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Favorite Illustrators

  • Mar 2, 2010
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Here's a list of my favorite illustrators, and yes, they are in preferential order.
Arthur Rackham
Who else would come in at #1? Rackham remains the single most amazing artist and illustrator of his day, and though he isn't as widely recognized as he used to be, he remains one of the most celebrated and highly collectible artists in recent years. Whether creating hauntingly melancholic images as in Undine or breathing new life into ancient mythological figures such as Pandora and Thor, Rackham proved to be the solitary master of the Golden Age of Illustration.
Brian Froud
Froud is one of my favorite illustrators and conceptual designers. His artwork, much like Rackham's, is both ethereal, beautiful, and creepy. The work that he did for The Dark Crystal is so unique and really set the tone for the film perfectly.
Gustave Doré
Doré's work on everything from historical volumes to The Bible to Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost is superb. I especially love his Gothic visions of angels and demons, and his classic Satan Contemplates a Serpent is a personal favorite of mine. So spooky.
Edward Gorey
Gorey really created Gothic cartoons before anyone else. Tim Burton virtually owes his career to Gorey. When it comes to combining whimsical fantasy with macabre humor, no one is in this guy's league.
Alan Lee
Lee's illustrations for Tolkien's books are unrivaled in their beauty and authenticity. No one comes closer when it comes to Tolkien-inspired artwork. No one!
Cinderella and Her Fairy Godmother
Dulac's illustrations for numerous children's books and fairy tales are superbly done. I particularly like his depiction of exotic Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. See Princess Badoura for an example.
Howard Pyle
Pyle was one of the all-time great illustrators. I love his works revolving around pirates. The Flying Dutchman is astonishing!
N.C. Wyeth
Wyeth is certainly one of the most celebrated illustrators, particularly for his work on classics such as The Boy's King Arthur and Treasure Island are so beautifully created that they almost overshadow the books in their appeal.
Frank Frazetta
Frazetta has proved to be the king of "pulp adventure" and "sword & sorcery" art. Though some have attempted to dismiss his work because of the genres which he worked in, there's no denying his masterful talent when it comes right down to it. Whether illustrating Vampirella or creating amazing images for the paperback editions of Conan, Frazetta was and is incredible!
Self-portrait of John Tenniel
Although I'm less familiar with Tenniel than most of the artists here, his work on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There are some of the greatest works of fantasy art and illustration!
Tasha Tudor
I absolutely love Tasha Tudor's illustrations for the 1966 edition of The Wind in the Willows! So pastoral and whimsical.
John Howe
Howe's illustrations for The Lord of the Rings books and his conceptual art for the films are so full of action and excitement that you can almost feel the movement.
Pauline Baynes
Baynes is best known for her wonderful illustration for C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, but I'm equally fond of the art that she did for some of J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
John Leech
Leech's artwork for Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol are perfectly reflective of the Victorian Era and the struggles of the middle and lower classes.
Mary GrandPré

Her work on the Harry Potter series is iconic and classic in every sense. Her cover art and illustrations are so much better than those of the U.K. books.
W.W. (William Wallace) Denslow
Denslow's illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are classic and whimsical.

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March 09, 2010
You've been busy with the lists lately! I'm surprised that so many of them lack examples of the artist's work though. That's not like you.
March 10, 2010
Don't be silly. I'm working on a list of favorite illustrations to accompany this one of illustrators.
March 10, 2010
Silly, silly me!
March 11, 2010
LOL! I meant that in a loving way, not as an insult. Though, I am surprised that you thought I wouldn't elaborate with visuals. The hard part is finding images of decent quality and the right size. Most of the illustrations I have of Froud's are so big that I can't scan them which presents a real problem.
March 11, 2010
I know, I know. I didn't take it personally. The problem with a lot of these paintings and illos is that they are vertical and you can't really see them all at once.
March 11, 2010
Plus, they won't even fit on my scanner/printer. When you have a book that's 16x14 inches, that's a problem.
March 11, 2010
Can't find good ones on line anywhere?
March 12, 2010
Most of them, no.
March 12, 2010
Sad. I think I'm going to go have lunch.
March 12, 2010
Damn it, now I'm hungry.
March 12, 2010
I'm not anymore. I took care of the. But I'm going to have to go grocery shopping pretty soon. Have to pick up some prescriptions while I'm at it too. Don't want to wait until the store gets too crowded. Hate those long lines at checkout.
March 12, 2010
Ditto. I hate waiting rooms too.
March 12, 2010
I don't mind those so much because you can at least sit down and sometimes they have magazines--and nobody is counting out their money at the register in pennies.
March 02, 2010
Such a cool list, Sean!  I've seen these works, but didn't know about the artists behind them.  I don't know if you noticed, but this was featured on the Lunch Facebook fan page today ;)
March 02, 2010
Cool. I didn't even know about that.
March 02, 2010
Wow, I didn't even know the name of one of my favorite childrens' illustrators until I read this list, thanks! I always loved the story of "Blue Beard" as a child, and didn't realize that Edmund Dulac did the illustrations! So amazing.
March 02, 2010
Yes, there have been quite a few people to illustrate Blue Beard. Doré is one of my favorites because his stuff was so creepy. See here! I'm only familiar with two of Dulac's illustrations for the story, which can be found here under Fairy Tales. I loved how he would give everything a Middle Eastern and Asian look, even if the story was French or German.
March 02, 2010
Ugh, Blue Beard!! It gets me every time.
March 02, 2010
Had you seen Doré's version before? I love the icky bulging eyes and twisted mustache. Quite creepy.
March 02, 2010
good list but it is missing Boris Vallejo and William Suarez who are both awesome illustrators of dark fantasy ;-) LOL!
March 02, 2010
Boris didn't get on there because I'm not a big fan of his. Too many bikini clad warriors and vixens and not enough realism. I did however forget Frank Frazetta, which makes me an ass.
As for that Suarez guy, between you and me I just couldn't include him. Some people might think I'm discriminating here, but I just can't see putting an Asgardian Thunder God on a list with mere mortal artists. It wouldn't be fair.
;  )
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