Comic books are a two pronged creative process, first there is the story and secondly there is the art. This may seem like a no-brainer but newcomers don’t often realise that most comics aren’t illustrated by the writers themselves. This means that the amount of drawing talent in the industry is great and extremely competitive, this brings some of the best creators out of the shadows and allows for some breathtaking work to go out to the masses. Drawing for comics isn’t exactly the same as making images in other mediums, though the covers can be any manner of graphic design combinations, the content inside has to clearly convey the story, the action and the emotions all at once. This is why comic artists are some of the best around, and here are some of today’s best.
Known for his high ranking status in the industry thanks to him being on of the founders of the image comic label and now CCO of DC, Lee has been working tirelessly for years. His style clearly integrates the action and bold figures of western comics while using the skill and precision line work of more eastern styles. Working on pretty much every big name title from X-Men to Batman Lee has certainly put in the work and reaped the rewards of working in comics.
Known throughout the industry for his breathtaking cover work, painter Alex Ross is an anomaly amongst many in the industry thanks to his preferred medium. With much of the comic art world using pencil and ink, Ross gets to work on larger scales with beautifully rendered characters that pop right out of the pages. His work has been used to entice readers on hundreds of titles unrestricted by brand. But Ross isn’t a one trick pony, he has also created sequential art to provide entire comics with his work such as in Marvels or DC’s Kingdom Come.
Another artist who doesn’t do things in the typical manner. McKean is a master of missed media and has successfully used everything from paint, sticks, bones and dolls heads to create art for comics. With a tone for horror he is notably one of the best for creating a dark and uncertain atmosphere on both the cover and in the pages. One of his most famous works is the Batman comic Arkham Asylum where he uses his skills to create a creepy and unnerving nightmarish series of panels that is as impressive as it is otherworldly.
Constantly making the list on new and emerging artists, Canada born Fiona Staples is clearly leading the movement in digital art. Unlike her predecessors who have continued the traditional styles passed down through the ages, she uses the devices afforded by modern technology to create blindingly fun and impressive artwork. Working on the breakout series Saga, she executes the best of her style, that is an incredibly vivid and clean look at times while equally messy and gory when called for. Thanks to people like Fiona a new era of comics are turning heads for a new generation of artist.