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.
I was first attracted to his work via his Tumblr, where he posts up daily observational drawings. Usually sat in a coffee shop, Valeza produces quick brush pen sketches of people, capturing their personality and style with limited strokes. Then in turn includes his observations into his comics, adding the small details that bring his characters to life.
You can find more of Dave Valeza’s work on his website.
There is no shortage of “must read webcomics” lists, both The Mary Sue and io9 have excellent lists. However, sometimes too much of a good thing is…actually a good thing!
This list is based on webcomics that I have enjoyed or am currently enjoying. Undoubtedly there is always going to be some crossover with the many other lists out there, which is usually a good indication that you should read it already. With that said, I have also included some webcomics that don’t often make these types of lists. Seasoned Loungers may recognise quite a few of the names, as many illustrators on the list have been featured previously.
In no particular order, here is the Illustrator’s Lounge’s list of 15 Webcomics You Really Should Read:
3. Spera Comic
The fantasy world of Spera, created and written by Josh Tierney invites artists from around the world to collaborate to each tell a small part of a greater story. The story so far has featured over 40 artist including Afu Chan and Timothy Weaver. The ongoing main Spera story has been collected into hardcover books, with three volumes currently released.
4. Tiny Kitten Teeth The Tiny Kitten Teeth is a beautiful hand painted comic by Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson. It features a charismatic cat named Mewsli, which we follow in a world of vibrant and surreal adventures.
5. Nimona Nimona is the fantastic medieval tale of the villainous Lord Ballister Blackheart and his spunky sidekick, Nimona. Created by Noelle Stevenson, who is currently writing for the Lumberjanes comic and Wander Over Yonder animation. You can read the first three chapters online, and read the story in its entirety in the HarperTeen collected verion.
6. Delilah Dirk
The stunning artwork of Tony Cliff really brings the characters of Delilah Dirk and her sidekick, Selim, to life as they travel around early 19th century Constantinople. You can read the first two volumes online now, which concludes in the First Second published book, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. Tony Cliff is currently working on the follow-up wich is set to be an even bigger visual feast.
7. Skull Chaser Jake Parker is no stranger to delightful children-friendly comics, as proven with his contributions to the Flight Anthologies and his character, Missile Mouse. Skull Chaser marks Jake Parker’s first webcomic, and with issue one already under his belt, it is shaping up to be an action-packed sci-fi tale.
8. As the Crow Flies As the Crow Flies is the touching tale by Melanie Gillman. Illustrated entirely with colour pencils, it began life in 2012 and is still ongoing, with updates usually falling on Mondays and Fridays.
9. Sin Titulo Cameron Stewart is the current co-writer of Batgirl and artist of Fight Club 2 comics, but way back in 2007 he started a compelling mystery webcomic called Sin Titulo. It was completed in 2012, and compiled into a book and published by Dark Horse in 2013.
Winner of the Eisner, Harvey and Shel Dorf Award for best webcomic, Battlepug is Mike Norton’s Conan-inspired oddball action-adventure. Originally created to back up the creation of Norton’s t-shirt design, the webcomic spawned a life of it’s own, and has recently concluded volume 4. Our hero, The Warrior, fueled by revenge rides around on a gigantic talking pug battling monsters and mages. Exactly, what’s not to love.
11. Axe Cop
I do believe that most people have heard of the incredibly popular Axe cop webcomic. Its success has birthed toys, t-shirts, card games and even a TV Show on Fox. Created and drawn by Ethan Nicolle, it is based on the musings of his 5-year-old brother, Malachai.
12. Table Titans
Updated every Thursdays, Kurtz started Table Titans in 2014 as a spinoff of PvP. The creative team consists of Scott Kurtz writing and illustrating, the incredible Steve Hamaker (of Bone fame) as colourist, and Brian Hurtt doing the breakdowns.
13. The Abominable Charles Christopher
Starting way back in 2007, The Abominable Charles Christopher is sensitively illustrated by Karl Kerschl. It follows our protagonist, a sasquatch called Charles Christopher, and the lives of his forest friends. The story so far has also been collected in two volume, both in soft cover and strokable faux suede hardcover, which you can find in Karl Kerschl’s store.
