniature battles.

The game, I don't give a damn about. I'm not that much of a geek. The universe, however is so absurdly over-the-top-in-your-face-chopping-your-ass-off-with-a-chainsaw-sword grim, dark, bleak, and yet awesome, that I am absolutely in love with it.

Much like the Imperial Inquisitor shown above, much of Mr. Blanche's work is concept drawings/paintings for the GW's products. Character designs, costume designs, mechanical designs, sometimes environment designs too. They are elaborate, bizarre, often rough, and completely mesmerizing. They are great at setting MOOD of the complex, bizarre, and often completely batshit crazy universe John Blanche helped create, and, unlike many elements of this universe, the artwork is truly unique.

Roman Dirge

Roman Dirge, born 1972, is an artist, illustrator, author, and animator. He is also close friends with Jhonen Vasquez (another favorite artist of mine) and worked with him on the animated series Invader ZIM. Roman Dirge has been one of my favorite artists for years now, and my favorite creation is Lenore, the cute little dead girl. I have the complete collection of the Lenore comics, and some other memorabilia with Dirge’s artwork on it. Dirge’s twisted sense of humor makes me laugh and his bizarre characters are great. The works I have feature are all from his Lenore series. Dirge’s exaggeration of the face and eyes make his characters so expressive. His bold line style makes even his black and white works have depth. When he does work in color, is palette is often limited with muted colors, but I think that adds to the overall aesthetic of the illustration. Its Dirges unique style and sense of humor that really makes me look up to him. His quirky oddball characters, like Lenore, are loveable and unforgettable.

Zso (Sarah Blake)

"Thom Yorke"

Zso is an Art Director, Illustrator, and Designer from New York. She graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She typically starts with a pencil drawing and then scans the image into photoshop, where she does highlighting and some coloring, then goes back to the physical image for painting/pen work. This back-and-forth style allows her work to have a lot of layers and depth. She also uses found textures she collects with her digital camera, from the streets of New York, such as: concrete, bricks, glass, and graffiti, which adds a realistic-photo dimension to her illustrations. When working digitally, she also takes time-lapsed screenshots during her process, and stores them so she can study them later if she feels that a work is incomplete/wrong.

A short video of her working digitally can be found at, on her Vimeo channel, where she shares more tips/work/etc.

Tom Richmon Week:4

Tom Richmond is an American illustrator working today. Most of you may know him from his work with MAD Magazine. He started working there in 2000, and is a major contributor today. He does a lot of parody illustrations off of TV shows and movies. I like the way he works a lot because he specialized in caricature and he can really find a way to make fun of something. You can even like the show or movie, and still laugh at it. He use traditional media to layout his artwork, and then colors it in on Photoshop. He also uses watercolor and airbrush with his caricature work. I really admire comedy artist like Tom, because its what I try to do with most of my own work. This image is from the movie School of Rock. The movie was ok (not my favorite Jack Black movie) but I think the artwork represents his work pretty well. When he works he leaves the speech bubbles blank and the editors and writers fill them in. He’s an awesome comedy illustrator.

Week 4 post - "Gender"

This is an illustration by Darion McCoy titled “Gender.” I guess what I like about this is the color scheme and that the subject is not immediately apparent. We see a young boy (but possibly a girl?) walking through the hallway at school, staring at his shadow cast on the lockers. But then you notice that his shadow has breasts and has more curves, and her arms are swinging from her sides rather than holding books. This is a very psychological illustration and I think that’s what drew me to it.
This artist’s style is very interesting to me. He frequently abstracts the human form, and fills the background with shapes you would not expect to find in that setting. The color scheme is very unnatural, it is mostly complimentary colors, but most notably, the boy’s shadow is lighter than its surroundings. The line quality varies between the crisp smooth outlines of the figure, and the wobbly, uneven lines of the background.

Metropolis Coffee Company- poster

couldn't fine the creator for this poster, saw this in the lunch room in the Wabash floor. I took one look at this and was amazed by its simplicity that produced this aesthetic feel that really drew me in. The poster was designed for the coffee company metropolis, which has designs that creates these Nouveau kind of art. I love how it captures the essence of the city personality into the logo and have this 50's look to it. overall this style of art is what i really want to achieve for my future job.

Wallace Tripp

I don’t remember exactly when I first came across Wallace Tripp, but I do know it must have been a young age—my dad had somehow come into possession of his book, “Wurst Seller”, and I’ve always admired Tripp’s illustrations and wit displayed in this book, even if some of it was probably not appropriate for a little girl.

