Zac Retz is a colour artist and character designer for games, film and animation. He had been working at games company Workinman Interactive since 2013, until recently deciding to become freelance. Part of the decision to freelance was so he could work on his own animated short. He has set up a Patreon to cover some of the costs. In return he shares the visual development process as well as tutorials.
Retz’s artwork is stunning owing a lot of its appeal to his understanding of light and colour. Adjusting between realism to expressionism to better suit the story and mood. All of his portfolio is filled with charming illustrations, but his more romantic ones are especially alluring, as they do perfectly convey the emotions of the characters.
You may perhaps already recognise his work from a previous Lounge feature, Gustavo Soares, who turned one of Retz’s images into 3D.
Svetlana Makarova is a fashion illustrator based in Kiev, Ukraine. Without any formal art training, Makarova quit her job as a manager and began to teach herself. She studied Corel DRAW and eventually got a job as a web designer, moving to three different design studios before feeling ready to begin freelancing and concentrate on her illustrations.
With an interest in fashion from a young age, Makarova’s naturally veered in that direction. Her love of fashion and sensibilities for detail really bring personality to her characters. I particularly like her “New Old Tales” project in which she dressed familiar fairytale characters in the latest Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen collections. The juxtaposition actually works surprisingly well.
You may recognise Natalie Nourigat’s name from our recent 28 Gumroad Creators You Really Should Know post, but undoubtably you would like to learn a little bit more about her. “Tally” is a cartoonist, storyboard artist, character designer, animator and writer. She attended University of Oregon and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese, in 2010.
Tally is currently working on a creator-owned serialised comic, Over the Surface. The 10-issue miniseries will be published in 2016 by Oni Press. She has started a Patreon for it, where patrons are privy to behind-the-scenes process and artwork.
What is next for the multi-skilled and multi-disciplined Tally? Well, she recently moved to Los Angeles, California to begin her new role Story Apprentice at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Sounds about right. I will be looking forward to her future projects.
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.
Einar Nerman was a Swedish artist, illustrator and musician. Born to a middle-class family in the city of Norrköping. Nerman was one of three children. Birger Nerman, his twin brother, was a professor, author and later the head of the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities. Ture Nerman, his older brother, was a political activist, journalist, author, and poet.
Einar Nerman, at the age of 17, decided to move to Stockholm to study art. Three years later, in 1908 Nerman moved again, this time to France. He began studying at the newly established Académie Matisse in Paris. A non-commercial school set up by French artist Henri Matisse, there the famed painter would guide and tutor young artists. The school operated until 1911.
After Paris, Nerman returned to Sweden, this time to study music and dance. Around the same time he started illustrating sheet music covers (he would continue to do so into the 1930’s). In 1919 he left for London to dance in the Ballet. Though he found the Ballet was not for him, the experience would prove beneficial as the contacts he made helped him earn a post at Tatler Magazine and Eve Magazine (previously The Gentlewoman). For both magazines he worked as a cartoonist, drawing caricatures of society figures. At this time Nerman, considered a socialite himself, had friends including actors Alla Nazimova and Greta Garbo, as well as composer Ivor Novello. So the role suited him well.
In 1921 Nerman returned home for a second time. He illustrated children’s books, notably those of Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf. He composed music to many of his older brother’s poems, as well as designing book covers for his socialist writings. Nerman also designed movie posters, postcards, and advertisements. However, of all the work he did during this period, the artwork that is most recognized for in Sweden today, is his illustration for the Solstickan matchbox.
After World War II began Nerman was forced to leave Sweden. He moved to New York City, where due to his previous experience and reputation, found work easily. He picked up drawing caricatures again, often of film stars. Not returning to Sweden until 1950. Nerman died in 1983 at the ripe old age of 95.
In 1976, the book, Caught in the Act (Harrap), collected many of Einar Nerman’s illustrations and caricatures. You can find second-hand copies very cheap, and it is a great place to start looking into more of Nerman’s work. You should also check out 50 Watts which has a collection of both his sheet music cover and children book illustrations.
Laphet is a professional digital artist from South Korea. Upon first looking at her work you may mistakenly liken it for a more realistic version of Mabel Lucie Attwell. However, upon a second reading it is clear Laphet’s illustrations substitute to “cute” for the “creepy”.
Large-eyed children often look straight at you. Instead of having a dead stare at is usual for invoking eeriness, Laphet’s characters clearly have their cogs turning, as if they are plotting against you, the viewer. Uncomfortable, yes, but beautiful nonetheless.
You can find more of Laphet’s work on her DeviantArt page, and her more recently launched Tumblr.
Giovanni Da Re is a freelance illustrator based in Ancona Area, Italy. From 1997 – 2001 he studied illustration at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED). Straight after graduating Da Re began his freelance journey. Comfortable in multiple style, he creates artwork for editorial, young adult books and textbooks, adapting to suit the audience. His editorial work is frequently published and selected for Communication Arts, Creative Quarterly, and 3×3 magazine.
Da Re’s illustrations are created intirely digitally. His strength of colour selection is something that really stands out when looking through his portfolio. His colour palettes are very harmonious, but often exploit complimentary colours to draw the users focus. I also like when he exagerats the angles of his characters and backgrounds, adding interest and a touch of quirk.
Josh Hurley is a British illustrator and screen printer, based in Hertfordshire, England. He studied illustration at Falmouth University and after graduating he interned with Print Club London. It was there he developed his screen printing skills. Subsequently, Hurley along with his friend, Oliver Moinet, formed an independent screen printing studio called The Key Print House. Where they not only offer print services, they put their design and illustrations skills to good use.
Over time, Hurley has worked with clients such as Jamie Oliver, Tesco, and The Canal & River Trust. As well as exhibiting in the Print Club London Group Show 2013, Illustrato.rs Line Up 2013 and New Designers 2012. Also nice to know is that Hurley shares his illustrating knowledge with the new generation of artist, teaching art classes for Fine Art For Kids.