Category Archives: Comics

10 years of Lines and Colors

10 years of Lines and Colors
Today marks the 10th anniversary of my first post on Lines and Colors, on August 22, 2005.

My initial intention for the blog — which you can read more about here — is still basically the same: to introduce my readers to wonderful art and artists that they may not be familiar with, or to point out something of interest about more well-known artists.

The artwork I feature is in a broad variety of genres, but tied together by two common factors — I personally like it, and it’s more or less within the traditions of representational realism. Other than that, as I’ve always said in the blog’s capsule description, if it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

You can see some of the range of genres in the “Categories” listing in the left hand column, and below that, in the “Archives”, you can still read all of the posts I’ve added over the past ten years. (Well, almost all — I still need to restore about 10 posts from July of 2013 that were “misplaced” when I moved the blog from one server to another — it’s constantly a work in progress.)

My most popular single post to date, at least in terms of response and comments, has been “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web“.

The images I’ve selected above are meant as a small sampling of what you may find in the archives.

It has always been my hope that those interested in a particular genre of art — like traditional painting, plein air, art history, comics, concept art, fantasy art or illustration — would be drawn to Lines and Colors to pursue their area of interest, and through it discover wonderful art in other genres that they may not have sought out or encountered otherwise. I see that aspect of what I’m doing as an attempt to gently counter the ever-increasing fragmentation of art interests on the web.

In the 10 years since writing my first article for Lines and Colors, the resources for art images on the internet have expanded dramatically, most notably in the form of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and the Rijksmuseum, posting high-resolution images from their collections online; the appearance of remarkable resources like the Google Art Project; and new online destinations for illustration, comics and concept art.

Originally, my posts were short, and the images single and small, and I actually worried that I would run out of “favorite artists” to write about. Today, after more than 3,400 posts (not quite a post a day for ten years, but pretty close), I have an ever-growing list of potential topics to get to — that may actually be longer than the list of already written ones.

There’s more to come!



Jordi Lafebre

Jordi Lafebre, comics
Spanish comics artist and illustrator Jordi Lafebre works for both the Spanish and the Franco-Belgian comics audience, the latter being the largest in Europe.

He notably teamed with writer Zidrou for the highly regarded graphic albums Lydie (FR) and La Mondaine (FR) from French publisher Dargaud.

I particularly admire Lafebre’s succinct but visually charming rendition of the environments within which his characters play out their stories. His characters are likewise portrayed with verve, wit and engagingly emotional expressions.

Lafebre’s understated coloring allows the character of his drawing to enliven his panels. His wonderfully elegant and fluid inking style uses both brush and pen, augmented with a bit of marker.

I addition to his website, Lafebre has a blog. You may find some of the same images on both, but if you respond to his work as I did, you’ll go entirely through both and wind up wanting more.

Unfortunately, there are no English translations of his albums that I’m aware of, but the French and Spanish editions may be available; a few are listed on Amazon (if you can ignore the #@$&! Kindle Edition BS they keep shoving at you). I haven’t yet tried ordering directly from Dargaud or Lambiek. The U.S. resource I used to depend on for ordering European comics is no longer available; if I find a new one, I’ll try to add it to the post (suggestions welcome).

[Note: the linked sites contain some nudity and should be considered NSFW.]


Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips, comics art, illustration
Sean Phillips is a UK comics artist and illustrator known for his comics work and covers for titles like Fatale, Hellblazer, Criminal, Incognito, Marvel Zombies, and many others. He has worked for most of the major comics publishers in the US and UK, as well as for illustration clients like Twentieth Century Fox, Sony, Maxim and Island Records.

Phillips commands a wonderfully graphic style, with strong spotted blacks and bold use of negative space in his compositions. He can also render in a very finished style and works in a variety of mediums, including digital, and watercolor.

I particularly admire his work, and notably his covers, for Fatale, the supernatural crime series published by Image Comics, in which collaborates with writer Ed Brubaker. Phillips’ noir sensibilities are perfect for the series. He also shows his admiration for the wonderfully lurid pulp artists of the past in a number of his covers for Hellblazer and other titles.

