Sija Hong

Sija Hong illustration
Sija Hong illustration

Originally from China and now based in New York, Sija Hong is an illustrator whose clients include Scientific American, Tor, Chronicle Books, Lerner Publishing Group, and Little Brown & Company Books, among others.

Her illustrations are swirling, multilayered cascades of imagery and design elements, shimmering with vibrant color. Hong tames these seemingly wild ingredients with controlled color schemes and underlying patterns to bring them into narrative focus.

She works in a combination of traditional and digital media, starting with the former and bringing her work to a finish digitally.


New Argon Zark! webcomic page

Argon Zark webcomic new page

Argon Zark webcomic new page (detaile)

It’s not that often that I feature my own work on Lines and Colors, but this is special occasion for me. I’ve just posted the first new page to my webcomic, Argon Zark!, in quite some time.

I’m really pleased to have the comic moving again, and looking forward to continuing the story. (It will not interfere with my work on Lines and Colors. If it garners enough support, it may actually free up more time for writing Lines and Colors posts.)

For those who are familiar with Argon Zark!, you can see the new page here.

If you’re not familiar with the comic, but are curious about my endeavor, start with the first page of the current story, or go to the home page.

You can also read my recent Lines and Colors post with a little background about the comic, and about how I’ve gone over the current story and brought it up to date with bigger graphics and current web technology: Argon Zark! remastered.



Matthieu Forichon

Matthieu Forichon, vector illustration
French illustrator Matthieu Forichon works in vector illustration, an approach that lends itself well to his crisp, elegant portrayals of fashion, travel, food and drink for clients like Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, Lillet, Camus cognacs & Neuhaus chocolates.

I find particular appeal in his use of dramatic lighting in interiors and Parisian night scenes.

Forichon’s website is in French, but easily navigated by non-French speakers. You may find it a bit easier, though, to browse through his work in the site of his artist’s representatives on Rapp Art.

You can find some of his more informal, sketch-like pieces on his Instagram feed.


Ben Haggett

Ben Haggett
Ben Haggett is a painter from Montana, who also happens to make some of the best and most cleverly designed pochade boxes out there, under the name of Alla Prima Pochade (as I described in my extensive article on pochade boxes).

Somewhat ironically, Haggett has in recent years become fascinated with digital painting, working in Artrage on an iPad (images above, top five paintings). Haggett still also works in traditional media, like oil (above, bottom four paintings).

Both his traditional and digital work has a textural, painterly surface quality, with bright, freely applied colors. Not only is the “painterly” quality of the digital work fascinating, so is the continuity of approach in his digital and traditional media work.

Haggett’s blog features both kinds of paintings, and also has some photos of the clever pochade-box-like holder he has created for doing digital iPad painting en plein air (above, bottom photo).


Android Jones (update)

Android Jones
Andrew “Android” Jones has worked as a concept artist with companies like ILM and Nintendo, as well as Massive Black, which he co-founded. He was also co-founder of the popular community portal.

Jones is also a creator of visionary art, using a variety of digital tools involving digital painting, vectors and CGI modeling. He lists his primary tools as Painter, Photoshop, ZBrush and Alchemy.

He brings his skills in these areas to bear in complex, fascinatingly detailed visionary images — rich with patterns, textures, and imagery within imagery. These sometimes are stand alone pieces and sometimes serve as posters or music CD covers.

I particularly enjoy his blending of vector graphics and digital painting techniques, and his use of layered, almost fractal, repetition of design elements within the composition. He also uses digital blending modes to great effect, allowing his patterns and textures to be expressed against his painted forms.

The home page of his website serves as a blog and gallery of his latest work. There is also a portfolio section, a dedicated section for his Phadroid performance art projects and a store, which contains additional images not found in the other sections.

You can also find his work in the D’artiste: Concept Art collection


Secrets of Corel Painter Experts

Secrets of Corel Painter Experts: Andreas Rocha [main cover image], Waheed Nasir, Wonman Kim, Brian Haberlin, Benjamin, Thorston Wolber [2 images], Chet Phillips, Mike Thompson, Dwane Vance, John Derry, Pete Revonkorpi
Among artists who work in the medium of digital painting, most notably visual development artists, comic book artists and illustrators, the two most popular applications for painting and drawing directly on the computer with a ressure-sensitive stylus and tablet are Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.

Photoshop, because of it’s much broader range of use in photo manipulation, compositing and prepress, is the subject of far more instructional material than Painter, which is much more focused on the direct creation of digital art. Those of us who love to work in Painter are always interested to see books on the subject, and are always hoping for a greater range of instructional topics and approaches.

Secrets of Corel Painter Experts by Daryl Wise and Linda Hellfritsch is a welcome addition to that list.

The book is subtitled “Tips, Techniques, and Insights for Users of All Abilities”, but I think it’s best suited for those who already have a grasp of Painter basics and are looking to take their skills to a more advanced level.

The book calls on a range of digital artists who are working in Painter and are recognized for their expertise in their field. Each chapter in the book is devoted to one of the 17 artists and focuses on an aspect of Painter techniques in which they are proficient.

Each artist is profiled, with background on their work and influences and a brief question and answer, as well as relevant links. The main feature is a step by step instruction on the technique or process that particular artist has been called on to demonstrate, along with a gallery of the artist’s work.

In addition, the artists also frequently contribute more general tips about their Painter working process.

Many of the artists included are familiar names in digital painting circles, drawn from the fields of comic art, illustration and concept art, as well as fine art and photography, and include John Derry, one of the original team that worked to develop Painter in its early stages at Fractal Design.

The accompanying DVD is a bit less that I might have hoped for, with mostly mid-resolution and a few high resolution images of the artists’ work, but not conveniently arranged for browsing. It is nice, however, that the DVD sections for each artist include clickable versions of their “Favorite websites” links from the book.

Corel Painter is a very powerful and flexible application, and can also be complex and somewhat daunting, with over 900 brushes by someone’s count and numerous other tools and settings. Secrets of Corel Painter Experts is not meant to be a comprehensive manual, but a focused series of instructions on specific techniques from working professionals.

(Images above, Andreas Rocha [main cover image], Waheed Nasir, Wonman Kim, Brian Haberlin, Benjamin, Thorston Wolber [2 images], Chet Phillips, Mike Thompson, Dwane Vance, John Derry, Pete Revonkorpi)