1. 24

    Nov 2015

    Jason Latour

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    David Jason Latour is an American comic book artist and writer, born in 1977, North Carolina. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in visual arts at East Carolina University. Whilst studying there, he was the head illustrator for school newspaper and began a comic strip called 4 Seats Left (4SL).

    Graduating in 1999, LaTour continued to write, draw, and self-publish his comic, 4SL. His first foray working for a publishers was in 2002, for Funk-O-Tron Comics, where he inked “B-side” stories in Battle Pope. Also around this time, LaTour built an ongoing relationship with Bongo Comics as a Colourist. Later, in 2005, LaTour and writer B. Clay Moore released a short-lived title, The Expatriate, through Image Comics.

    LaTour has since worked on Image, Dark Horse, Marvel and DC properties including Noche Roja, Scalped, Daredevil, Wolverine, B.P.R.D., Winter Soldier and Django Unchained. In 2011, LaTour wrote a four-part creator-owned series, Loose Ends. Published by Gauge Comics, it was drawn by Chris Brunner, with colours by Rico Renzi.

    Currently, LaTour credits include co-creating and writing Marvel’s Spider-Gwen, along with artist by Robbi Rodriguez. In addition to drawing the Image Comics series, Southern Bastards. Jason Aaron writes the hard-boiled tale of Earl Tubb, an angry old man with a very big stick. The Eisner Award-nominated ongoing series has so far been collected into two trade paperback volumes. This year, LaTour won the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award for Best Comic Book Artist.

    To see more of Jason Latour’s artwork, head over to DeviantArt, Tumblr and Instagram

  2. 23

    Nov 2015

    Manga Mondays ~ Joël Jurion

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    Joël Jurion is a French comic book artist born in 1975. He started his artistic career in 1999 and by a chance meeting with Thierry Cailleteau at Normandiebulle festival, Jurion was asked to illustrate Cailleteau’s upcoming project, Anachron. Starting in 2001, the series went on for six years and was very successful. Straight after, Jurion was snapped up for a new series, Les Démons de Dunwich, written by Steve Baker.

    2013 saw the culmination of Jurion’s partnership with prolific writer, Antoine Ozenam, and colourist Yoann Guillé in the form of Klaw. Published in French by Le Lombard, Klaw’s first arc was broken down into five books. The series has been very popular is ongoing. In fact, earlier this year Magnetic Press Announced it is publishing an English-translated collected edition of Klaw, set for release in April 2016.

    You can find more of Joël Jurion’s work on DeviantArt. He even has some process videos on YouTube. A word of warning, Jurion’s illustrations are on the risqué side.

  3. 22

    Nov 2015

    Rob Schrab

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    You may know Rob Schrab as the writer of feature films Monster House (2006) and Channel 101 (2004), or as the co-creator The Sarah Silverman Program. Perhaps you recognise his name because it was recently announced Schrab will direct The Lego Movie Sequel. I will be honest, until very recently, I had no idea of any of that. For me, the name “Rob Schrab” is synonymous with the comic series Scud: The Disposable Assassin.

    Scud was an off-the-wall tale of a disposable vending machine robot whose only objective was to dispose of a target and then self-destruct. After accidently realising the catch-22 of his purpose, rather than killing his target, Jeff, Scud instead incapacitates her. Scud then begins a career as a freelance mercenary to cover Jeff’s medical bills. Not content with unorthodox beginnings, Scud: TDA quickly descends into an Oddball adventure of biblical proportions.

    In 1998, Scud: TDA went into an indefinite hiatus after issue #20, due to Schrab growing dissatisfied of the plot. The publisher, Fireman Press, established for the purpose of printing Scud, was dissolved after a falling out with Schrab over rights. Despite this, and to much of the fan’s satisfaction, Scud: TDA was finally revisited in 2008, with a 4-part conclusion published by Image Comics.

    At the time of Scud’s heyday, in the mid to late 90s, I was eagerly picking up comics by smaller and independent publishers. Titles including CreeD (Hall of Heroes / Lightning Comics), The Tick (New England Comics Press) and The Sleeze Brothers (Epic Comics), to name a few. These smaller publishers were usually putting out much more unconventional stories, comletely unhindered by the Comics Code Authority and commercial burdens. Looking back, I will admit Scud’s artwork was a little untamed compared to the larger publishers, but the story and energy took you on a ride that was not matched in their titles. However, the artwork did not bother me at the time. The enthusiasm of Schrab and his jam-pack pages, though imperfect, told the story perfectly.

