Neill Cameron is a freelance illustrator, writer, and teacher based in Oxford, England. Much of his focus and effort goes into making awesome comics for young readers. His work regularly appears in the weekly children’s comic The Phoenix. Currently, he is writing and drawing Mega Robo Bros for The Phoenix, as well as writing Tamsin and the Deep, illustrated by Kate Brown.
This year Cameron released the pirate and dinosaur extravaganza, The Pirates of Pangaea, which he co-write with Daniel Hartwell. Previously he had published Mo-Bot High. A comic that was originally serialised in The Phoenix’s predecessor, The DFC and later, in 2013, compiled into a graphic novel. Cameron accumulated his knowledge of the comic-making process into the children-friendly guidebook, How To Make Awesome Comics.
Cameron’s passion and ambition to inspire children through comics and illustration is displayed in his various workshops. He travels the UK giving talks in schools and libraries, demonstrating the role comics can play in children’s literacy and creativity. He is also currently the artist in residence at The Story Museum in Oxford, where he has contributed several large-scale comic strip installations and is involved in comics-based education and activities. I have a sneaky suspicion that if Neill Cameron ever met Jerzy Drozd they would get on like a house on fire.
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.
Since its launch in 2011 Gumroad has fast become the one of the most popular platforms for creatives to sell their digital content. However, Gumroad is purposely designed without a centralised area of search and discovery, instead the emphasis is on the creators to direct their audience. Which makes it impossible to just stumble on all that great content. You can find some good stuff in the Gumroad Collections section, but that really does not even scratch the surface of how many gems the site has.
So I took it upon myself to put together a list of 28 Gumroad creators you really should know:
Comics & Sketchbooks
1. Carey Pietsch – Many of the Brooklyn-based illustrator’s acliamed comics, including her Keepsakes stories.
2. Anna Cattish – The popular comic artist and character designer is currently selling a special digital edition of her Sketchbook 2014.
3. Edward Ross – A small collection of comics from Edinburgh-based comic book artist, including Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film.
4. Eric Grissom – A Couple of free comics from the writer and letterer of the comic series Deadhorse.
5. Evan Dahm – Comics and sketchbooks from the creator and illustrator of the Rice Boy webcomic.
6. Ian Andersen – A host of comics from the cartoonist behind the daily auto-bio journal comic, Citric Journal.
7. Ian Lawrence – A collection of sketchbooks from the North Carolina illustrator and tattoo designer, Inkloose.
8. Lucy Bellwood – Many nutical-themed comics from the ship-sailing cartoonist.
9. Maré Odomo – Comics and drawings from the Seattle illustrator.
10. Natalie Nourigat – Sketchbooks from the Eisner-nominated writer and cartoonist.
11. Polly Guo – Both volumes of Houdini & Holmes, from the New York-base comic artist and animator.
12. Rachel Kahn – Comics and drawings from the illustrator and concept artist.
13. Retrofit Comics – A publishing house, founded by Box Brown, features an array of comic from various illustrators.
14. Sam Bosma – Currently hosting his highly praised comic, The Hanging Tower.
15. Sarah Horrocks – A small collection of comics from the writer and artist.
16. Will Terrell – The sketchbooks of popular YouTube illustrator.
17. Yale Stewart – More comics from the creator of webcomic JL8.
Tools & Tutorials
18. Adam Duff – Digital painting tutorials from the Canadian concept artist.
19. Alexandre diboine – Character design video tutorial that includes the brushes used.
20. Dave Rapoza – In-depth video tutorials from the phenomenal freelance illustrator and comic artist.
21. Eytan Zana – Beautiful landscape video tutorials covering colour, light and composition.
We asked 200 artists one question.”If I was a magic genie, and could make a book that would solve all of your art problems, what would that book be?” We got many different answers, but after a while, we started to see similar patterns in their responses. Most common problems had to do with character design, movement, facial expressions & drawing hands. 21 Draw solves all of these problems.
21 Draw is a book about character design, movement and expression drawn by over 100 amazing artists who have worked for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Rockstar Games, Marvel, D.C Comics, Capcom and other giants of the entertainment and gaming industry.
The Book Review:
21 Draw is the exact type of project that could only be conceived and delivered with today’s social media and crowd-funding backdrop. The Lounge was lucky enough to be contacted by Chris O’Hara about the project very early on. So, in May last year, once the project went live on Indiegogo we watched in anticipation how well it would be received. However, with the roster of phenomenal artist including Steve Rude, Ariel Olivetti, Kim Jung Gi, Artgerm, Loish, Phobes and many other industry giants attached to 21 Draw, we needn’t fret. In just one week the project raised $77,000. Over the course on May 2,337 backers raised $150,181, more than 3 times its original goal.
The 21 Draw dream was to be both an artbook and a reference book. It focused on answering common artist problems. After surveying 200 artist, the recurring topics were a lack of good character references, action poses, drawing faces and (no surprise) drawing hands.
Addressing this, the book is broken up by character type, for each character the artists produce two pages of headshots, turnarounds, action poses and hands. Included are common characters tropes such as adventurer, detective, hero, magician, pirate, princess and more, as well as quite a few not so common ones, like Kawai Tokyo girl. I enjoy this repetitive nature of the book, comparing how each illustrator manage the same brief. All artist, except Kim Jung Gi, whom the editor thought would be “cool” to give him a much looser brief, I think most of us would agree.
As well as being categorised reference book, 21 Draw includes 13 tutorials, in which the artist explain their process from sketch to the final image. Including what medium and programmes they work in and a few neat tricks. I love going behind-the-curtain of such skilled illustrators. Out of all the tutorials, for me, the highlight was Steve Rude’s four pages. I would more than happily buy a full book of just those.
Flicking through the book, just when you think you have had your fill of inspiration, it keeps going. Like a five-course-meal, with two deserts. 21 Draw is an achievement that not only collates an excellent array of talent, it is genuinely helpful. Even if it is just a springboard of inspiration, the quality and diversity of the illustrations; both in terms of style and subject, will undoubtedly earn 21 Draw a permanent space on your drawing desk.
A follow-up book titled 21 Draw: Illustrators Guidebook is in the works which I am very excited to see what it has in store. You can find out more about that on their Facebook page.
Hardback or Paperback
215 x 255mm
Californian Illustrator Bill Cone is well known for his sensational pastel artwork and his ongoing contribution to Pixar Animation Studios. He studyied Painting at San Francisco State University before going on to study Illustration at Art Center College of Design. After his graduation, Cone embarked on a career as a landscape painter and for over 17 years he has exhibited annually, both in group and one-man shows.
Cone is both a Production Designer and Teacher at Pixar. He has produced lighting studied, worked as a storyboard artist, background painter, and character designer. On top of all these roles, for over 10 years, Cone has taught light and color classes to the Pixar alumni. He has contributed to successful animations such as Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Ratatouille (2007), and Up (2009). Interestingly, it was during work on A Bug’s Life that he started using pastels to do lighting studies. Enjoying them very much and seeing their speed benefits, he decided to use pastels in his personal work too.
You can see much more of Bill Cone’s wonderful artwork on his blog, which he couples with eloquent and verbose descriptions.