Friday, February 26, 2010

Discussion: Favorite or Most Influential Artist (On You as an Illustrator)

I am curious who are some the biggest inspirations to people who read this blog.

While it is hard to narrow it down to one, I will start off and say Francisco Goya is one of my favorite artists of all time.

Why? I love that he was basically a working illustrator who secretly did a ton of subversive, personal art about the hypocracy he saw around him (but kept it secret so not to upset the King and nobels who paid for his work). He had a varied and interesting range. From doing painted sketches and designs for tapestries to the "Disasters of War" series-what a facinating career!

Who are your favorites and biggest influences?


  1. OMG my favorite painter is Gustav Klimt- I love his subject matter and how he handles portraiture, his use of color... and how his paintings are both realistic and abstract- and plus he uses gold, hes a pimp. I also love Ralph Steadman because he's insane and his work has so much energy and violence.

    Right now I would say my work is actually more influenced by Disney and Norman Rockwell, which I still love rockwell, but I'm trying to let my other favorites influence me more to drown out the disney some >_< I still love Disney's concept artists and everyone is talented of course, but I have outgrown the rest of it completely.

  2. I love Klimt too! Saw a lot of his originals in Vienna a couple years ago...

    Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Hildebrandt Brothers, Frazetta, Froud, and many comic book artists.

  3. I've been absolutely dissecting Charles Schulz and Peanuts, and the humor of language and emotional pain.

    And Charlie Chaplin's silent Mutual films are constantly on my DVD, being studied for their timing, gags, movement and suffering.

    Schulz for the words, Chaplin for the silences.

  4. Art has had a constant influence on me. I don't see myself as an illustratour so much as a Neo-Romanticist (an illustratour :P). Michael Whelan is the reason I decided to be a cover illustratour. His work is so substantial, still and full of symbolism, I love it. Sargent and Rembrandt are my two favourate painters of a significantly older stock. Mostly because they were not so much constrained to the times they were in but defined them. Impressionism was moving away from Classicism and breaking new ground with colour, while Sargent took both worlds and blended them together into a seamless tradition of objective study and vibrant, seemingly effortless application. Rembrandt, same thing, two worlds brought together into a seamless unit. They moved things forward.

    -N.C. Wyeth - Awesome design, I love his armour and paint application.
    -Pyle - The Sargent tradition, beautiful work, steadfast and studious craftsman, dedicated to his students and to himself.
    -Larry Elmore - I love his designs, he defined fantasy for me when I first broke into it.
    -Michael Whelan - 'nuff said. A bit stiff at times, but he is a master of his medium, excellent craftsman, again studious and dedicated.
    -Parrish - Whimsy, for his whimsy. His paintings speak to my heart like no one else.
    -Alan Lee- His atmosphere and design, costumes are wonderful. Again, master craftsman in complete control of his pencil, yet whimsy rules the day for him in the end.
    -John Howe - Prolific, a master of the free-form approach to composing imagery. His designs are phenomenal. The free-form approach lends itself to problems with anatomy and slight compositional errors, but he works as the Romantics do, capturing feeling, the sublime.
    -Most of all, the Hildebrandt Brothers - They defined how I wanted my fantasy to look. Innocent, fresh, yet real, so real. Their image on the cover of the "Sword of Shannara" helped define modern fantasy for me. Their colour usage in their early work blew me away. I still seek to capture that theatrical layout of the frame of reference. Their use of light and shadow defined my own ambitions when dealing with values and placement within the FoR.
    -Darrell K. Sweet - This man, I cannot say enough about. Some don't like his colour, but I love it. It's bold, fairly obvious in its intent, but his designs and colour palettes are very well done. Some anatomy issues, but these never bother me. I almost feel like it is a part of his charm. I love his costume design, much in the realm of Wyeth and the Hildebrandt Brothers.
    -Arthur Rackham, Blake, Morris, Hannes Bok, Frank Frazetta, Gervasio Gallardo (one of my alltime favourites), Erte, Delacroix, Dore', Stephen Fabian, H.J. Ford, Waterhouse (another favourate), Mucha, Michael Foreman, Larry MacDougall, Charles Vess. There are so many to name, not to mention all the Faerie Tale artists. Pogany is a huge influence, along with Kay Nielsen, Dulac, Goble and Ivan Bilibin.

    I think these people were all so influential because they were craftsman, this was who they are, to the very fiber of their beings. It wasn't outrageously violent (well, Frazetta :P but that's a bit different, the man has the heart of a child, a golden soul) but just sound, good, whole imagery, that questions without grating violently against your nerves (not always, anyway), but seeps earnestly in to move on deeper levels. They capture the sublime, the whimsy and mystery that seems so lost in today's society. These were men that (in my mind) kept fantasy full of heart and deep unobtrusive power. The power of a childe's heart.

  5. Loved Darrell Sweet (I was a huge fan of the Xanth series). Whelan is also classic. I still love his McCaffery covers the best...

  6. I really enjoy the "Incarnations of Immortality" series. I think that's Xanth? Whelan did some covers for Anthony, too. That White Dragon painting for McCaffrey is one of my favourites. I wonder if Mr. Sweet does studio visits? That would be cool. He's a big Western Painter, too.

  7. Sweet did the Xanth covers. Incarnations of Immortality is by far my favorite of Piers Anthony's work. Whelan did those covers :)

  8. Yeah, they are great. There's one I'm reading now that features an old Whelan cover, "Centaur Isle." It's pretty good. I'm usually not one for satire or humourist fantasy, but these are clever and witty rather than outright silly. Of course, Pratchett is good, too, but I haven't read much of his work. I like the ambiance of his books, but "The Wee Free Men" was the only one I read and it was awesome. I saw the cover and I knew I had to read it. Tiny blue Scotsmen? Who wouldn't want to read that? :P

  9. Good one, Woody!
    I'm glad you brought up Bob Ross —an unlikely candidate, but well-worth looking at.

    I don't care to stare for hours-on-end at any Ross painting, but I'll join his hordes of fans in admiration at his ability to gather up a bag of tricks and produce something on canvas in half an hour. He was oddly spellbinding to watch, and a good reminder to the rest of us that sometimes the process is more important than the result.

    Those of you who have seen "The Mystery of Picasso" might remember what an unusual treat it was to see a true master make drawings come alive on a plate of glass before an audience's eyes. Winsor McCay (no relation to Craig) is renowned as a comic strip artist and pioneer animator, but in his day people would queue up to watch him perform live. He had a vaudeville act demonstrating his lightning-quick ability to get a human figure down starting at one point and ending at another. And I absolutely admire the work of caricature artists that can produce a likeness on the spot. I'll always stop and enjoy watching them work, even if I don't have the guts to sit in the poser's chair. Stefan Bucher is keeping the torch lit by performing "Daily Monster" online, and it's always fascinating to watch the goofy creations sprout before my eyes.

    I'm kind of off-topic here, because none of the artists I've mentioned are major influences on my work, but they all influence my thinking concerning art and its many many uses.
    So, to all the visual performers great and small:

  10. Bob Ross goes without saying! The Windsor McCay think is interesting. I did not know he attracted literal audiences.

  11. It was actually a big thing, Christina. One of his best-known films, Gertie The Dinosaur, was created to be used as a stage act, where McCay (no relation to Craig) would talk to and "interact" with the character on the screen. When John Canemaker gave his talk at CCAD a few months ago, he screened the film and did his best to recreate the effect.

  12. Gertie! Of course! I totaly forgot about that...