    To the dismay of many, Rob Schrab has stated that he has no plans for further issues of Scud or any of its spin-off characters. It looks like, for now at least, he is firmly focused on his film and television commitments. If you happen to be looking for an alternative to the perfectly polished work on the shelves these days, I would strongly suggest picking up some issues of Scud: The Disposable Assassin.

  4. 21

    Nov 2015

    Mikhail Vyrtsev

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    Mikhail Vyrtsev, aka Reey Whaar, is a Russian watercolour artist. Born in 1988, Moscow, Vyrtsev studied cooking for a year then changed to graphic design. He worked as shipment handler for Danone before realising that he really wanted to be an illustrator.

    His satirical and surreal watercolour paintings have been featured in magazines including Playboy, Men’s Health, PROsport, and Psychologies. Vyrtsev combines humour with the unsettling, positions objects uncomfortably close together, uses desaturated colors and faithful details to create poignant illustrations.

    You can find more of his work on his website, and follow him on Instagram.

  5. 20

    Nov 2015

    Fashion Fridays ~ Gerd Grimm (1911 – 1998)

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    Gerd Grimm was born 1911 in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1929 he began his studies at The State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe under the tutelage of German painters Wilhelm Schnarrenberger and Karl Hubbuch, and later attended The Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg. In 1933 he moved to Berlin continuing his art studies at Berlin University of the Arts. Graphic designer, Oskar Hermann Werner Hadank, was his professor was among others. It was also here that Grimm met his met his partner and future wife, Hilde van Gülick.

    Grimm finished his studies around the same time Nazis were gaining power. He started a promising career in illustration, receiving commissions for covers of prominent fashion magazines such as Silberspiegel, Die Dame and Elegante Welt. He also provided artwork for cigarette brands Muratti Ariston, Reemtsmas Ova, and sparkling wine, Kupferberg. However, by 1935, with the introduction of The Nuremberg Laws, Grimm was labelled a “Half-Jew.” Aware of his dwindling career opportunities in Germany, he decided to move to Le Havre, Paris.

    His relocation to France did not last as long as he intended and returned to Berlin the following year. However, due to increased pressure on Jewish citizens, Grimm and Hilde emigrated again, this time to England. And for a second time they returned home. He did manage to get work, but only with the help of Hilde and amicable publishers. During this period, he and his drawings became disconnected, culminating in not signing much of his work. This disconnection cultivated a deep anxiety against public appearances. Also during the Second World War his Berlin apartment was destroyed along with many of his early works which served to further deepen the creative mire he was in.

    Post-war, between 1945 and 1951, Grimm was far more productive. He had a drive akin to a young raw artist, thriving in an environment without restrictions. He began working for fashion magazines again. In particular Die Frau (The Woman), which in it’s relatively short run from 1946 to 1950, Grimm produced 61 of the 90 covers. During this time, Grimm was doing much better financially and decided to take a trip to New York. There he found work easily and was in demand from American magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Esquire. Though they thought about staying, ultimately his wife felt homesick, and so the couple returned to Germany.

    Now an international illustrator, Grimm’s work and reputation preceded him. Allowing him the freedom to take on a wide range of illustration and design projects for swimwear, clothing, perfume, cigarette and whisky companies. Also drawing book covers, notably for Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, and Thornton Wilder.

    At the end of the 1950s, Grimm entered a deal with cigarette company Reval. Creating multiple posters fitting with the pop art movement, expressive colour choices such as blue faces and green hair. Grimm had updated his style to match current trends but was careful not loose everything that made his artwork so distinctive.

    He did not really correct his lines. He would keep all his strokes regardless, eschewing perfection. Another one of his notable techniques was to leave large portions of the image incomplete, hinting at, and purposely omitting details leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks.

    Thanks to his success, mostly due to his Reval commissions, Grimm took Hilde and their son around the world. Travelling to New York again, as well as California, Alaska, Antigua, South America, South Africa, and the Far East. He produced hundreds of illustrations during his travels. Unpolished, expressive, often intense illustrations of everything from subway passengers and street musicians to Bolivian slums and deserted villages. Much of this work has never been published.

    To the best of my knowledge, there has only ever been two exhibitions dedicated to Gerd Grimm. Both in Germany, and both celebrating the centenary year of his birth. “Gerd Grimm’s 100th Birthday: Fashion, Girls, Megacities” at the Kunsthalle Messmer (Messmer Foundation) and “The new elegance: The fashion designer Gerd Grimm” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg). In 2014, his work was featured in the UK exhibition “Drawing on Style: Four Decades of Elegance” at Gallery 8, alongside other great fashion illustrators including René Bouché, René Gruau and Carl Erickson.

    The best place to find out more about Gerd Grimm is on the Grimm Foundation website.

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