Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Was, What Is, and That Which Shall Always Be

     From now on we will have a weekly post on some of the hottest illustrators working today, as well as the ones who started Illustration as we know it. Enjoy the work! Get inspired! Tell us what you think!

(One thing I want you to notice is how all of these artists, both past and present, have excellent representational skills that they took to the next level with their individual artistic vision.) 

     So- there’s nowhere better to begin than with the greats Kate Greenaway of England and Howard Pyle of America. Both narrative illustrators, both working in the latter half of the 19th century, both inspiring generations of illustrators to this very day.

     Pyle was famous for the books that he illustrated (and often wrote as well.) His subjects included scenes from early America, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and tales of pirates on the high seas.

See more of his beautifully composed paintings here:

     Greenaway was one of the most famous children’s book illustrators in 19th century England. She brought new life to classic tales by approaching the form of the children’s book with a certain seriousness- not just making cute little pictures to entertain, but drawing beautiful scenes full of characters that displayed a wide range of emotion, qualities that were often lacking in children’s books then (and unfortunately often today). The Kate Greenaway Medal is given annually in England for the best children’s book published that year. Yup. That’s how awesome she was. And is.

     Below is a link to more of her work online. It’s a great site- you can literally look through every page of many of her books:

     Artists of the past are rightfully revered for their mastery, but there is no replacement for the artists of our own time- those who experience the same things we do, and communicate their responses in a mode that is unique to our time in history.  

     Check out two of today’s hottest:

          Editorial Illustrator Yuko Shimizu

          See more here:

     And Narrative Illustrator Jon Foster

       See more here:


  1. I am in awe of Jon Foster's narrative illustration. I love how he has so much movement and activity in each piece, it makes me want to spend time looking into each illustration. I also love the way he uses his colors, and it seems to me in each piece that he is very good at creating space in his background. His work is not flat, and has dimensions of which I would love to learn how to create.

  2. I also love Jon Foster's work. He is able to combine portraiture and realistic drawings of the human figure, with ideas from his imagination. I especially loved his pieces where the human body was only partially there and the rest was turned into something else. It really makes you want to stop and look at it for a while, and once you do, you notice other little things in the piece that you might not have at first glance. His work is also a good example of "keeping your soul" with portraiture and figure drawings.