Archive for the ‘pen/brush and ink’ Category

Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Nimit Malavia

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DC/Vertigo’s long running title Fables has been a showcase for some of the top illustrators working in comics, today. One of the shining stars to contribute covers to the series(as well as a recent interior story) is artist Nimit Malavia. His dynamic yet delicate illustrations portray a strong sense of mood/color existing in a deep field of depth. While looking at them, you literally feel like you could fall into the page(or screen, if you prefer digital)!

Nimit’s work graces the walls of Shopify’s offices(as pictured above), and he’s done commercial work for high profile clients like 20th Century Fox, DC, and Marvel Comics, just to name a few.

Iam8bit in Los Angeles, CA is currently featuring Nimit’s art, along with 39 other artists, for a show called Sequel, where artists create movie poster art for imaginary sequels(Cowboy Bebop:The Movie was Nimit’s contribution).

You can explore more of Nimit Malavia’s art, and keep up with the latest news on his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 11/21/14 under artists,comic,illustrationfriday,pen/brush and ink,weekly topics
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Illustrator & Designer Jon Contino

I discovered Jon Contino by following the work of Jessica Hische and Drew Melton (the typography world is very small). The first two things that resonated with me was the fact that he, like me, didn’t go to art school, and that he also used his musicianship as a passageway to his passion for design. As much as I’ve grown to love digital illustration and type design, I’m always the most drawn to analog aesthetics–and Jon prioritizes them in his work.

Jon Contino is an award-winning designer, illustrator, art director and self-professed alphastructaesthetitologist. His style is strongly inspired by contemporary street art, his native stomping grounds of New York, and the grit of hand-drawn type. He’s worked with clients like Ogilvy, Nike, Whole Foods, McSweeney’s, Target and The New York Times. He’s also an ADC Young Gun 9 winner to boot, and happens to possess a heartwarming Long Island-born accent.

Jon cites his family as being vital in governing his design and illustration aesthetic. His mother and grandmother happened to be artists, both supporting and assisting in his pursuit of his craft by bringing home reams of butcher paper and instructional drawing books (more about this in the wonderful Shoptalk interview here). He discovered that the lettering he was seeing in movie posters and baseball adverts still counted as typography–even at a very early age. It took me much longer to figure out that illustration and beautifully drawn words weren’t just for books–the marks of our handiwork can truly be found anywhere, if you just slow down and take the time to look.

As a teenager, Jon got his freelancer chops very early on. As a designer geek and drummer in a hardcore band, he was constantly relied upon by his band (and friends’ bands) to supply flyer designs, gig posters and the like. Soon enough, he realized that he could actually “make money at this thing,” and he was preparing invoices and freelancing by the ripe old age of 15.

In 2006, after working for a few different companies and design houses, he opened his own creative studio and has been working for himself ever since. He’s constantly turning pet projects into mini-businesses–most recently, he started up Contino Brand. And even amidst his successes, he’s learned the art of saying no for the sake of self-preservation.

Jon has spoken about how his preference for modern minimalism and his hand-drawn gritty aesthetic meets with a clash. That clash has governed a unique vision that brings the best of clean design and true-to-form drawing together. I’m enthralled by this intersection, and so clearly see the passion and determination that stands solidly behind Jon’s work. His personal history only continues to illuminate it.

Website

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Blog

Twitter

I also highly recommend his interview with The Great Discontent and his podcast interview with Shoptalk.

Posted by Rachel Frankel on 11/17/14 under artists,design,digital,pen/brush and ink,typography
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Cameron Stewart

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Change can take a long time to happen. The mainstream comics market is no exception, but there have been some recent encouraging signs. Case in point, the newly redesigned, Doc Marten/iPhone sporting Batgirl by forward thinking creator Cameron Stewart, who co-writes, and sketches story breakdowns for the series. Stewart, a Canadian native, has been drawing comics for over a decade, and has worked with some of the most celebrated comics writers out there, including Grant Morrison, Ed Brubaker, and Jason Aaron.

