Olivia Huynh is an animator and illustrator currently based in San Francisco. In 2013 She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Animation (with honors). Even before graduating Huynh freelanced at NASA and The Daily Beast. Her student film, Borrowed Light, was official selection in multiple festivals such as Animation Block Party, New Urbanism Film Festival, Beloit International Film Festival and went on to win the Dark Sky Defender Award (2013), Best 2D Animation & Audience Favorite at Jalloo Festival (2013) and Best Student Film at NW Animation Festival (2014).
After graduating Huynh continued freelancing for the likes of FOX ADHD and New York University. She even taught an introductory 2D Animation course at MICA, one year after becoming alumna. Currently, Olivia Huynh’s official job title is “Doodler”. She is part of the Google Doodle team, providing us all those excellent animation on Google’s homepage.
Huynh’s narrative-driven artwork are full of charm. Whether animated or not, you are absorbed into her scenes. She often uses flat fluid shapes to create her humorous characters. When working on backgrounds, however, they are full of details, depth and atmosphere. For someone who claims to be not very good with colour, she certainly hides it well. All of Huynh’s colour choices are rich, striking and enhance the mood perfectly.
Check out Olivia Huynh’s website and Tumblr to see more of her work.
Daniel S. DeCarlo was an illustrator and comics artist best know for his work with Archie Comics. DeCarlo grew up in a poor neighbourhood of New Rochelle, New York but dreamed of becoming an illustrator like his hero, Norman Rockwell. Young DeCarlo attended the New Rochelle High School and upon graduating, he actually phoned Rockwell to discuss his university options. Inevitably, DeCarlo enrolled in the same university that Rockwell’s once attended, the Manhattan’s Art Students League.
After three years at art school, in 1941 DeCarlo was drafted for World War II. Stationed in Great Britain, he originally served in the 8th Air Force worked. However, once his artistic skills were quickly noticed and he was assigned to the drafting department. There he designed posters and advertisements, as well as drawing the weekly military comic strip. DeCarlo also painted cartoon mascots on the nosecones of fighter planes. Whilst overseas he went on a blind date with a Belgium girl called Josette Dumont. She would later become his wife and a source of inspiration.
After the war, the couple returned to New York. Timely Comics had advertised a call for artist. Responding to the advertisement, DeCarlo was invited to meet Timely’s editor-in-chief, Stan Lee. Lee hired DeCarlo and assigned him to the teen-humour series Jeanie. Common for the time, DeCarlo’s work on Jeanie was uncredited. Under the employment of Timely he got his big break when he was reassigned to Millie the Model. Starting in 1949, DeCarlo wrote and drew the romantic (mis)adventures of Millie Collins for a whole decade. Transforming a poorly performing title into a huge success.
During the comic industry’s falter mid-1950’s, DeCarlo was forced to give up his full-time position at Timely and become freelance. This did, however, present some good opportunities. He drew for magazines The Saturday Evening Post and Argosy. He continued working for Timely on a freelance basis and in 1960 partnered with Stan Lee again to create a newspaper comic strip, “Willie Lumpkin the Mailman”. Interesting side note, Willie Lumpkin actually had a cameo in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie, played by none other than, Stan Lee.
During this time DeCarlo came up with a character, Josie, of Josie and the Pussycats fame. He was inspired by his wife’s cat costume for a fancy dress party, and subsequently naming the character after her. However, after approaching and being rejected by a couple of publishers he decided to shelve the idea.
In 1951 DeCarlo starting freelancing for the company for which his name would become synonymous with, Archie Comics. His first published work was issue 4 of Betty and Veronica. He made a conscious effort to keep the characters up to date with fashions, he added the ponytail on Betty and was the artist who gave the Archie girls their simple but distinctive lip line. By the mid-1960s DeCarlo was drawing the covers of all Archie titles, his work became the Archie house style. In 1969 Betty and Veronica had become Archie’s best-selling title. DeCarlo introduced many new characters to the Archie universe. Cheryl Blossom was first featured in Betty and Veronica #320. He also created Sabrina the Teenage Witch along with writer George Gladir.
