Ryan Church (update 2024)

Ryan Church concept art
Ryan Church concept art

Ryan Church is a concept artist, illustrator and art director whose film credits have to be among the most impressive in the industry.

I first wrote about him in the rearly months of Lines and Colors, back in 2005, and again in 2006.

Since then, he has continued ot add to his long list of film concept art and art direction credits, as you can see on his website.

Church works with a combination of 3D rendering and digital painting to create the designs for some of the most iconic sicence fiction, fantasy and adventure film scenes in recent memory.

Rudy Siswanto (update)

Rudy Siswanto
Rudy Siswanto

Rudy Siswanto is an Illustration Craft Lead at Riotgames; which basically means he leads a team of illustrators and concept designers who help craft the look and feel of particular games.

I’m not a gamer, so I don’t recognize the games for which these images were created, but many of them involve animal characters that Siswanto has portrayed in exaggerated, stylish and dramatic fashion.

The Artist’s Magazine – Imaginative Realism

The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism
The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism

The March/April issue of The Artists Magazine is devoted to imaginative painting and magical realism. The cover and lead article feature the beautiful painting by James Gurney shown in the images above, and a step-through of his process in creating it.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this particular painting in person, and it’s a strikingly beautiful example of Gurney at his best in combining the styles of the Victorian painters with modern fantasy subjects. (Imagine if you will, Lawrence Alma-Tadema painting dinosaurs!)

This is a very good issue of a good magazine. Unfortunately, the Artists Network website, for reasons that elude me, is not very effective in promoting the physical magazine. (They don’t clearly associate the cover with a list of contents and excerpts specific to that issue, and from there link to the ordering page.)

If you’re fortunate enough to have a bookstore in your area that carries a relatively wide array of magazines, you may still be able to find a copy.

You can order a physical copy here, and a digital copy here.

You can also access Gurney’s article, complete with images, online if you’re willing to give them your email address. You can link to the article from this page, and once on this page, enter your email address and you’ll have immediate access to the article.

The entire issue (and the magazine in general), are worthwhile.

James Gurney was a particularly appropriate artist to tap for this issue, given that he’s the author of an excellent book devoted to the subject: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint what Doesn’t Exist (Lines and Colors review here).

Christophe Vacher (update)

Christophe Vacher
Christophe Vacher

Christophe Vacher is a French painter and concept designer who I first wrote about back in 2007. He has worked for studios like Disney, Dreamworks, ad Universal, and his movie credits include titles like Dinosaur, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Enchanted and Dispicable Me.

On his website, you will find examples his personal and professional work in both traditional and digital media, as well as sketches and preliminary designs. On the “Technique” page, you will find a step-though and process notes for the panting shown above, bottom.

In addition to his imaginative design and refined rendering, I particularly enjoy the way he conveys a sense of scale and grandeur in many of his images.

There is a collection of his work available on Amazon, which can be accessed through this page. Some of his original art is available through his galleries on Saatchiart and Singulart.

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.

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.