Wallace Tripp has purportedly illustrated over 40 books, one of these being parts of the “Amelia Bedelia” series, which I also loved as a child.  I was surprised to discover this fact, as the only thing I had previously associated him with was “Wurst Seller”.

“Wurst Seller” is a compilation of silly and dramatic illustrations, though the most of them run the silly course.  Most of the illustrations are simple, but still retain the sketchy, casual feeling that Tripp emulates through his illustrations.  However, some drawings have small areas that are extremely detailed which show off Tripp’s talent.

Robot & Doughnuts

Eric Joyner is a contemporary artist that attempts to use styles and techniques to mimic art from the 1920’s and 30’s. He makes his work seem older then it is by using the techniques that were heavily used during that time period. As artists started to experiment with their tools of choice painters started taking advantage of paints natural viscosity and how the brush stroke can be seen long after the painting is complete. Joyner has a lot of weight to his brush strokes and is not concerned about making his work as real to life as possible. However, he does work mainly in Robots and Doughnuts so realism is not hard to achieve. It is quite easy to see the gesture of the brush in every painting he does.

Joyner often illustrates freelance and occasionally for periodicals and companies. However, he tends to only publicize his personal art. He severely separates himself into two different artists, one that illustrates to earn money and another that illustrates for the joy of it. Choosing to only show his Robots and Doughnuts series to an increasing fan base. Seemingly he joyfully creates these lighthearted pieces to profit off of and realize the back of the brain dream most artists have, to get famous off of art they enjoy to make. He seems to be at this point selling prints of his work for about 500 dollars.

As his material has become more popular he seems to create more of the same. The soft, mildly chaotic and lighthearted illustrations are very all purpose. They seem to be able to go just about anywhere in a house and perhaps that is why he is making such a killing doing what he is doing. It may also explain why he is doing more of the same even after all of this time.

Week 4: Drew Struzan

For this week, I decided to go with a piece from an illustrator who is more well-known. It is likely that even if you do not know Drew Struzan's name you have seen his work, as he is the man behind some pretty iconic illustrated movie posters (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter being prime examples). However, I have never seen this piece, done for Pan's Labyrinth, outside of his gallery website, even though, according to the caption on the site, it was done for promotional purposes.

Stylistically, the piece seems to draw heavily on the organic motifs and more decorative backgrounds of Art Nouveau. In addition, the muted colors have a definite resemblance to Arthur Rackham's work, something that I think was intentional given who the illustration was for. In terms of style, it is definitely successful.

In terms of the content, I feel that this piece captures a main theme of the movie really well. I recall someone once saying that though the tasks that the faun gives to Ofelia are terrifying, they are less horrible than the other circumstances in her life. This illustration shows this perspective perfectly, as a distraught Ofelia seems to find comfort in the faun's magical world. What I find particularly interesting about this piece, and this may just be reading too much into it, is the faun's direct gaze at the viewer. There is something accusing in his expression, as if he holds the viewer responsible for Ofelia's grief.. if this was the artist's intent, it is intense and I love it. For this reason, this is my favorite Struzan piece, even if it didn't really see much use in promotional material.

For anyone interested in a trip down memory lane, see more of Drew Struzan's work at his site.

Matthew Laskowski

I just came across this piece on a whim, but it caught my eyes straight away. The scene is obviously inspired by the anime style and succeeds in capturing quite a mundane slice of life. Probably one most of us have witnessed and been a part of while commuting around the city. The detail and presence of the line art and the sort of simpleness of the colors give the scene a rather crisp look to everything. The use of the light, the frame of the door, and an uncommon hair color all help pull the focus on the girl stepping out. It’s just a simple, nice, but well done picture to look at overall.

Robert Crumb

Robert Crumb is an illustrator who is also a musician. He does a lot of comic book art and satire art. He was inducted in the Will Eisner's Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1991. Crumb was the founder of the Underground Comix and in 1970, one of his most famous comic books was called, " Keepin' on Truckin" along with helping with the illustrations for the comic book called "American Splendor" for Harvey Pekar.

His work is very sketchy, his style is messy and depressing. He draws pop culture and he also illustrates real life. He knows how to capture the essence of life in his work. His art is very interesting to look at because he has a very distinctive style. Some of his art is in just pen and ink but sometimes he adds color. The color he uses is bold and flat. He uses a lot of hatch marks to shade in his subjects which contributes to his messy and crazy style.