1. Rea Irvin (1881 — 1972)

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    Rea Irvin’s name might not be instantly familiar, but you most certainly are familiar with his work. Born August 26, 1881 in San Francisco, Irvin studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute. His first steps into an illustration career was as an unpaid cartoonist for The San Francisco Examiner. In conjunction with his illustrating endeavours, he also worked as an actor and a piano player before moving to the East Coast in 1906.

    He was working as the art director for Life Magazine until American journalist Harold Ross approached Irvin to help launch a new magazine, The New Yorker. Initially brought on board just as an advisor, Irvin created the New Yorker typeface, served as the magazine’s first art editor and drew the famous Eustace Tilley portrait used for the very first issue. The New Yorker debuted on February 21, 1925 with Irvin assuming that the magazine would fold after just a few issues, but would go on to illustrate 69 covers from 1925 until 1958. All of which you can see in the book, Covering the New Yorker.

    Fellow cartoonist James Thurber had this to say about Rea Irvin,

    “The invaluable Irvin, artist, ex-actor, wit, and sophisticate about town and country, did more to develop the style and excellence of The New Yorker’s drawings and covers than anyone else, and was the main and shining reason that the magazine’s comic art in the first two years was far superior to its humorous prose.”

  2. Lucy Mazel

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    Lucy Mazel is a freelance illustrator based in Lyon, France. Though Mazel enjoyed art in High School she did not consider herself a “natural.” Undeterred, she worked hard at it and earned her place in a private art school. She graduated in 2009, and began working as a freelancer straight away.

    Mazel has predominantly illustrated for comic books, but has worked for magazines and advertising agencies. She also frequently contributes artwork to the Los Angeles gallery, Nucleus. Her first published work was in the Petit à Petit book, Poèmes érotiques, released in 2009.

    Her comic work includes Sky Doll – Dolls Factory 2 (Soleil/Marvel, 2010), La danseuse Papillon (Soleil, 2010), Le Petit Prince – Le Monde de la musique (Glénat, 2011). Her most recent work, Communardes ! Les éléphants rouges (Vents d’Ouest, 2015), was released in September and written by Wilfrid Lupano.

    Mazel has cited Charles Dana Gibson and Jeffrey Jones as strong influence on her own work. Though comfortable digitally, she prefers to use traditional techniques, pencil, watercolour and colorex. You can read the 2D Artist Magazine article about Mazel, where she explains her process in depth. You can also see her working process here.

    To see more of Lucy Mazel’s illustrations, check out her portfolio. You can find her on Tumblr and Blogger.

  3. Manga Mondays ~ Raven Wu

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    Today’s Manga Monday artist is freelance illustrator Raven Wu. Based in Taiwan, he creates elaborate imagery that outright stops you in your tracks.

    Wu has an uncommon ability to balance a range of very saturated colours and an array of details. Though the subject is always different, there are common traits throughout his illustrations. The sun, ever-present in much of his work, lightly kisses lush fabrics with its warm glow. While, at the very same time, Wu makes the presence of the cold known, with a perpetual gust of wind that swirls objects in the air as if they were weightless. These traits, coupled with fantasy themes and costumes, make his work gorgeous, poetic and ethereal. No wonder Wu’s work demand your attention.

    Raven Wu’s DeviantArt is full of more stunning artwork. You can also find him on Pixiv and Facebook.

  4. Valentine Pasche

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    Valentine Pasche is a freelance illustrator, writer, and colourist of comics. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, she moved to Paris, France to study at the prestigious art school, École des Arts Décoratifs. After her studies, she moved back to Geneva where she currently lives and works.

    To date, Pasche has written and illustrated three comic series. All three published in French, using the pseudonym Valp. The first was a five-volume series called “Lock.” It was released by Paquet in 2001. Pasche’s following two series have been published by Delcourt. In 2009, A year after Lock’s conclusion, “Ashrel” Book one was released, and received the Töpffer prize from the city of Geneva.

