If there is one (non-superpower) skill I wish I could acquire without having to spend thousands of hours practicing, it’s illustration. I took a bunch of drawing in college but I was never that great and I’ve let myself go out of practice. I look at a lot of illustrators work today and it makes me jealous! Illustration can really kick up the awesomeness level of any project.
I also find that Illustrators tend to take good care of their websites. Perhaps it is because the web is just another canvas, and just as they wouldn’t allow ugly, out-of-place marks on their illustrations they don’t allow ugly out-of-place elements on their websites.
Here are just a few illustrators that I like, that I include here just because I follow them on Twitter and interact with them a bit.
Apparently the Niener family is made up of some seriously talented people. I’ve known Doug for a while and he consistently blows my mind with his coding and design skills. John does the same with his illustration. Interestingly, John doesn’t seem to have one particular style. The only common thread I see is unbelievably good. John will be heading up Pixel Graphic Design Studio refocused on print and illustration work. He is @johnneiner on Twitter, johnneiner on Dribbble, and has an eBook on vector graphics.
Good timing with this post, as Joe just redesigned his website and it’s kick ass. You get a great sense of his style, his humor, and plenty of examples of his work. Definitely spend some time there if you haven’t seen it yet. I knew I liked Joe after I read this part of an interview: What, or who are your influences for your illustration style? “The band logos 15 year olds draw on their Biology notebook covers.” Joe is on Twitter @hugsformonsters.
Luc’s style reminds me a bit of the style of Samurai Jack which is definitely one of my favorite cartoons of all time. His illustrations are typically people-based and are playful, energetic and just plain fun to look at. Luc has a portfolio site, is @luclatulippe on Twitter, and Tumbles (is that what we are calling it?)
Jonathan says “I enjoy the puzzles of design and creating cool and engaging solutions to visual problems.” I think that comes across strongly in his work, especially in the covers and posters which are always well put together, thought out concepts. Jonathan is @jtwilcox on Twitter, tumbles, and has a portfolio site.
I love how prolific Ricardo is. You can see his work on his Behind the Websites site as well Smashing Magazine. I first heard of him as he did the custom illustratons for the Front End Design Conference last year, as he did this year. His style is full of simple satire. Some of it works better than others, but hey, that’s life right? There is no mistaking a Ricardo illustration with anybody else and there is something to be said about owning a style like that.
Marc work is just as much about the writing as it is about the drawing. Think of what a drawing with the text “Three hairy legs belonging to aristocrats” looks like and you will probably be right. I think there is an addicting quality to his drawings where I just want to see more and more and more of them. That quality makes the book super great, amusingly named “Serious Drawings.” Marc has a personal site, is @marcjohns on Twitter (sweet background), and keeps a log of his drawings on Flickr. I really like how Marc stopped selling prints of work because he thinks people should own original artwork.
If you have some favorite illustrators of your own, please link them up!
Agreed, that would be one talent I wished to have possessed. Illustrations are an incredible addition to any project.
Von Glitschka has his site at Art Backwash!. Prolific and shares his illustrative insights and techniques on many of his projects.
I recently came across the work of Matt Hamm – http://www.matthamm.com – which I like muchio.
Liston is an old friend of mine, so I guess I might be a little biased, but I really admire his work. This is one of my favs (based on the idiom): Pic here
Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a long time illustrator and short time web designer, I’m always interested to see examples of where the two practices meet, and you’ve showcased some lovely ones.
you should checkout http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/ I find it very inspirational.
I feel the same way, I took about 5 drawing classes in college and for some reason to this day even with practice I still have a hard time with illustration, but luckily I found my niche in Web Design, but it would be nice to add in those illustrator touches.
Nice post :)
Some of my fav’s
Alex Ross – http://www.alexrossart.com
Skottie Young – http://www.skottieyoung.com
All men, huh?
They are all human beings too. Can you believe I had the gall not to include any Elephant illustrators?
Somewhat disingenuous reply Chris.
Your elephant quip is just an smokescreen for lack of understanding of gender politics.
