Gez Fry

Gez Fry
Gez Fry is a half British, half Japanese illustrator who has lived in France and England and is currently based in Tokyo.

I think his multi-cultural background shows up nicely in his work, which is an interesting synthesis of influences from illustration, comics and animation from several continents.

Much of his work shows the influence of anime, and anime related concept design (hard to avoid when you’re living in Tokyo). This shows particularly his handling of color. You’ll notice, for example, the use of the “halo” effect, common to anime, where the suggestion of strong light from behind an object is given by softening the edge with a haze of lighter tone or even white, almost bleaching out objects in places. You will also see mecha-like influences in his designs for robots and mechanical devices.

Many of these images, however, have a feeling of three-dimensional solidity and realism that is more European in character, and he has a realist approach to the rendering of clothing and the modeling of faces that is uncharacteristic of anime and associated illustration styles, and gives his style a unique quality.

Some of his drawings, which are particularly appealing in their use of line, are reminiscent of European and American illustrators/comics artists like Jean Giraud or Geoff Darrow. Gez is, in fact, working on a graphic story called Roses & Skulls.

Some of his clients as an illustrator include Adidas, ILM, Nike, Evisu, Adobe, Nintendo, Harper Collins, McGraw-Hill, Marvel and Wizards of the Coast.

I’ve found a few interviews on the web, though very little in the way of additional artwork. The article on the CG Society is notable for having large images of his preliminary sketches, including a sketch for the image above, Winter.

Inerestingly, Gez’s mother is also an artist with a unique style; you can see her web site at

Unfortunately, I found the gallery of work on Gez’s site frustrating on three levels: it uses one of those tedious pop-up-and-close display paradigms, in addition to which you have to horizontally scroll the thumbnails in a tiny frame; and, most frustrating of all, it’s much too short. I would like to see a lot more of Gez’s terrific work.

[Link via Netdiver]


Sai Ping Lok

Sai Ping Lok
Sai Ping Lok tells us little on his painting blog simonlokart. I was initially confused, in fact, about what his name was. His paintings speak eloquently, however, about the southern California coast and countryside.

With a little digging, I was able to determine that Sai Ping Lok is a background artist, visual development artist and concept artist, with clients like Walt Disney Feature Animation, DisneyToon Studios and Sony TV Studio; and credits that include Mulan, Kingdom of the Sun, Atlanta, Brother Bear and Lilo and Stitch. You can see a small portfolio of his film work on the Creative Talent Network along with a brief resume. His work in included in Jeff Kurtti’s The Art Of Mulan.

He has also received awards and notice in exhibitions for his plein air paintings. His blog showcaces his landscape oils, though pretty much without comment other than their location. He doesn’t even indicate if any of the works are for sale, of if there is gallery representation somewhere.

There are also not very many works posted, but the ones that are there are alive with the brilliant hues of the California landscape, fresh with confident brushstrokes and rich with atmospheric depth and the play of sunlight and shadow.

I was particularly struck by the rich colors in the sage and brush in some of his desert scenes, even in deep shadow where the muted purples and yellows take on a subtle glow. His views of the rocky coastline are atmospheric and full of wonderful textures, as are his mountains and hillsides.

I hope he finds the time, amid his work schedule and painting excursions, to post more.


Jim Murray

Jim Murray
I usually don’t write about artists whose online work is watermarked, as it often makes the display of the work pointless, but if the watermarking doesn’t deface the art too dramatically, and the artist is interesting enough, I’ll make exceptions.

I’ve seen a lot of imaginative and well-painted illustration over time for the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering from Wizards of the Coast, but Jim Murray’s pieces for the series stand out for their overt sense of playfulness and fun.

In addition to his more direct pieces, in which his paint handling and drawing skill are evident, are lots of images of gnarly, grotesque monsters, weirdling characters, bizarre environments and a parade of off-the-wall elves, wizards, warriors and animals painted with a sense of humor, outrageously over-the-top color, hugely fun, cartoon-like exaggerations of form, and a fevered imagination.

Murray obviously has a sharp ability to draw and paint realistically when inclined, but he prefers to let himself go wild, pulling his human and animal forms into taffy-like stretches, exaggerating motion, and rendering fanged and clawed beasties with a verve that makes them seem ready to jump out at you.

Murray generally works in acrylic on illustration board or watercolor paper. His online galleries include the aforementioned illustrations for Magic; covers for U.K comics like Judge Dredd and American Comics like Batman, where his exaggerated characters and colors at times put me in mind of Simon Bisley’s over-the-top comics work; art for gaming companies and a sampling of an independent comics project, co-created with Robbie Morrison.

There are also 1024×768 wallpapers of some of his pieces, links and a brief bio.

Murray lives and works in Montreal, where he apparently has lots of fun working on his projects.

[Link via The Art Department]


Sanguine Drawing

Sanguine drawing - KM Scott Moore
Most artists who have done much life drawing are familiar with sanguine, usually as a color of conté crayon or colored pencil. Not that many, however, have drawn with real sanquine.

Sanguine (Hematite) is a red-brown iron-oxide chalk, usually mined in Italy. It’s color, particularly when used on cream paper with touches of white, makes it wonderfully suited for figure drawing, and it was a staple tool of the old masters.