In addition to the monthly Batgirl, he’s currently working on a comics sequel to Fight Club with writer Chuck Palahniuk, which he’s described as a dream project to be a part of.

Cameron Stewart won both an Eisner(2010) & Shuster(2009) award for his web comic Sin Titulo. You can find a lot more artwork to drool over at his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 11/14/14 under artists,comic,illustrationfriday,pen/brush and ink,weekly topics
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: John Totleben

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John Totleben happens to be one of the finest illustrators to ever work in comics. His first published work was in the popular science fiction/fantasy magazine Heavy Metal in the late 70’s. He first became well known for his collaboration with artist Stephen R. Bissette, and writer Alan Moore on their ground breaking run on Swamp Thing for DC Comics in the early/mid 80’s. Their run also included the introduction of popular character John Constantine AKA Hellblazer. Totleben continued to impress with his distinct, ultra-detailed inks, and lush painted covers with his work on Eclipse Comics’ Miracleman. After many years in legal limbo, Marvel Comics secured the rights to re-publish issues of Miracleman, which is once again shining a light on Totleben’s timeless art.

Sadly, John Totleben has suffered from the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa for years now, so he’s had to slow down his output as an artist. Yet, he’s still capable of rendering some of the most beautiful scenes you can imagine albeit at a much slower rate.

John Totleben has won numerous Kirby & Inkpot awards throughout his career, and was the co-founder/editor of the famed Taboo horror anthology.

You can learn more about John Totleben’s life & career here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 11/07/14 under artists,comic,illustrationfriday,pen/brush and ink,weekly topics
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Basil Wolverton

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The enigmatic comics legend Basil Wolverton(1909-1978) is celebrated this week with the release of IDW’s Artist’s Edition Basil Wolverton’s Weird Worlds. IDW’s series of art books collects the best examples of original comics art that still exists, and reproduces that art at it’s original size(15″ by 22″ for this edition), preserving the little imperfections, and notes that might have been left on the original page. These newly printed artifacts are a perfect way to enjoy work by one of your favorite artists, and it serves as a perfect introduction to new fans.

Wolverton reached the pinnacle of his fame when he won Al Capp‘s legendary ugliest woman contest, drawing Lena the Hyena, which was featured on the cover of Life Magazine. His work was prominently featured in the early issues of Mad Magazine, and his Spacehawk & Powerhouse Pepper strips were published in various Timely comics during the 1930’s & 40’s. In the 1940’s, Basil Wolverton became a minister for Herbert W. Armstrong’s Radio Church of God, which took a literal interpretation of the apocalyptic parts of  the Bible. Some of this point of view is reflected in Wolverton’s work, and that dark side certainly trickled into many of his commercial pieces, as well.

You can read more about the history of artist Basil Wolverton, and his interest in the end times here, which includes words from his son, Monte.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 10/31/14 under artists,illustrationfriday,pen/brush and ink,weekly topics
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Illustrator Lize Meddings

Back in 2009 when I first decided that illustration was definitely the route for me, I was finally beginning to stumble on a lot of other illustrators that really governed my taste and aesthetic going forward. Interestingly, a lot of them happened to reside across the pond in Great Britain. Julia Pott, Lizzy Stewart and Gemma Correll are a few that come directly to mind when thinking of the geography, and are some of my favorite working artists to this date. Lize Meddings also happens to hail from the UK. I stumbled upon her work via Tumblr of all places, and am quite happy I did!

Lize Meddings is a Bristol-based fine artist and illustrator with a penchant for the color pink, animals, nature and all kinds of positive self-expression. She works in both analog and digital formats, showcasing wonderful brushwork and gestural figures. Since finishing up the Illustration program at Plymouth College of Art & Design, she’s become a self-publishing fiend–constantly working on the next comic, zine, print, bag or fine art commission. The idea of a creative block seems far and away from this one’s mind.

Lize is quite interested in the act of characterization, if that wasn’t obvious before. Her medium of comfort is a brush and some ink, but she also demonstrates a natural comfort around the use of color. I particularly love the way she draws eyes–very fairylike for some reason.

