Josh Viers

Josh Viers
Josh Viers is a concept artist who has worked for ILM and is currently working with Doug Chiang at Ice Blink Studios. He studied industrial design and has done design work for a number of toy lines, which explains the wonderful toy-like sensibility that enlivens many of his designs.

The site contains finished paintings as well as pencil, pen & ink and marker sketches in various degrees of finish. The ink drawings in particular are appealing for their fluid brushwork. The images aren’t labeled with any indication what project they’re for, which is unfortunate because some of them are so intriguing that I would really like to know what movie, game or other project they refer to – particularly a series of monochromatic and color paintings depicting night in a strange city with bizarre little vehicles.

The links below are to Viers’ own site and to his gallery on the Ice Blink Studios site.

Christopher Moeller

Christopher Moeller
Christopher Moeller is an illustrator and comics artist who is one of the foremost proponents of fully-painted comics art. Rather than the traditional um… lines and colors format, each panel is a painted image. Many painted-comics artists use watercolor (see my post about Alex Ross), but Moeller uses an opaque medium (it looks like acrylic or possibly gouache). There are only a handful of artists who can really make this work and Moeller is superb at it.

Moeller has done a number of painted comics stories, numerous comic book covers as well as illustrations for games, gaming cards and posters. There is checklist of his work (from 1991-2003) on the site. There are also prints and original art available.

In the late 90’s he illustrated (and wrote, or co-wrote with Kevin Moeller) an extended painted-comics science fiction series that builds on his interest in military history to create a rich setting for stories of interstellar conflict and intrigue. The stories have been collected in two graphic novels: Iron Empires Volume 1: Faith Conquers and Iron Empires Volume 2: Sheva’s War. There is a site devoted to the series, but it’s still incomplete. There is a preview of Volume 1 and Volume 2 on the Dark Horse Comics site.

DC comics has just released Book One of a two-issue superhero/sci-fi series, written and painted by Moeller: JLA Classified: Cold Steel.

Jacob Collins

Jacob Collins
The difficult thing about painting a still life is the “life” part. Many still life paintings have a lot more “still” than “life”. Jacob Collins has a touch that keeps his still life subjects vibrant and fresh. When I first encountered his work, I was impressed with his range of subject matter. He is remarkably strong in figure, portrait, interior, landscape and still life painting. Most contemporary realists are satisfied to specialize in one or two of those subject areas. Collins is highly skilled in all of those categories. For some reason, though, I was particularly taken with his refined and painterly still life technique. The site contains many examples of his work in all of the genres as well as showcasing his figure and portrait drawings. (Link courtesy of State of the Art.)

Sam & Max (Steve Purcell)

Sam & Max
They’re back! If you’re familiar with Sam & Max, Steve Purcell’s delightfully demented pair of vaguely animal-like things, you’ll be thrilled to your cynical little toes that there is a new Sam & Max interactive webcomic on the Telltale Games site. There’s only one page up at the moment, but get in on the ground floor and sign up to be notified when pages are posted. (The image above is from an older print comic.) You can read the press release here.

If you’re not familiar with the sardonic duo, drop on over to The Unofficial Sam & Max Website, a veritable treasure trove of information on the various incarnations of Purcell’s deranged characters, from comics to games and the short-lived TV show. My favorite, of course, are the original comics and the site features a nice taste on the Ads and Shorts page. It’s an excellent site maintained by Jake Rodkin and David “Metallus” Eggers.

If you can, pick up some of Purcell’s original comics on eBay or wherever you can find them. Sam & Max are my favorite “Funny Animal” comics, and I do mean funny and I do mean “animal”. Where does Max keep that gun, anyway?

Wild Brain

Wild BrainIf you ever wanted to know who to blame for those well-animated but skin-crawling Lamasil commercials about the dermatophytes who lift up a toenail and crawl in, here they are. Wild Brain is a San Francicso company that creates animations for commercial and entertainment clients using multiple styles of animation: 2D and 3D digital, Flash, rotoscoping, traditional cell animation and various combinations of those techniques.

The site in nicely arranged in Flash and HTML and includes a gallery of Quicktime clips that can be organized by subject or style. You can even view a Quicktime version of those cuddly dermatophytes. (BTW, if you don’t have Quicktime, you’re missing out on the best web video format.)

There are also short but informative articles in the About Us section under “Animation 101” that explain the basics of how cel and CGI animations are produced.


David Mattingly

David Mattingly
Ten years ago, after years of success as one of the foremost science fiction and fantasy illustrators in the field, David Mattingly switched from traditional media to digital, and has rarely looked back. His striking images of other worlds and other times are masterfully drawn, beautifully rendered and intricately detailed. He works in a combination of digital painting techniques and 3D modeling. Mattingly also does motion picture matte painting and was at one point the head of the Walt Disney Studios matte department.

While some science fiction and fantasy artists become obsessed with detail for its own sake (or for the sake of showing off), Mattingly, like Donato Giancola, uses detail to give his fantastic images a tactile sense of reality. Unfortunately the images reproduced on the site are too small to really get a feeling for that. Try to pick up one of the Spectrum collections that contains his work.

Lately he has been working with a process involving the painstaking division of digital image elements into minute strips that are aligned with an overlaying lenticular screen. The resulting hand-assembled “Depth View” prints give a remarkable illusion of three-dimensionality when seen in person. There is an attempt on the site to give a feeling for these images with animated GIFs and Flash files, but they only suggest the movement, they don’t capture the sensation of depth created by the real prints. The Depth View prints are available through the site along with traditional prints of many of his illustrations.