Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sean Andrew Murray

Sean Andrew Murray, Muttonhead
Sean Andrew Murray, AKA “Muttonhead”, is a concept artist and illustrator currently working with Big Huge Games/38 Studios. He has previously worked with Turbine on “Dungeons and Dragons Online” and “Lord of the Rings Online”, as well as clients like Privateer Press and Wizards of the Coast.

Murray often likes to work in an ink line and filled color approach as opposed to the digital painting styles more common in the field. That, and his predilections for quirky subjects and settings, can give his work the feeling of slightly twisted children’s book illustration.

He has a nicely imaginative, sometimes enjoyably grotesque approach to character design, and a knack for illustrating environment concepts in a way that gives them some of the feeling of weirdly intricate set designs.

His website is divided into Paintings, Drawings and Concept Art and Illustration. In the Drawings section you will often find preliminary drawings for some of the pieces you’ll see in the other sections. You can also fine preliminary drawings along with works in progress and other pieces on Murray’s blog.

Murray works in both traditional and digital media and you can also find a gallery of his work on CGHub. His sketchbook drawings were the subject of a feature article in ImagineFX #34, there is an extract on Murray’s blog.

Hans Versfelt

Hans Versfelt
Hans Versfelt is a painter in the Netherlands who paints from life, either plein air or on-location interiors.

His paintings have that kind of clear immediacy, tactile brushwork and fresh color that is often associated with the practice of painting on location.

Versfrelt portrays the landscape, canals, boats, farmland, towns, bridges and even windmills of the area with an eye to contrasts of light and shadow and appealing color relationships. He works with crisp, blocky brushstrokes, often defining a form with one or two strokes of color.

Though his website is in Dutch, English speakers and others can easily navigate the galleries linked on the left. The first four are “Pictures painted on Location” followed by two of “Drawings”, two of “Portraits and Interiors” and one of “Portrait drawings”. The others are “Contact”, a “CV” and a link to Versfelt’s blog. (The link to a page of links is unfortunately broken.)

Non Dutch speakers can also try Google Translate (English).

Versfelt’s blog isn’t extensive, but still has works of interest.

Iassen Ghiuselev

Iassen Ghiuselev
It’s unfortunate that, in spite of the cross cultural potential of the internet, the exposure to American audiences of illustrators, comics artists and gallery artists from other continents is still limited. I’m certain that if the work of Bulgarian illustrator Iassen Ghiuselev received more exposure here in the U.S., he would be quite popular, or at least have a cult following.

Ghiuselev produces a variety of fascinating, beautifully drawn and painted illustrations for classics like Pinocchio, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Don Quijote, King Authur and Oliver Twist.

His sometimes intricate and richly detailed works range from brightly colored to almost monochromatic. They are filled with lush textural elements and show the influence of Medieval, Renaissance and 19th Century Academic art, as well as the literary Victorian and Edwardian painters like the Pre-Raphaelites.

Through all of his work Ghiuselev puts his own imaginative turn on the subject matter, like his illustrations for Socrates that are rendered within the silhouettes of Greek characters, broken as though cracked artifacts; and his illustrations for Don Quijote that look as though they were prepared to be Renaissance murals.

I’m particularly impressed with his two ambitious takes on illustrating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass in which he has created large scale complex images, resplendent with disorienting projections of curved perspective and Escher-like reconfigurations of architectural space. These are apparently then divided into smaller crops used as illustrations throughout the book (images above, 2nd down and detail, 3rd down).

The illustrations section of his website is divided into book titles. Don’t miss the section for “cards” which features his beautifully realized, clever and sometimes dark interpretations of the Tarot deck (image above, bottom).

In the “other works” section, two of the subsections are empty, but the “drawings” section is well worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the majority of the illustrations on his website are frustratingly small, given that much of the charm in Ghiuselev’s work is in the textures and details. However, in many of the illustration sections, the first image is larger than the others and gives you at least a taste of what the rest of the images must be like.

You can also find books that Ghiuselev has illustrated listed on Amazon and Jacket Flap (click on title, then on cover image for larger version).

Iassen Ghiuselev in Delaware this week.