Sanguine was used widely before the development of conté or modern drawing crayons, which are made from ground pigments mixed with oil emulsion binders; and it allows for a degree of subtlety and control beyond what those convenience chalks offer, provided you’re prepared to deal with it as a “raw” drawing material.

KM Scott Moore has posted a wonderful short tutorial on titled Renaissance Style Drawing (Sanguine) — A Tutorial (images above), that goes through the basics of sanguine, from purchase to use, with a series of clear photographs. He shows starting a drawing with rough chunks of the material simply hand held; then, looking almost like tiny flint arrowheads, the chipped pieces of sanguine are set into a holder commonly used for uncased chalks and conté and used for detail work and hatching.

I was aware that sanguine, like the more processed chalks, can be smeared and stomped to create smooth tones; what I didn’t know until reading Moore’s article is that the sanguine dust, because it doesn’t have the oily binders found in the processed crayons, can be mixed with water to form a kind of “ink”, and washed on with a brush or even a pen.

Moore purchased his sanguine from Kremer Pigments in NY, now part of Sinopia. Here is their catalog listing for sanguine “lumps”.

The Cennini Catalog from Studio Products offers “reconstituted” sanguine, a powdered form mixed with Gum Tragacanth (a non-oily binder) to make extruded chalks that handle much like the original, but are less expensive.

Rob Howard, founder of Studio Products, has posted this beautiful sanguine drawing, a copy of a drawing by Hyacinthe Rigaud (more info here).

For many other sanguine drawings, see most old master drawings described as “red chalk” prior to the 1600’s.

The word “sanguine” comes from old French and Latin words meaning bloody or blood colored. The association of reddish faces with a courageous or hopeful disposition in European cultures, as well as it’s part in medieval explanations of physiology involving sanguine “humors“, led to the common use of the word to mean cheerful or optimistic.

Which leaves us with a nice double meaning for “sanguine drawing”.

[Link via Danny’s Art Notes]

[Addendum: Apparently, Moore has abandoned the blog that originally supplied the images that accompanied the tutorial and is not actively blogging these days. I don’t know of a replacement or copy of the tutorial mentioned in the post. -Charley (As of June 2010)]


Andy Paiko

Andy Paiko - The Glass Chair
Andy Paiko is a glass artist who creates glass sculpture as well as sculptural vesselware and traditional vesselware.

I suppose “gothic” might be a term applied to his fascinating constructions of ornately crafted glass that often incorporate the skulls of small animals, spine-like constructions and other natural elements in ways that are slightly creepy but also fascinating in a pre-20th Century bizarre-object-in-a-bell-jar kind of way.

Paiko does, in fact, create bell jars, among his other nouveau arcana, such as an absinthe fountain and the “Lube Rack“, meant to “enhance one’s friction-free environment” with art glass “spice jars” full of everything from motor oil to lard to burbon.

His glass sculptures are usually constructions that are a sculptural variation on some object that would normally not be composed of glass, like a seismograph, a hammer and nails, a balance, a picture frame, or a spinning wheel; and occasionally are odd takes on objects that are normally made of glass, like a five foot long syringe or his hourglass filled with black sand.

When viewing Paiko’s online galleries be sure to be aware of the options near the top, either text links of small squares, that allow you to click through multiple views of the object, or multiple objects in a series.

The piece shown here, simply titled “The Glass Chair“, is a collaboration with Douglas Little and is owned by Conde Nast Publications, which, inexplicably, didn’t use it in the final spread of the “Gothic Splendor” article in House and Garden for which it was photographed. The piece is chair-size, about 50″ (126cm) tall, and is composed of about 250 separate parts, including a piece of octopus coral, a murex spiny trumpet shell, the skeleton of a rat and the skulls of a rhesus monkey and a mountain lion. Just the thing for that empty alcove in the hall.

[Link and suggestion courtesy of Leah Palmer Preiss (see also my post on Leah Palmer Preiss)]


100 Photoshop Tutorials

100 Photoshop Tutorials
100 Photoshop Tutorials, subtitled “for creating beautiful art”, is a set of digital art how-to articles from numerous artists, collected and accessed through a large page of thumbnail images.

Somewhat confusingly, though the majority of them seem to be for 2-D digital painting, the site on which they are hosted is called “3D Total“. The site devotes space to both 3-D and 2-D digital art, however.

Hovering your mouse over the large thumbnail images on the 100 tutorial page produces a “tool tip” style floating box with some information about the tutorial by it’s creator. Unfortunately, this feature is a bit buggy in Safari, and the pop-up boxes often appear below the current screen when scrolling through the page. Browsing isn’t difficult, though, as the tutorial pages are fast loading, and you can get a good idea of the subject of each tutorial from the nature of the image.

Many are of digital painting techniques are for figures, environments, landscapes, and characters, and would be of particular interest to digital painters and concept artists.

The style and approach of the artists included offers a nice variety, and digital artists of differing interests are likely to find material relevant to their own preferences.

Most of the tutorials deal with the techniques involved in the creation of a specific image, and range from three to six pages in length. A good number of them seem to be from 2d Artist, the PDF-based online magazine devoted to digital art techniques.

[Link via Digg]