There’s a peculiar syndrome among artists that parallels the discussions of many a record store clerk. “Oh you like, ‘The Bloody Muggily Wumps’? Well you know they got their sound from this Swedish garage band from the seventies, and if you like them, you might like ‘Muppet Rash,’ they’re out of Athens.”
Amongst artists “have you heard” becomes “have you seen.” Depending on whose chin is wagging, you might come away with the names of a couple of Argentinian comic artists, a slew of nineteenth century naturalist painters, or someone’s favorite Japanese printmaker.
In no particular order, other than alphabetical, we present to you this feature about artists who help power our pencils.
Edwin Austin Abbey
An American painter from the late 1800s who was particularly famous for his scenes from Shakespeare. Greatly inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and friends with Sargent. (All the cool kids knew each other.) If Van Dyke gets a Brown named after him, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be an Abbey Red.
Jason Shawn Alexander
Contemporary figurative painter who studied with Kent Williams. His work has an unfinished, impetuous quality that’s both controlled and chaotic. This guy probably doesn’t own an eraser.
John White Alexander
A master of tonal arrangement and bold swirling masses of cloth. You’ve got to love the loaded dynamism in his compositions.
Several years back there was a renaissance of silk screen rock posters. Aesthetic Apparatus, a little shop in Minneapolis, may have been the cause of that awakening. Who knew you can make something look so good with only 3 colours? If you want to be a good illustrator, looking at good design won’t hurt you.
Manu is a production designer for animation who works mostly in Europe. He’s working on what looks like an incredible graphic novel called Yaxin and the Faun. It’s penciled pages are built using whimsical watercolor washes over bold distinct shapes.
One of the most prominent and influential realist painters working today. His exactitude and fearless use of color is mindblowing. He’s like the neon Rembrandt.
Image header for this week uses Blado Italic, based on a circa 1526 font designed by Italian calligrapher Ludovico degli Arrighi, and Catacumba, released in 2009 by Portuguese type designer Rui Abreu.
This article was originally posted July 16, 2010 on Tor.com.
You can check out the entire A is for Artist series here.
We are Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. We live in a pocket-sized apartment in Brooklyn where we collect neat, weird things. Our home is abundant with books, old furniture, mismatching tea cups, and a cat named Cipher. We both illustrate stuff for money so we can continue to invent stories, buy shoelaces, watch puppet shows, and eat sandwiches.