Iassen Ghiuselev will be visiting Wilmington, Delaware this week, at events sponsored by the Delaware College of Art and Design. He will be at a free wine and cheese reception in the school’s main gallery at 6th and Market Streets in Wilmington tomorrow, Tuesday January 18, 2011 from 5 to 7p.m.

For more information call 302.622.8867 x107 or see the website page for What’s New and click on the heading for “Award-winning Bulgarian Illustrator to visit DCAD”.

Pieces for his illustrations for Pinocchio (image above, top) will be on view as part of an excellent exhibit of several bulgarian illustrators, Storytelling with Quill and Brush, that has been extended to the end of the week for the length of Ghiuselev’s visit.

On Saturday, January 22, Ghiuselev will give a lecture at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, also in Wilmington.

Punch & Judy (Scott McKowen & Christina Poddubiuk)

Punch & Judy (Scott McKowen & Christina Poddubiuk)
When I first featured the work of Scott McKowen back in 2007, I couldn’t find a web presence or much information about him or his wonderful scratchboard illustrations.

Since then he has established a joint website with Christina Poddubiuk, highlighting McKowen’s abilities as an illustrator, art director and graphic designer and Poddubiuk’s skills as a costume and set designer (images above, bottom 3).

Their paths intersect in theatre oriented illustrations by McKowen, as well as costume design by Poddubiuk for some of McKowen’s illustrations, such as the Alice in Wonderland cover shown above, and the illustration of the Queen of Hearts, for which she was also the model.

When I featured McKowen previously I highlighted his striking covers for the Marvel Comics series 1602, which is where I first encountered his work.

You can see more of his book covers and interiors on the Marlena Agency site. You can also search out his book covers on Amazon and view some of them on JacketFlap (click through the titles to the book detail, then click on the cover image for a larger version).

There is little background information on either artist on the Punch & Judy site. There is an interview with McKowen on the Schuler Books Weblog, and another on Lucid Forge.

Though it’s not highlighted on the Punch & Judy site (for reasons that are lost on me), there is a book collection of McKowen’s illustrations, A Fine Line: Scratchboard Illustrations by Scott McKowen from Firefly Books.

When viewing the website, be sure to open your browser window to maximum, as the images are displayed with a clever script that resizes them to the available window area. Be aware that in each section there are additional images accessed from the numbered links at the top, and don’t miss the sketchbook section.

[Via Drawn!]

Allen Douglas

Allen Douglas
Allen Douglas is a freelance illustrator working in the genres of fantasy, science fiction and fantastic art.

His clients include Penguin Putnam, Tor Books, Berkeley, Random House, HarperCollins, and others. His work has been recognized in competitions and publications including The Society of Illustrators of New York, Step By Step Graphics and the Spectrum collections of contemporary fantastic art. It was in the most recent edition of the latter, Spectrum 17, that I noticed his work.

Douglas has interestingly different, sometimes quirky, takes on his subjects, combined with moody, atmospheric staging of his compositions and an often subtle color palette.

His website features a selection of his work. Be aware of the small arrow at the top of the page of thumbnails to a second page. When viewing the full size images, the click-through progression stops at the end of the images included on the first page.

There is also a gallery of his work on the Tor.com site.

John White Alexander (update)

John White Alexander
When I first wrote about American painter and illustrator John White Alexander in 2006, not many image resources were available.

Since then, the internet has done that which it does best, grown at an incredible rate, and several additional sources of images for this wonderful painter have appeared, and I’ve collected some of them below; though I’m still frustrated in my inability to find much representative of his illustration work.

As a painter, Alexander was primarily a portraitist, most notably of women, and his portraits ranged from relatively staid to sweepingly dramatic, handled with bravura brushwork and rich colors. Though not as dazzling with a brush as John Singer Sargent or Cecilia Beaux (how many were?), Alexander’s portraits delight with luxuriously rendered fabrics and theatrically lit compositions.

There is a book available, John White Alexander and the Construction of National Identity: Cosmopolitan American Art, 1880-1915 by Sarah J. Moore, but I haven’t personally seen it.

The Library of Congress, for which he did murals titled “The Evolution of the Book” (see images on Wikimedia Commons), has a collection of his papers, the web version of which includes some of his sketchbooks.