Martin Brown, along with his partner in crime Terry Deary, are heroes to parents and children across the world. Their combined efforts on Horrible Histories has made reading and learning more fun and accessible to many. Their work, along with their publisher’s Scholastic, have spawn over 100 titles, animated and live-action TV series, video games, theatre and roadshows, a magazine, and a plethora of merchandising. Spanning two decades, Horrible Histories is nothing short of a phenomenon.
Martin Brown was born 1959 in Melbourne, Australia. After setting his mind on teaching he went to college to become an art teacher. However, he didn’t see it through, rather after a short couple of years working in television, Brown packed his bags and set off to see the world. Like many Aussies, he made his way to London, but unlike most he decided to stay. One can only assume it was the great weather and pace of life that persuaded him. Alternatively, it could have been that fact that he started to get work in what he loved doing, drawing.
Brown worked his way up, starting from the odd editorial illustration to greeting cards.
Side note, I went through a phase of collecting greeting cards. Buying one if I ever saw an illustration I liked. Martin Brown’s work being a perticular favourite of mine, I still have them stored away.
Building up a reputation, Brown soon started drawing for magazines and books. His career got the boost it needed when he landed the job of illustrating Peter Corey’s book, Coping With Parents. The book was published by Hippo Books, an imprint of Scholastic, beginning Brown’s fruitful relationship them. More recently, Martin Brown illustrated a re-issue of The Adventures of the New Cut Gang. Written by the esteemed Philip Pullman, of His Dark Materials fame.
I have waited and hoped for Martin Brown to claim a corner of the internet where he can put up some of his more personal work, amongst his commercial ones. Sadly that wait goes on. However, for now you can find his illustrations all over the Horrible Histories website. You can, of coarse, just go to your bookshelf and get down your copy of a Horrible Histories book, we all have (at least) one!
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.
With the release of the anticipated Marvel title Spider-Gwen nearly upon us, I thought now was a great time to feature American Designer and Cartoonist, Robbi Rodriguez.
With just over a decade of making comics, Rodriguez in that time has worked on a host of great titles including his creator-own title Frankie, get your gun, Vertigo’s FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, Image’s Night Club, 24seven (Vol.2), Hazed and Oni Press titles Tek Jansen, Maintenance and Polly and the Pirates (Vol.2).
Speaking of Polly and the Pirates, I was deeply disappointed to read all the negative comments it has on Amazon. Mostly from readers who preferred the author and original artist, Ted Naifeh’s style. With all respect to Naifeh, these commenters don’t know what they are talking about. I realise that Rodriguez’s work by no means needs defending, but I can not help but put these comments in their place. Yes, art will always be subjective, but Rodriguez brought more energy and better-developed characters to the book. Which, for a swash-buckling pirate book, can only be a good thing.
Interestingly, comparing his artwork from Polly to his recent work with Marvel, really showcases his versatility. Looking at the pages of Polly, you can see a strong European influence in his work, especially from the likes of Pierre Alary and Denis Bodart. His Marvel work has a rougher more edgy feel to it, in a similar vain to artist like Paul Pope and Jeff Stokely. Then there is his personal work where he really goes to town and experiments with his style, medium, and incorporating more graphic design elements.
Check out more of Robbi Rodriguez’s work on his website and DeviantArt page. Also don’t forget to pick up a copy of Spider-Gwen #1 when it hits the comic stands on February 25th.
Having only recently discovering Dave Grey, I sadly know too little about him. However, I can share with you two titbits, 1. he is based in Bristol and 2. he is a pixel artist. If you flicked through the gallery, you may have guessed “fact” number 2 already.
Grey’s work is inspired by pop-culture, with a particular affinity towards video games. He has an excellent collection of Christmas-inspired illustrations which he created as part of his December Advent Calendar.