14. Twilight Monk
I have been a fan of Trent Kaniuga ever since his Creed days, so it is no surprise that I am loving his current series Twilight Monk. It started in 2010, with the intentions of being a video game, it has so far concluded two books. Kaniuga is constantly expanding the Twilight Monk universe and is now working on an illustrated novel called The Man and The Moonkin.
15. Green Monk
From one monk to another, Green Monk concludes our lists. Starting late last year, the bi-weekly webcomic follows the adventures of the lone monk Alexey armed with a magical grass-blade. It is the continuation of Brandon Dayton graphic novel, of the same name. The webcomic artwork and storytelling is a big step up from the original graphic novel, which makes for some stunning illustration.
Croatian illustrators Tonči Zonjić (pronouced TAWN-chih ZAWN-yitch) has been called “a master of cinematic comics”, which, I am inclined to agree with.
Zonjić was born in 1986, originally studied Math at the Natural Sciences High School, with the intentions of going into Computer Programming. Then one fateful day the wonderful word of art took hold of him. Originally Zonjić studied Graphic Design, but found it was not a good fit for him due to a desire to draw more, so after a year he switched gears and joined the Fine Arts Academy to study Animation. Though happier there, the course did not sustain him and Zonjić dropped out after two years to become a freelance illustrator.
During his time as a freelancer Zonjić worked on storyboards, advertisements, book covers, and had a weekly newspaper slot drawing portraits. He dipped his feet into comic via Darko Macan’s fanzine Q strip.
Working as a freelancer, and having the chance to grow as a comic artist through shorter strips, Zonjić became very comfortable handling all parts of the comic process from story to pencils, inks, color and letters. So when he entered the American comic world with Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist series by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, he was already exhibiting confident clear storytelling. Since then he has worked on both Marvel and DC titles, Mike Allred’s Madman, Mike Mignola’s Lobster Johnson and Ales Kot’s Zero.
2011 saw the release of his collaboration with writer Nathan Edmondson, Who Is Jake Ellis? The spy thriller, entirely drawn and coloured by Zonjić, really allows him to explore a more cinematic approach to storytelling. Using colour heavily to help differentiate scenes, reminiscent of 100 Bullets. In the follow-up, Where is Jake Ellis? Zonjić just blows it out of the water. Everything is tightened, from the design and layouts to the pacing, and showing much more confident as a colourist. With the fifth and final issue of Where is Jake Ellis? yet to be released with no annonuced release date, the complete trade paperback however, is set for release in July 2015.
Other than picking up the Jake Ellis comics, which you really should do, you can also see more of Tonči Zonjić’s work on his website and blog.
Kim Jung Gi is a Korean artist based in Goyang-Si, South Korea. He studied 3 years at the Dong-Eui university of Busan, and majored in Art and design. Following his studies, Kim served 2 years mandatory military service. This experience allowed him to get up close to a multitude of weapons, which he memorised and draws upon as reference.
Kim has worked on multiple comic books, his first in 2003 was called Funny Funny, published in Young Jump. He has also illustrated 6 volumes of Tiger the Long Tail (TLT) written by Seung-jin Park. More recently Kim collaborated with Jean-David Morvan on comic book Spy Games, published by les Editions Glénat. Currently available in French with the possibility of it being released in other languages soon.
Not contempt with keeping busy producing comics and a very popular sketchbooks series, Kim teaches at, and manages an art school, AniChanga.
Though Kim Jung Gi does have a distinctive manga style as a middle ground, he also swings from very realistic to a more simplified and exaggerated style. Another important part of Kim’s work is his ability to work completely without prior sketches or a photographic reference. He has mastered the ability to visualize the drawing clearly before making a single mark on the paper.
“I observe things all the time. I don’t take references while I’m drawing, but I’m always collecting visual resources. I observe them carefully on daily basis, almost habitually. I study images of all sorts and genres.”
Watch an excelent video of him demonstrating this ability here.
You can also find more of Kim Jung Gi’s work here, here and here.