I’m always fascinated to watch to watch artists develop, particularly if their style changes or evolves over time.
Carl Critchlow is UK comics artist and illustrator who has a painting style that has that kind of grungy, textured look preferred by many who like science fiction and fantasy art that leans toward the grotesque and violent, as exemplified in comics by artists like Simon Bisley.
Critchlow’s nicely horrific painting style is well suited to his illustrations of dragons and monsters for Magic The Gathering cards and a number of appropriately grotesque comic book covers he’s done for companies in the UK and the US.
Given that, you would think that a similar highly-rendered style full of textural details would be a predictable choice for his UK comic book interior art for titles like Nemsis and Judge Dredd, In the 2000 AD tradition of gritty, gruesome and gratuitously violent comic art.
Instead, Critchlow’s approach has evolved in his recent comic book work to an almost linge claire style, more like the French bandes desinnées artists that the typical 2000AD crosshatch-fest.
This approach, along with nicely graphic color, works very well, both for his science fiction approach to Judge Dredd (images at left, middle) and his own wonderfully over-the-top Thrud the Barbarian (left, bottom). Interesting also, is the use of limited line weights in his comic drawings, which adds to the open, graphic feel of the work, and the addition of bits of texture, more as accents than an overwhelming character of the art.