Nicholas Kole

Nicholas Kole. illustration and concept art
Nicholas Kole. illustration and concept art

Nicholas Kole is an illustrator and concept artist based in Vancouver, BC. His clients include Disney, Dreamworks, Hasbro, EA Games/Waystone, Riot, Axis, ReelFX, Mattel, 38 Studios and Spiritwalk Games, among others.

Kole’s style is energetic and cartoony, with just enough rendering to give his characters an appealing dimensional aspect.

For the past few years, he has been working full time in Procreate on an iPad Pro, including a year on the road.

Kole has a personal project called Jellybots — which I believe is both an art book and a comic — that he is supporting through Patreon. He also has digital art books available through Gumroad.

 
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Justin Gerard (update)

Justin Gerard fantasy illustration
Justin Gerard fantasy illustration

Justin Gerard is an illustrator based in Georgia who works in the publishing, gaming and film industries. I first profiled him in 2009, and pointed out my admiration for his richly imaginative dragons. Since then, in the midst of his other work, he has been creating a series of equally imaginative “Monster of the Month” illustrations.

Gerard’s monsters are wonderfully over-the-top and beautifully rendered in the fantasy art/concept art vein of dramatic imagery. He can somehow make them simultaneously gruesome and visually charming.

There is a portfolio of his work on the GalleryGerard website. You will find more examples on his ArtStation portfolio, in which you will also find close-up crops and preliminary drawings for many of his Monster of the Month images.

Gerard is regular contributor to the Muddy Colors website and among his articles you can find walkthroughs and descriptions of technique.

Justin Gerard is married to illustrator Annie Stegg Gerard, who I have also previously profiled.

 
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Chase Stone (update)

Chase Stone, illustrations and concept art
Chase Stone, illustrations and concept art

Since I last wrote about illustrator and concept artist Chase Stone back in 2014, he has created a new website, and has posted new work there as well as on the site of his artist’s representative, Richard Solomon.

Stone works primarily in the areas of fantasy and science fiction, his dramatic highly realized approach bringing a visceral presence to both genres.

I particularly enjoy his illustrations for the Magic The Gathering set: Amonkhet, which are an imaginatively stylized take on Egyptian gods. He also paints great dragons, as well as dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

His website galleries are divided into Trading Card, Editorial and Book illustration. He also has prints of many of his pieces available on InPrint. His gallery on the Richard Solomon site includes a brief bio and mention of his process.

For more, see my previous post on Chase Stone.

 
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Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar
Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar is a well known illustrator and character designer whose wonderfully loopy people and animals, both real and imagined, have enlivened the pages of countless periodicals, children books and animations over the past forty years.

His style can look so loose and gestural as to appear casually done, but if you stop an look, it’s clear that it is his training and skill and his foundation of solid draftsmanship that allow it to appear that way.

In a similar way, his colors can appear bright, but on inspection are actually often muted, made to appear brighter by careful juxtaposition.

Ajhar works in digital as well as traditional media, the latter including watercolor, acrylic, pencils and inks.

There is a gallery of his work on his website, and another on the cite of his artist’s representatives, RappArt.

Ajhar’s website also includes videos and interviews.

 
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Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano is a Japanese illustrator, concept artist, and designer of scenes, characters and costumes for film and gaming.

In addition, Amano is known for his work for both Japanese and American comics, as well as his gallery art.

His style blends influences from Japanese woodblock prints, American and European comics and pop culture as well as Art Nouveau and Golden Age European illustration.

Amano appears to work primarily in watercolor and ink. There is a brief video on YouTube that includes scenes of him working. There is also an interview on Polygon.

 
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Syd Mead, 1933-2019

Syd Mead, futurist, concept artist, illustrator

Syd Mead, futurist, concept artist, illustrator

Syd Mead designed the future.

Though it’s sad news I write about — that designer, concept artist and visionary futurist Syd Mead died on December 30, 2019 at the age of 86 — it’s somehow fitting that a post about him is my first for the start of a new decade.

He is best known as a concept artist responsible for the futuristic look of movies like Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens and many others, but Mead’s influence goes back further and extends well beyond his movie work and actual designs.

For example, we take the designs for the Star Wars series for granted now, but if you look at Mead’s work from the 1970’s, you can see the DNA in the designs of the tech, even though he was not directly involved in that series

Mead created a futuristic aesthetic that influenced generations of concept artists, vehicle designers and creative professionals of all kinds, and through them his designs infused much of popular culture, along with the actual design of contemporary technology.

His primary medium was gouache, also favored by other major concept artists and designers in the mid 20th century. If you do a search on YouTube for “syd mead” “gouache”, you’ll find some video previews of his course through Gnomon Workshopd. James Gurney has a nice article on his gouache technique on his blog, GurneyJourney.

Mead’s designs from 40 or more years ago still look futuristic.

His future was bright, sleek, high-tech and visually stunning. We’re lucky to have his influence in our art and culture.

It’s Syd Mead’s future, we just live in it.

 
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