He also sneaks in a sly sense of humor at times, zeroing in on one of my favorites in his take on Hellblazer’s John Constantine as a version of Steve Ditko-era Dr. Strange.

Phillips’ website has galleries of his work in several categories, including illustration and gallery paintings. You can find more, along with work in progress and detail crops, on his blog.

In addition, you can find his original art for sale on Splash Page. UK readers can order his titles directly from his store. Those of us in the US can just do a general Amazon search for his work, including the collection, The Art of Sean Phillips. (Or better yet, ask for his titles at your local comic book shop.) You can also find his blow up collection on Lulu.


Jakob Rebelka

Jakob Rebelka
Jakob Rebelka is a Polish comics artist, illustrator and concept artist for the gaming industry.

His interestingly different style combines areas of complex, intertwined forms with more open spaces and applications of texture. Often he will create the sensation of forms within forms by defining surface areas with lightly applied shadows and highlights, in a sort of bas-relief against the surrounding form.

His comics work includes the new graphic novel Le Cité Des Chiens (“City of Dogs”, link is to with writer Yohan Radomski.

In addition to his Tumblr blog, you can find his work on ArtStation. Many of Rebelka’s images are available as prints through inPrint and society6.

[Via Concept Art World]


Free Comic Book Day 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 2, is Free Comic Book Day 2015.

Participating comic book shops (which you can look up by zip code on this Store Locator), will be giving away a selection of special promotional comic books, designed to introduce new readers both to those individual titles and to the fun of reading comics in general.

There are some cover images on the special Free Comic Book Day titles on the FCBD website, some of which are linked to brief PDF previews of the interior pages. (Not all titles will be available at all shops.)

I’ll be checking out the free comics at my personal favorite comic book (and other book) shop, Between Books, in Claymont, DE.

Comic book shop proprietors will be on their best behavior in a kind of “open house” atmosphere, and glad to make recommendations and introductions to other titles for those who may not be aware of the diversity in the current range of comic book titles and subjects — it’s not all superheroes anymore.

Many shops will be featuring guest artists or writers and having special sales in coordination with the event. Check the individual shops’ websites for details.

For more of my descriptions of the event, see some of my previous years’ posts on Free Comic Book Day.


Joshua Middleton (update)

Joshua Middleton, comics, covers, illustration
Joshua Middleton is an illustrator, comics artist, concept artist and art director who I first wrote about in 2006. At the time, he was primarily working in comics; since then, he has worked in film and television for clinents liks Universal, Lionsgate, Sony, Sony Pictures Animation and Warner Brothers; and as a cover artist for book publishers such as Scholastic, Abrams, Bloomsbury, Tor, Viking and Disney.

Middleton has also come full circle back to comic book publishing, becoming noted in particular for his striking cover art.

Comic book covers owe their lineage to the pulp magazine covers of the 1930s and 1940s. In those, flashy, often lurid images were used to grab your attention and get you to plop down your precious dime and pick up the magazine.

Comic book covers are basically in service of the same function: grab your attention and make you want to buy the publication. In pursuit of this, a lot of comics covers over the years have fallen into the least-common-denominator routine of being loud, brash and in-your-face. Not that there isn’t a place for that, but Middleton and some of his contemporaries have been raising the bar.

Middleton’s covers are attention grabbing to be sure, but also subtle in a way that is still unusual, with keen attention to nuanced shifts in color and value, and the use of fine, single-line weight outlines. The latter retain the graphic appeal of traditional comic art, but shift the line-to-color balance to bring the color forward, more in keeping with the styles of European and Japanese comics than mainstream American comics.

In particular, Middleton has been grabbing attention, both individually and on a larger scale, in his series of striking covers for DC Comics’ Supergirl.

Middleton brings some of that same nuanced sensibility to his book covers. Though usually more rendered than his comics covers, and often without outlines, these also pull back from over-rendering into a balance of shape and color that is particularly appealing.

Middleton’s current website serves as a blog, in which he features finished work as well as work in progress, various projects and comments on other topics. In the right-hand column you’ll find links with which you can sort for categories like “finished work” or “sketches”.