X-Story, Vitaliy Shushko

X-Story, Vitaliy Shushko, animation
X-Story is an animated short (roughly 12 minutes) by Vitaliy Shushko.

At first, I thought this was a promo or incorporated animation for a game from a major company. Given the production values, length and level of accomplishment, I was surprised to find that this was an independent animation project.

I checked Shushko’s blog and found this described as his first animated short, and that it was two years in the making.

For an indy project like this, even though he had assistance (please see the Vimeo link for credits), I’m not surprised it took that long.

The story (which can be slightly gruesome in places) is not the point of this for me; it’s the level of storytelling, production, design and realization.

I’ve seen indy animation projects at a high level before, but they’re usually much shorter.

This is done in an anime-influenced style (particularly with reference to Otomo’s classic Akira), but it doesn’t succumb to the stylistic excesses that sometimes plague that genre. The design feels fresh and direct.

I hope somebody throws lots of money at Shushko, so he can keep producing animations like this.

View the video at full screen; my small screen captures don’t do the visuals justice.

[Via digg]

 
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Vladimir Kush (update)

Vladimir Kush, surreal, butterfly ship
Vladimir Kush is a Russian painter now living in the US, who I first wrote about in 2007.

Kush paints in a style derived from Surrealism, but that might more correctly be thought of as Magic Realism.

Since my last post, his website has been expanded with additional work, but it has also become more overtly commercialized, with an emphasis on prints, limited editions, and a series of brick and mortar galleries (perhaps following in the tradition of Thomas Kinkade).

Despite the commercial emphasis, I still find Kush interesting and fun, with clever juxtapositions of commonplace objects casting them into alternate meanings and roles.

He often explores repeated themes, most notably that of butterflies, and his most recognizable work is the butterfly-sail ship shown above, middle.

His website offers relatively small images, presented in a pop-up-and-close fashion that is not conducive to extended browsing. You may find it easier to browse through the larger images in some of the third-party articles linked below for an overview, and then come back to his site for more depth and additional images.

 
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Richard Wright

Richard Wright, concept art, illustration
Richard Wright is an illustrator, concept artist and matte painter based in the UK. Beyond that, there is no bio information on his website or ArtStation gallery.

His work is richly atmospheric and textural; his colors chosen to evoke mood and drama. I enjoy his use of suggestion in backgrounds, whether for environmental elements or distant objects, at times rendered in almost flat low-contrast sihlouette.

Wright’s work was featured in the June, 2016 issue of 2dartist magazine.

 
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Chris Seaman

Chris Seaman, illustration
Chris Seaman is an illustrator working in the gaming industry. His fantasy-themed illustrations are highly rendered, but always keep a feeling of cartoony verve and springy stylization, and often contain fun little touches in the details.

Seaman works in acrylic. There are a couple of brief process videos on his website, where he also has both originals and prints for sale..

I particularly enjoy his take-offs on famous images. like Holbein’s portrait of Henry VIII, and J.C. Leyendecker’s Arrow Shirt ad (images above, bottom three).

 
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Peter Mohrbacher

Peter Mohrbacher, algelarium, fantasy art
Peter Mohrbacher is a painter, illustrator and concept artist who has left his successful career in the gaming industry, including work for “Magic: The Gathering”, for his ongoing personal project of creating “angels”.

Fascinated by his discovery of the large number of named angels in several world mythologies, he began creating “angels” based on various concepts. The result is a growing collection he calls “Angelarium”, which is divided into groups like “The Watchers”, “The Seraphim” and “The Tree of Life”.

He has also enlisted the help of Eli Minaya in designing many of the “Emanations” for the angels, as well as James Pianka who has written new poetry for the twelve original angels.

Mohrbacher’s angel compositions are atmospheric, fantastical and have the kind of visual fascination and impact often associated with the best concept art.

In addition to his own website, there is a devoted Angelarium website, and from both he offers book collections as well as prints.

 
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Didier Graffet

Didier Graffet, fantasy and steampunk illustration
Didier Graffet is a French illustrator, recognized in particular for his fantasy and steampunk themed work. Well known in his native France, Graffet is undeservedly less familiar here in the U.S.

Graffet uses a keen sense of value relationships, a muted palette and a good amount of intricate, textural detail to create arresting images that demand the viewer slow down and linger over them, rather then scanning through them quickly. This, I think, is one of the best uses of detail in illustration — to encourage the reader to pause and reflect on the story while lingering over eye-pleasing interpretations of the text.

Though he does beautifully evocative fantasy themed work, I particularly enjoy his Victorian science fiction images, notably his illustrations for classic Jules Verne novels, and his steampunk versions of alternate times.

Unfortunately, I found the galleries in his website somewhat awkward to navigate, and not as conducive to browsing as one might hope. It’s not a language barrier, the site is nicely available in both French and English, just the arrangement.

The galleries have a drill-down structure, and the obvious path back to the top — the “Galleries” tab in the main navigation — is disabled when in the Galleries section (there is a non-obvious link on the work “Galleries” within the display area that can be used instead).

The thumbnails are small, and it’s easy to miss the links on many sets of thumbnails to subsequent pages, accessed from a small linked row of numbers at the bottom.

The effort to dig around is worthwhile, though, and you will find lots of interesting stuff tucked away. You’ll find most of the steampunk goodies in the Jules Verne section, and in the “Personal” section under “Other Worlds“.

The Fantasy section also contains some personal work and some wonderful dragons.

Most books containing Graffet’s work available in the U.S. are in French editions, a few of which are available through Amazon new, the others available used. There is also a new A Song of Ice and Fire 2017 Calendar, based on George R.R. Martin’s work, with illustrations by Graffet.

 
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