Something I’ve noticed about several British illustrators is the tendency towards a more “naive” aesthetic. While that might sound negative, it’s completely the opposite. There’s a unique youthfulness in Lize’s work that allows it to appeal to a wider, younger audience, all while the messages remain witty and cheeky. It takes a special person to turn reality into something appealing, and she does just that by focusing on the relatable, more beautiful aspects of life.

Follow along with Lize’s illustrative adventures:

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Posted by Rachel Frankel on 10/31/14 under artists,comic,design,digital,painterly,pen/brush and ink
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Noah Van Sciver

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Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver has been crafting his own special brand of throwback indy comix since the mid-2000’s. His one man anthology, Blammo, is up to issue #9, and it would fit quite comfortably between classic Eightball’s & Yummyfur’s on the funny book racks! It was with Fantagraphics’ critically acclaimed anthology series, Mome, that Noah started to reach a wider audience, and soon after that his first graphic novel would be published; The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln. Van Sciver was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Denver, CO for most of his adult life, where his oft times publisher Kilgore Books & Comics is located.

AdHouse Books recently published a collection of his comics titled Youth is Wasted, and Fantagraphics has 2 more upcoming projects with Noah in 2015: Saint Cole & Fante Bukowski.

Noah has been nominated multiple times for an Ignatz Award(which is sort of like an Oscar for Small Press comics…), and has had his work featured in the prestigious Best American Comics annual.

You can check out more of Noah Van Sciver’s comics like his day-to-day “Diary Comics”, and other serialized stories on his tumblr site here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 10/24/14 under artists,cartoon,comic,illustrationfriday,Interviews,pen/brush and ink,questions,weekly topics
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Bill Sienkiewicz

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I had to post a lot of images for this week’s Comics Illustrator of the Week, because Bill Sienkiewicz has so many amazing pieces of art to share. I only just scraped the surface of his body of work! One of the first comic books I ever read was Dune, the Marvel comics adaptation of the David Lynch film. I didn’t really read it, so much as I absorbed the dynamic art by Sienkiewicz within those pages. It was the first time I’d really seen an example of comic book art crossing over into the “respectable” fine arts realm.

Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced sin-KEV-itch) is best known for his magnum opus, Stray Toasters, and his work on Elektra: Assassin for Marvel. He incorporates a combination of oil painting, acrylics, watercolor, mixed-media, collage and mimeograph into his art, which is very rare in comics. Sienkiewicz has done a lot of work for Hollywood, including The Dark Knight, The Grinch, and The Green Mile just to name a few.

He recently worked on the critically acclaimed Daredevil:End of Days series with friends, and fellow comics legends, Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Alex Maleev, and Klaus Janson. His variant cover for Wytches #1, the highly anticipated new Image series, is truly disturbing, and shows a master artist at the peak of his craft.

Other works of note are Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, Santa: My Life & Times (An Illustrated Autobiography), and a stint designing multimedia stage productions for Roger Waters’ 2006 Dark Side of the Moon Tour.

Bill Sienkiewicz has recieved numerous awards, and nominations, but one of the biggest honors was a  2004 Eisner Award for DC Comics’ The Sandman: Endless Nights.

You can read more about Bill Sienkiewicz’s illustrious career, and see more examples of his art on his official website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 10/09/14 under artists,comic,illustrationfriday,pen/brush and ink,weekly topics
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Illustrator & Writer Lisa Congdon

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This Art Crush entry has truly been a long time coming. I first came across Lisa Congdon by way of Meighan O’Toole’s former art blog and podcast, My Love For You (which is post-worthy in its own right–it was an enormous source of inspiration for me during my college years). While I definitely gravitated to Lisa’s work on a visual level, it was her personal story that drew me in. Freelance illustration had been her second career. She didn’t start painting or making art until she was 31, and here she was, participating in museum-level shows, working with clients like Chronicle Books, and just being a genuine, successful badass. Lisa is not only someone I look up to artistically–she’s also a prime example of a human being.