Nowhere do women get the same opportunities or props as men.
is that what you call (on your website) “Unbiased advice on your web presence” ? It sounds pretty biased to me.
I’m not sure mjp was actually accusing Chris of excluding female artists in the first place, but I’m pretty confident that Chris’ “quip” only illustrates the point that he was choosing without regard to gender.
@Pam: proof? im all for gener neutrality, but baseless claims without hard evidence is more of a smokescreen then what chris posted.
Well, I added link to girl illustrator, but it *cough*probably blocked by anti-spam*cough*.
You didn’t hear? Girls aren’t allowed to draw. THANKS A LOT OBAMA.
theres is a japanese girl, i cant remember the name, and a colombia dude, Leo Spinosa, they both have grat works
He’s awesome also.
I wish I was born with Illustrator ability built-in
I never had the time to learn how to use illustrator I think is kind of different than learning Photoshop (vectors). I think these skills are 100% useful for commercial aspects and more important for cartoon messages. What do you think?
We’re not talking Illustrator (the software), we’re talking illustrator (the person who makes illustrations – maybe using software, maybe not).
But to answer your question, yeah, vector drawings are a whole different ball game.
Good to see how a young designer like Jonathan Wilcox succeeds to be more expressive when designing within the limits of the medium. The Posters for instance look like traditional graphic printmaking, (and maybe they aren’t, and is it mimicking lithography etc. with vector drawing software) but what I want to point out here is that, by constraining oneself to a limited set of visual means, one can create great visual impact and expression. Reinventing a great tradition in the digital age, one really should limit oneself with the expressional elements; color, structure, shapes etc., when creating artwork with the very wide (but also not limitless) possibilities of vector drawing software tools, I feel.
Great ! I like http://www.mcbess.com/
Agreed totally, I wish I had the “superpower” of illustration. I am always jealous of all the awesome Illustrators out there.
Great list of artists though, I found a couple I really like!!
There are lots of good illustrators these day, but most of them are not publishing their works on the web.
Thanks Chris! I’m grateful for the kind words and for being included in such a great group of illustrators! :)
I’m a big fan of illustrative work, like the post says, it’s always nice to see some illustrative work in web design. My favorite web designs out of all these illustrators is Ricardo Gimenes and Mark Johns. They are completely different styles but both have an amazing creative and unique style that illustrators manage to achieve.
Hey, nice list of illustrators… In my spare time I try to draw and paint using my wacom tablet, the biggest problem I find is since getting a full time job developing websites I have less and less time to devote to my illustration work or I’ve got to much on to focus on something different. I haven’t sat down and drawn in quite a while now… but you have definitely inspired me to spend more time drawing.
All I can say Chris is just study an artist you like and practice practice practice.
Nice article, Chris.
First time commenting so I have to take this opp to say thanks for the site.
i like http://www.vision18.co.in/studio
If you haven’t been to his site I am a huge fan of Eric Tan’s style. You must check it out. http://erictanart.blogspot.com/
I really dig Nick La’s work as well.
Attempt № 2
Superb team work…
Guys look this wonder drawings and theme
Illustrations are quite great for inspiration, thanks for sharing!
I agree, illustration would be a handy talent to posses!
Nearly forgot – http://lucy.beat13.co.uk/
Leigh Way – he has work on his Blogspot and deviantART pages. I also built his Popcorn Strips website.
Hey Chris, thanks so much for the generous write-up, and for including me alongside so much awesome talent. I’m honoured!
Nice list. As a traditional artist and web designer myself, I’m having a hard time trying to redesign my website so it makes some sense. I think Joe Lifieri’s site does a nice job of integrating his web and fine art work, and I’m going to look towards sites like his as inspiration for the redesign. And, his work is awesome.
Got to crab about one thing though….I can’t wait to get past the whole robot trend. I’ll be happy if I never see another robot, sock monkey, cute monster, zombie or pirate ever again.
so you’re okay with the sparkly vampires?
Excellent Illustrator from INDIA worked for many Big companies