You remember that idea he shelved? Well, when Archie Comics heard about it, they loved it. In December 1, 1962 Josie was introduced inside the pages of Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals #23. Quickly publishing her own title, She’s Josie, in February 1, 1963. The comic went through a few names changes until finally in December 1969 arriving at the one we are all most familiar with, Josie and the Pussycats. The original trio actually consisted of Josie, Melody and Pepper. Valerie Brown was only introduced at the same time as the name change, replacing Pepper. The name change also saw Josie’s boyfriend, Albert, replaced with dreamy Alan M.
Even with all of the success and joy that Josie gave to DeCarlo, it is sad to know that it was also the catalyst to him leaving Archie Comics. In 2001 at the announcement of the Josie and the Pussycats film, DeCarlo took Archie Comics to court for greater credit and compensation of his creations. There was a lot of back and forth, with Archie Comics claiming they had in fact commissioned DeCarlo to create Josie, making her “work for hire”. Which, if true, would strip DeCarlo of any creator rights to her under copyright law. The Judge ruled in favour of Archie Comics saying DeCarlo had waited too long to assert any rights to Josie, but also dismissed Archie’s counterclaims. So after 43 years, Dan DeCarlo and Archie Comics parted ways.
It should come as no surprise that DeCarlo was still in high demand. He continued working for publishers including DC on a Harley Quinn title and Bongo Comics for The Simpson’s comic. Just a year before the court case, DeCarlo won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Comic Book for Betty & Veronica. That award along with a Shazam Award nomination stand as recognition to his outstanding contribution to the comic industry and highlights the tireless work he put into it.
Jerzy Drozd, the cartoonist and teaching artist, not the “creative bass guitar company with unique design” is the guiding force behind possibly my favourite podcast, Lean Into Art (LIA). He, along with co-host Rob Stenzinger, have consistently thought-provoking topics and discussion. Drozd is also responsible for Comics Are Great!, which among many things, runs regular workshops and events for children and teenagers. With the aim of encouraging them to read more and, of course, learn how to make comics.
Drozd has also started a webcomic called Boulder and Fleet. A new page is released each week and it centers around a bear and a bird, with a host of other animals, whom go on 80s-cartoon-inspired adventures. There’s lots of lasers. Exactly. I will give you a minute to go and bookmark it.
Valentin Seiche is a French cartoonist and comic book creator. Born in 1987, young Seiche basked himself in Super Nintendo, Japanese culture and Japanese art. A combination that would heavily influence the direction of his art style.
If there is a comic on the shelf right now not coloured by Jordie Bellaire, I have not seen it. This weekend, during a quick comic shop, I saw her name on Moon Knight, Convergence Shazam, The Kitchen, Injection and probably a bunch more I did not spot. Jordie Bellaire has been a familiar fixture of our comic shop shelves for much of the last two years. So prolific and wonderful is Ballaire, that last year the industry showed their appriciation in the form of an Eisner award. Which in 22 years only 10 other colourist have earned, Dave Stewart and Chris Ware claiming over half of the awards between them.
Bellaire has worked with close to all of the big comic publisher on many great titles such as, Pretty Deadly, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Zero, and Hawkeye. Along the way, enhansing the pages of many of my favourite current comic artist including Tom Fowler, Chris Samnee, Ramon Perez, Sean Murphy, Becky Cloonan and Emma Rios.
I started collecting comics in a bygone time called the 90s. Back then there was one stamp on the covers of comic far more important than the Comic Code Authority, which was Liquid!. Many of my favourite titles had it and thanks to their distinct logo, one could not miss it. It was the first time I took a real interest in colourist and that apprieciation has grown ever since. I thought at the time this was a shared feeling, however, jump forward 20 years and it seems like the industy and perhaps its audience have not shown colourist the same recognition. In a tumblr post by titled, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” directed at an unnamed fan convention, Bellaire laid it out bare, stating the importanace of all professionals that work in comics, underlining the vital role that colourist play. The post gained the attention that the subject deserved and resulted in fans calling for a #ColoristAppreciationDay on Twitter and opened a discussion that continues today.
To see more of Jordie Bellaire’s work, simply go to your comic shop and pick a comic up from the shelf, chances are she coloured it. You can also check out her tumblr and twitter.