Lisa’s art career was secondary, after she accumulated over a decade of experience in the education and nonprofit industries. By pure chance, she stumbled into a painting class and began making art of all kinds from that day forward–fueled by pure joy instead of the desire to succeed quickly. Having always been an avid collector, her random ephemera would find their way into countless collages as well as a series of photos, drawings and paintings that would eventually make up her A Collection A Day project. As she continued to develop her craft and share it with the ever-expanding Internet, people began to catch on. Today, she is an accomplished and prolific working artist, blogger, illustrator, public speaker and writer. Some of her most notable clients to date include The Land of Nod, The Museum of Modern Art, Harper Collins, 826 Valencia and Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Lisa unabashedly tackles the subjects she is most passionate about, and that fearlessness is expressed effortlessly in the execution of her work. She describes herself as a “visual junkie,” and is deeply inspired by patterns, travel, architecture and vintage packaging, just to name a few. A faithful blogger, Lisa writes about her own process in addition to other artists whom she admires, as well as her life “outside the studio,” which includes swimming, biking, sewing, and traveling. In other words, she’s just making all of us look bad! (I only kid.)

One of the reasons I relate to Lisa’s work is due to the versatility and ever-evolving nature of her aesthetic. Certain characteristics like neon hues and her penchant for all things Scandinavian are mainstays, but she continues to branch out and explore all kinds of mediums (block printing and calligraphy, to name a few). These explorations fuel her work and expand her direction, which is most recently geared towards abstract painting. She’s a wonderful example of why you don’t need to narrow yourself down to one specific style (something I often grapple with).

Lisa is quite a unique artist in that she is not only a creator, but a mentor as well. Breaking into freelance illustration can be a challenging and solitary undertaking, and she continues to give her generous time to those who wish to pursue and learn more about the field through classes, speaking engagements and conferences around the country. I first met Lisa at her first Freelance Illustration class at Makeshift Society back in December 2012, and it was one of my most pivotal learning experiences to date.

Lisa recently released her new book, “Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist,” which is a revolutionary and timely answer to the starving artist stereotype. It covers all areas of the freelance artist’s domain, such as photographing fine art, finding printing services, copyright, and diversifying income. It sits on the shelf above my working desk (I like to call it my “VIP” shelf) as I reference it constantly.

On that same note, I’m very excited to be taking Lisa’s “Become A Working Artist” class through CreativeLive next week! You can follow along with the class virtually by RSVPing here.

To listen to Meighan’s podcast with Lisa, click here. I also highly recommend her feature in The Great Discontent.

Follow along with Lisa below:

Website

Twitter

Blog

Instagram

Purchase Lisa’s books below:

Art, Inc.

Whatever You Are, Be A Good One

A Collection A Day

Posted by Rachel Frankel on 09/28/14 under abstract,apparel / products,artists,children's art,children's illustrators,creativity,design,digital,freelance,Lettering,master of the month,pattern,pen/brush and ink,typography
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Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Julia Gfrörer

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Julia Gfrörer studied illustration at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts before graduating with a double major in printmaking and painting. She was encouraged to get into making comics by her good friend, the late comics historian, publisher & cartoonist ,Dylan Williams. She started off making a few hand made zines like Ariadne auf Naxos, and Stupid Tales of Wolverine, but then found great critical success with her comic Flesh and Bone, published by Sparkplug Books. Tonally, her work is deeply rooted in Victorian gothic horror, and classic Medieval romances. I see a lot of David Lynch rubbing off in her stories, and a little Larry Clark in her raw approach to sex.

Her graphic novel, Black is the Color, was published by Fantagraphics in 2013. Her work has also appeared in The Thickness comics anthology, Arthur Magazine, Study Group Magazine, Black Eye, and The Best American Comics collection.

Julia Gfrörer also writes a regular comics analysis column for the Comics Journal called Symbol Reader. You can follow that here.

You can order Julia Gfrörer’s latest zine, Palm Ash, and get the latest news on her website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

Posted by Andy Yates on 09/24/14 under artists,comic,illustrationfriday,Interviews,pen/brush and ink,questions,weekly topics
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