The discipline of illustration as soon as had a time period referred to as “The Golden Age.” This 40-year stretch commenced within the 1880’s and ongoing into the 1920’s, coming to fruition thanks to advancements in graphic replica technologies.
After the public received a taste of graphic art, there grew to become an insatiable need for it. American illustrator Howard Pyle was within the forefront of the Golden Age and carried on by his pupils, like N.C. Wyeth and Anna Whelan Betts. As soon as photography became existing everywhere, the general public feeling on illustration improved. Mesmerized by images, they began to change the handcrafted images previously viewed in newspapers and publications.
All over the decades, nevertheless, illustration has lived on despite the ebb and stream. Its role has even expanded thanks to the Online and engineering (like VR), opening up new opportunities for illustrators to generate photographs which have been remembered for many years to return.
Just as we did in 2015, I have selected 10 in the greatest illustrators from 2016. This year’s choices feature all those functioning in a very myriad of ways-from conventional portray to three-dimensional illustrations or photos produced within the computer-but they all have one thing in frequent: an alluring visible language that transcends the media during which they function.
10 Best Illustrators of 2016
Mark Conlan’s illustration is about surprises and celebrates the things you find when you aren’t looking.
Illustrator Thibault Daumain uses both analog and digital methods for creating his work. This piece titled “Voyeur” was produced as a tutorial for Advanced Creation magazine and is detailed on Daumain’s website. He began the process for it with a graphite sketch that was then scanned and altered in Photoshop. Afterwards, Daumain colored and added digitally-drawn accents and textures on top. Even though they were added on the computer, they still look hand-drawn thanks the the special configuration of the brushes.
Illustration’s roots are in books. Like those illustrators before her, Anja Sušanj created a series of graphite images called “City” based a book of the same name by author Alessandro Baricco. Stating that the publication “influenced her greatly through the years,” Sušanj also explains that “City is also the name of my graduation project that tries to recreate the mysterious and whimsical world of Gould, a child genius.” She does so through images that sometimes raise more questions than they do answer. This, however, is part of the success of Sušanj’s work.
With a background in animation and thriving career in editorial illustration, Jun Cen creates compositions that feel like scenes from a larger film. Tranquil and often surreal, his work invites us to look inside of ourselves while we read the text that it accompanies. This particular piece appeared in byFaith magazine in an article entitled “Forgiving Ourselves” and how, according to the publication, “The Bible never speaks of forgiving ourselves. Not a word. Not a whisper. Not a hint.”
In August of 2016, Simon Prades compiled a selection of his commissioned illustrations made (so far) that year. The list included clients such as Outside magazine, New Scientist and The New Yorker (one of illustration’s most sought-after clients). This composition appeared in New Scientist and is about “the negative effects of empathy.” On Behance, Prades shared his other sketches he sent to the client. His other drawings included portraits—this one was the only one that included hands as they attempt to hold on to each other. It has a raw emotion, in a way, that his other choices did not show.
Estonian illustrator and art directior Eiko Ojala produces images that look like handcrafted cutouts, but they’re primarily crafted in Photoshop. Using carefully placed highlights and shadows, Ojala creates the illusion of depth by seamlessly blending some analog methods with digital. This is a time saver—if there’s a change from the client, Ojala can quickly make the alteration without pulling apart his entire piece. And he can also make animated versions.
South African artist and illustrator Kirsten Sims has the most traditional way of working out of the people selected here. Opting for a fine art approach, her lively brushstrokes are reminiscent of Impressionist painters. Pigments mix and mingle on canvas, just like the people in her work. “I think I paint the parties I would love to go to, and the types of people I would love to meet,” she tells This Works. Continuing, “There is more than enough pain and darkness in the world, I feel it deeply. Sometimes humor is the only way to deal with big, scary, horrible things.”
Andrew Fairclough, aka Kindred Studio, has produced portraits that use a double-exposure effect to add visual depth to the images. These two pieces were created for Insider Guides, which are a set of international student city guides. Each is presented as a full-page illustration that “covers various aspects of student life in Australia, from adventure to food, nightlife to fashion.” The digital pieces utilize texture for a handcrafted feel—something in which Fairclough excels. Earlier this year, he founded True Grit Texture Supply “as a one stop shop for high-quality textures, Photoshop brushes and resources for the texturally minded creative.”
In 2016, Mark Conlan created a series called “Unexpected Discoveries” that celebrates—rather than fears—the unknown. “This little four part series is all about being able to find certain things that you never knew existed,” he explains. “Its just a matter of shinning light on to the subject. Maybe then you can truly see a whole new world.” This is done through an emphasis on character design, an aspect that Conlan focuses on in his editorial, publishing, and advertising campaigns.
For New York City-based Dola Sun, the most alluring part of illustration is the “process of solving a problem with visual language.” This selected multi-textured illustration communicates feelings of confusion—and it’s supposed to. The analog/digital hybrid image was created for VICE and the Marshall Project in an article called “The Night I Killed a Man.” Sun describes it as a “story about a despairing young man killed a person under a psychedelic status.”