Andrew Hem

Andrew Hem
Andrew Hem is an illustrator and gallery artist whose illustration clients include The Atlantic, LA Times, Chicago Time Out, New Scientist and Fort Worth Opera.

Hem, originally from Cambodia and now based in Los Angeles, studied at the Art Center College of Design.

He works in gouache and acrylic in a painterly, textural style that is not evident in the small images accompanying this post. Fortunately his works are reproduced larger on his website. There they are arranged by year. Don’t miss the Sketches section, which reproduces Moleskine pages of location sketches in South America, Asia and the U.S (reproduced a bit small unfortunately).

Hem often employs a restrained palette, in which gray blues and muted reds are punctuated with passages of higher chroma and value.

His color choices sometimes lean more toward expressionistic than naturalistic. He uses that effect, combined with his stylized figures and atmospheric control of values, to create intense moods. In addition, his main figure is often looking directly at the viewer, seeming to break the fourth wall and engage you directly.

Hem also maintains a blog titled Idrewhim, on which you can find additional works, sketches, works in progress and larger crops and reproductions of some pieces.

[Via Illustration Mundo]


Kevin Nelson

Kevin Nelson
Kevin Nelson is a visual development artist for the animated film industry, in particular Disney Animation Studios. He has worked on films like The Emperor’s New Groove, Tangled, Bolt and Meet The Robinsons.

What little I know about him is not from any biographical material conspicuously absent from his blog, but simply because he has posted some images there from his work on those films.

In addition you will find work on personal projects and some life sketches.

Nelson has one of those delightful drawing styles that can be at once precise and energetic, with enough “snap” to his lines and angles to suggest motion and vibrancy.

He also has wonderful control over his color palette and uses atmospheric perspective to great effect.

[Via John Nevarez]


Audubon’s Birds of America

John James Audubon, Birds of America
If your impression of the paintings of French-American naturalist, ornithologist and artist John James Audubon is based on small reproductions of some of his more subdued bird images, you may be surprised by the views afforded in this terrific online resource.

The University of Pittsburgh, which owns a rare complete edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, has digitized and made available online high resolution reproductions of the over 400 plates.

Birds of America was the culmination of Audubon’s quest to paint every known bird in North America. Though he fell short of that goal due to reaching the limits of his personal finances, he painted 435 beautifully detailed paintings, from which he created a most remarkable book.

Engravings made from his paintings were the basis for the plates, and the final pages were hand colored by assistants using Audubon’s paintings as a guide.

Audubon insisted that the birds be represented life-size, and the edition was printed on the largest mold made paper available at the time, known as “double elephant folio” size (26 x 38 inches, 66 x 96 cm). This is also why many of the larger birds are portrayed in somewhat contorted positions to fit the limits of the page, and why many of the smaller species are are shown in tableaux that fill the large spaces with multiple animals and surrounding environment.

The University of Pittsburgh’s online resource for Birds of America includes a history of the book and the digitizing project. They have also digitized his related text, Ornithological Biography and its accompanying plates as well.

The plates for Birds of America can be browsed by name or by thumbnail. You can choose thumbnail browsing options at the upper right.

The plates themselves come up in a viewing box that allows you to zoom way in on the detailed, high resolution images. What’s not obvious, and is key to enjoying the high res images, is that the zoom box has small adjustment grippers on the right and bottom edges that allow you to open the zooming window as large as your monitor will allow. In addition to the plus and minus controls, there is a triangular slider above them that allows for finer control of the zooming. Click and drag to pan.

Many of Audubon’s images involve more complex compositions and more visual drama than you might expect, particularly in cases where he has illustrated their relationship to natural predators or prey.

The details are also eye-opening. The anatomical details of talons and legs in particular will be notable for those interested in paleo art, and the backgrounds are surprisingly rich and varied, interesting in themselves as artworks.

Audubon, though he was creating a scientific treatise, was concerned with the book as a work of art. The plates were arranged for the esthetic impact on the reader rather than then being presented according to taxonomy, for which he was criticized by scientists at the time.

I don’t think that Audubon had to worry too much about his critics. After his remarkable achievement, and its enthusiastic reception worldwide, he could just flip them the bird.

[Via MetaFilter]


Daniel van Benthuysen

Daniel van Benthuysen
Artists often select themes within their chosen disciplines, producing series of works with similar subjects. Daniel van Benthuysen, originally from St. Louis and now based on Long Island, NY, is exploring two themes that I find particularly interesting.

One is a series he calls “Rooftops” in which the edges and angles of rooftops form his compositions. Not only do the subjects make for interesting compositions in themselves, the series makes you want to pay attention to rooftops and edges that might otherwise be passed by as commonplace as you walk below them.

The other is a series of still life paintings in which the subjects are seashells. These provide an appealing assortment of colors, textures and interesting shapes, as well as presenting the opportunity to explore the effects of light through their translucent surfaces.

Van Benthuysen’s website includes galleries of those subjects, as well as additional still life subjects, plein air paintings and more. Many of the images are linked to larger versions.

There is also a selection of his small paintings for sale on UGallery.


Nicolai Fechin drawings on Inspiration blog

Nicolai Fechin
Wow. Francis Vallejo has gifted us with a collection of drawings by the superb Russian-American artist Nicolai Fechin on his aptly named Inspiration blog.

Be sure to click on the images for the larger versions; in many cases they are quite large.

Some of the images are a bit rough, I don’t know if that’s a limitation of the photograph or the condition of the originals, but the drawings are so strong they shine through.

Absolutely wonderful.

[Via Paolo Rivera]


Emily Carroll

Emily Carroll
Emily Carroll is an illustrator working in the television animation industry who is also a webcomics artist.

You can find galleries of her illustration and webcomics on her website, as well as additional material on her blog, along with some Flickr sets.

Carroll works in an open line and filled color style, accented with textural and watercolor-like effects. She inks her drawings first on smooth bristol, scans them and applies her colors in Photoshop. There is a bit about her process here.

Her webcomics are often closer to illustrated stories, sometimes dark and inspired by mythological or fairy tale like subjects.

The Prince & The Sea: A Romance (images above, bottom) is a short webcomic/illustrated story that Carroll says was inspired by a dream she had, as well as the illustrations of Henry J. Ford.

[Via The Beat]