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Who Inspires You?

Who are some of the illustrators out there that inspire you? That was the question I asked my fellow contributors here at Once Upon a Sketch. Along with giving me some names, I also wanted to know why they loved their work. This is what I got:

Macky Pamintuan

James Bennett – One of my all-time favorite children’s book illustrators. From colors, to background detail and storytelling, just an overall superb illustrator. His editorial artwork is something I’ve looked up to all the way back to my art school days.

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Peter De Seve – To me, one of the best narrative illustrators in the biz. He’s known for his character designs, and justifiably so, but his compositions and the way he delivers a story in just one image (His New Yorker covers are amazing) is also why I picked him. I also love his muddy watercolor palette and rough, free flowing sketch work that show underneath his paintings.

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Phil Hale – All emotion and kinetic energy. His form & compositions are always inspiring. There is nothing static and boring in his work and I can always feel a dark intimidating energy from them.

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Chris Jones

Robert Williams – During my early school years he was a big inspiration and influence for me. I really admired his painting style and how he mixed it with flat compositional elements. And his mix of car culture and psychedelic and apocalyptic imagery are just plain crazy fun.

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Dan Santat – I really admire his great character designs, sense of humour and playfulness in his work, and his wonderful use of colour.

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Mary Reaves Uhles 

Shaun Tan – I just love the world’s and environments he creates. He really is able to immerse you in a scene that is completely fantastic but believable.

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David Shannon – I like his combination of “old masters” painting style, yet more stylized character design. I think he’s another who can create a beleiveabe world (with his painting style) but his characters tell you you are going on a fun story ride.

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Dan Santat – I’m a huge fan of his also;) I LOVE his angles and the extreme expressions he uses on his characters. He has a great cinematic sense of carrying the story over several scenes.

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Donald Wu

These are my selections;

Scott Gustafson – He’s one of my favorite children’s book illustrators. A traditional oil painter, his paintings have such life and detail. Absolutely love the richness in his palette and the personality he gives his characters. To me, when I think of classic fairy tales, I always think of his work.

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CF Payne – When I was in school, I greatly admired his work in editorial work and caricatures. His caricatures always have such personality and life to them. To me, he’s like a Norman Rockwell with a caricaturist’s flair. Later on, when he also began to illustrate children’s books, that was it for me. His mixed medium technique gives his work such texture and tactile feel, it’s a real treat to see a painting in person.

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Howard McWilliam – His work is just fun! From editorial to children’s illustration, the style of his digital paintings have a nice balance of realistic and cartoon to them. He always uses a fun palette of bright colors and he’s really putting that Gaussian blur filter to good use.

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For creative types, it’s important to have heroes that inspire you. They can motivate you when you find yourself in a creative rut, as well as give you direction as you further your explorations in your craft. Having this list of names can also give you a realistic view of what it takes to be successful, which is especially helpful for those starting out. It can be humbling, sobering, and encouraging, but most importantly…inspiring.

So, let me ask you…who inspires you?

Donald

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