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.
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.
September 6th, 1917, saw the birth of Frank Modell. September 6th, 2015, saw him celebrate his 98th birthday. Born in Philadelphia, a twenty-something Modell would head to nearby Atlantic City where he would work as a beach artist. Around the same time, he would also attend Philadelphia Museum School of Art, studying illustration.
Straight after graduating Modell was drafted and stationed in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany. All the while he was sending cartoon ideas to The New Yorker magazine. After the war, he was accepted in the ranks of The New Yorker staff. His illustrations would appear in the magazine from 1945 to 1995. During that time he produced six covers and more than one thousand cartoons. Modell also wrote and illustrated several children’s books including Seen Any Cats? (1981), Goodbye Old Year, Hello New Year (1984) and One Zillion Valentines (1987). One Zillion Valentines would be later adapted for a short animation in 1998.
As well as all of the above, Frank Modell produced animated storyboards for the children’s TV show Sesame Street and shared his acting chops on Broadway and even had a bit role in the Woody Allen film, Stardust Memories (1980).
A few years ago James Stevenson, a good friend of his, took it upon himself to create an illustrated biography of Frank Modell. It is called The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell It contains drawings which originally appeared The New Yorker magazine, as well as some new illustrations created for specifically for the book. Definitely one to check out. For now, I think I will leave you with a lovely quote from the man himself:
I paint and make sketches everywhere I go. Drawing funny pictures for a living is as good as it gets and I’m grateful. Frank Modell
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.
Two-time Hugo Award and Chesley Award Winner, Julie Dillon is a freelance artist from Northern California. In 2005 she graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts from Sacramento State University. Then a year later she had begun working as a freelance artist professionally. Specialising in sci-fi and fantasy art, Dillon has created artwork for trading cards, book covers, magazines, and even perfume labels. Clients including Simon & Schuster, Tor Books, and Penguin Books.
Dillon’s illustrations are rich in colours with enchanting lighting. Warm glows illuminate her figures and environments. Her compositions too are equally compelling. Even though she works in a realistic style, she is unafraid to play with the laws of physics to produce more dynamic images.
Julie Dillon has run two very successful Kickstarter campaigns for a series of annual art books, titled Imagined Realms. If you missed the campaign and wish you could get your hands on a copy, you are in luck! You can pick up a hard copy of Book 1 from her shop, and a digital copy from her gumroad.