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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James Ransome

illustration by James Ransome

illustrations by James Ransome

James E. Ransome is an award winning American illustrator of children’s books, with over 60 books — as well as murals, posters editorial illustration and gallery paintings — to his name. He has been awarded the Coretta Scott King and NAACP Image awards, and was named one of 75 authors and illustrators everyone should know by the Children’s Book Council.

Ransome studied illustration at Pratt Institute, and credits prior study of film making and photography with helping to shape his approach. His style is naturalistic, with a nicely fluid feeling to many of his figures. While at Pratt, he encountered well known illustrator Jerry Pinkney, who he now counts as a friend and mentor.

Ransome’s website has galleries of his illustration as well as other paintings and drawings. There are two process videos that show him working with watercolor and with a preliminary drawing. In addition, Ransome is featured in a series of Videos from KidLit TV titled Young at Art, in which he gives demonstrates fundamental art techniques for kids.

Ransome has prints of some of his pieces available on Etsy.

Ransome is married to author Lesa-Cline-Ransome, and has illustrated a number of her biographical children’s titles.

 
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Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney is a renowned American children’s book illustrator and writer — winner of numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal, Caldecott Honors and Corretta Scott King Awards, as well as awards from The New York Times, the Society of Illustrators and others. His illustration credits include over 100 books as well as editorial and institutional illustration.

Pinkney works primarily in watercolor and drawing media. His illustrations often have an appealing feeling of casual looseness that can conceal the solid composition and careful draftsmanship on which they’re based. I particularly enjoy his wonderful use of texture

The Jerry Pinkney Studio website is informative, and has some slideshows of his work in categories like Children’s Books, Illustrated Novels and so on, but it doesn’t make the best showcase for his work.

The best examples I’ve found are on the Norman Rockwell Museum’s Digital Tour of a Jerry Pinkney exhibit: Imaginings. There is an accompanying video of Pinkney speaking, along with other videos, in the “Media” section of the Pinkney Studio site (I can’t give you a direct link because the site is in frames, for reasons that elude me).

There is also a page devoted to Pinkney in the Artists’s listings of the NRM website, that includes some images.

You can find many of his books on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com (affiliate link).

 
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Kelsey Beckett

Kelsey Beckett is a Michigan based illustrator and gallery artist. In the work on her website she focuses on portrayals of young women dressed in sometimes elaborate clothing with the visual interest of lots of drapery folds, layers and patterns, and often accompanied by floral elements.

Her faces are stylized and rendered with restrained modeling, usually limited to the edges and directly around the features, giving them a nicely graphic appeal.

There is a certain feeling of design to her compositions that I find reminiscent of Art Nouveau without being directly related to that genre.

Beckett works in both acrylic and oil. In the videos on her YouTube channel — many of which are of her process — you will also find some speed paintings in gouache and mixed media.

Beckett’s work is also on display as part of a virtual exhibit (in place of the scheduled physical one) at Corey Helford Gallery, that runs until April 11, 2020.

 
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Eye candy for Today: Jean Giraud illustration

Jean (Moebius) Giraud illustration

Jean (Moebius) Giraud illustration

Mystere Montrouge, plate 10, Jean Giraud

This is an image from a portfolio of prints published in 2001 by Jean (Moebius) Giraud.

Dreamlike, inventive and striking, it’s yet another wonderful example of his line and color approach, without the spotted blacks and feathering characteristic of American comics art.

Note the subtle gradations in the face and headdress.

I found this copy of the image posted on Reddit

 
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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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