Wednesday, July 18, 2012

day 17: early influences

Yesterday at Imagine Learning we had our first group discussion of Steal Like an Artist. I hate to be so evangelical about it, but it really is an inspiring little book. At the end of the discussion we went around and each named some of our biggest artistic influences, who we admired, and who we "stole" from the most when starting out. Here's my list:

Mary Blair
One of my favorite illustrators ever. I love her sense of design and rhythm. It's whimsical and colorful and of course it's freaking cute!

William Joyce
Admittedly, this was the illustrator I flat out copied while in school. I was especially drawn to the pre-WW2 and 1940's aesthetic and he has the best robot and vehicle design. I also admire his use of space in his illustrations. He paints scenes like they are from the epic golden age of hollywood movies and I learned a lot about space and using foreground elements from him.

If you haven't seen The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore (won Best Animated Short Academy Award earlier this year) at least watch this trailer.

Richard Hull
This is the guy who taught me how to paint. I think everyone in class copied his technique. Richard's paintings are full of fun little details, beautiful color and intricate composition. I got really good at noodling tiny details because of Richard.

Drew Struzan
I always kept trying to figure out how to copy his technique. I used to paint with acrylics, then I tried combining that with colored pencils once I researched how he worked. I never quite got his technique down exactly, but I came up with my own thing by trying to learn it. Which is entirely the point.

JC Leyendecker
The predecessor to Drew Struzan, this is the guy Struzan tried to copy when he started out. Leyendecker's illustrations are luxurious and shiny and elegant. I love the sharp angles and bold brush strokes. I could never come close to imitating him, but he was my favorite of the old school illustrators.

NC Wyeth
Favorite of the Brandywine illustrators (Howard Pyle's school). Great composition, great drama, beautiful color.

A few other artists I love: Jessie Wilcox Smith and Rose O'Neill and Minerva Teichert

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