    September, this year, saw the release of Book one of Pasche’s new series, “Les fantômes de Neptune” (The ghosts of Neptune). Set in the late 19th century, the story is a fantasy steampunk that follows a young adventurer, Meena, attempting to oppose the Kaiser’s potentially disastrous agenda. Pasche regularly experiments with period clothing, a definite highlight of her character design, so I expect Pasche will be showcasing it in this book.

    You can find more of Valentine Pasche’s work on her blog, Deviantart, and Instagram.

  5. Alex Fuentes

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    Alex Fuentes aka Los Fokos is an illustrator and graphic designer from Los Angeles. Fuentes, self-taught, took inspiration from comic books, graffiti, art nouveau, science fiction, and the “metaphysical.” He carefully studied other artists, learning basics and applying them, to developed his own voice.

    I was first introduced to Fuentes’s work through his story “One Little Miracle for a Hungry Swarm.” A short comic of his which was published in Flight Anthology Volume 3. That was way back in 2006. Since then Fuentes has been featured in copious publications and galleries. He has created artwork for many well-known global brands, including Nike, Levi’s, Microsoft, Sony, Disney and many more.

    In 2012, Coldplay and Mark Osborne announced a comic series that would tie into the Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto. The comic series was published by Bongo Comics; a publisher more commonly associated with the property of Matt Groening. Fuentes created interior and cover artwork for the comic. Working alongside a great line-up, Adventure Time writer, Dylan Haggerty, Bone colourist, Steve Hamaker, and Blambot’s Nate Piekos.

    To see more of Alex Fuentes’s artwork, check out his website, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

  6. Fashion Fridays ~ Pierre Mourgue (1890 – 1969)

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    Pierre Mourgue was born in France, 1890. He was a regular contributor to the premiere French fashion magazine, La Gazette du Bon Ton. As such, the influential magazine was picked up by publishers, Condé Nast, who distributed it across American under the name, Gazette du Bon Genre. The magazine’s artwork was comprised of many talented French illustrators, including Paul Iribe, Pierre Brissaud, Georges Lepape. Condé Montrose Nast enlisted all of the La Gazette du Bon Ton artist for another one of his magazines, Vogue.

    Pierre Mourgue was based in Paris but made frequent trips to New York, as such, his illustrations were regularly on and inside the covers of Vogue magazine. His ink and gouache illustrations brought a Parisian flair to the American edition.

    Mourgue’s style updated with art movements. A lot of his early work has a strong Art Deco influence, with his 1940s and 1950s work resembling the American advertising illustrations that we regularly associate with that era. His illustrations often get compared to Pierre Brissaud’s, for their use of exaggerated figures and their disposition for pretty girl.

    Mourgue illustrated for fashion designers Nina Ricci, Christian Dior, and Marcel Rochas. Bringing their garments to life with his careful observation, and ability to infuse a sense of fun and coolness.

    You can see a large collection of Pierre Mourgue’s illustrations over at Hprints.

  7. Grahame Baker-Smith and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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    Today marks 150 years since the first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Lewis Carroll’s timeless tale has been reprinted and retold countless times. The original edition was illustrated by John Tenniel, but in the book’s 150 history, many extraordinary illustrators have contributed to its longevity, including Arthur Rackham (1907), Mervyn Peake (1946), Ralph Steadman (1967), Salvador Dalí (1969), Max Ernst (1970), and Anthony Browne (1988).

    Today, Grahame Baker-Smith can add his name to that list. The self-taught illustrator was commissioned by Royal Mail to create a set of ten beautiful stamps to commemorate the first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In addition to stamps, Royal Mail created pins and a specially struck medal from The Royal Mint. Together with Walker Books, they have also published a concertina book gift edition featuring 3D versions of Grahame’s gorgeous illustrations. You can find all the stamps and gifts sets in the Royal Mail Gift Shop.

    Grahame Baker-Smith’s hard work was shortlisted for the Professional Design cacategory in this year’s The AOI Illustration Awards. If you went to the Somerset House exhibition, you were treated to a sneak peak of the Wonderland stamps. Their bold design and saturated colours stopped you in your tracks and demand you take a closer look.