Influcences and Inspiration

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a long time and I finally found time to do it. I thought it would be fun to let everyone know what artists (outside of the t-shirt industry) have really influenced my work and continue to inspire me day to day. Some of these artists you might not directly see in my art, but they have all had some part in my life as an artist.

Bill Watterson – Watterson has been a huge influence from me ever since I was in elementary school. I remember getting those Scholastic ordering things in school and immediately looking for the newest Calvin and Hobbes book that was coming out. I have since purchased an Anthology of every single Calvin and Hobbes comic strip and it’s amazing. Not only does Bill Watterson’s art function greatly in the cartoonish comic strip from, but he can switch his style and make things look like a fine art piece. He is the best at mixing water color and inks and he sure can draw a mean Dinosaur!

Tim Jacobus – Another artist from my childhood/elementary days. If you can’t tell already, Tim Jacobus was the artist to work on the coveres of every single Goosebumps book from the original series. These are, hands down, my favorite series of books and although the subject matter and the writing by R.L. Stine was perfect, I’m pretty sure the covers had a lot to do with me being excited about books and reading. I have a huge stack of Goosebumps books still and I constantly look through them for inspiration.

Alex Toth – Alex Toth is responsible for pretty much all the great Hannah-Babera action cartoons. He worked on Space Ghost as well as my ultimate favorite Cartoon, Johnny Quest. His art gave cartoons that comic book feel that had been missing for so long. Bold lines and dark shadows made everything look fantastic weather it was in a comic book or on your television screen.

Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird – These are the guys who are responsible for the characters that have been such a big part of my life, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, of course, when I was a kid I was crazy about all the cartoons and movies that were coming out. As I got older, however, I started to discover what started it all, the TMNT Mirage Comics. These comics are absolutely amazing. They are drawn incredibly, the story are great and they are surprisingly graphic. Back in the 80’s when they were making this comic, they didn’t have a lot of money so there was no color in the comics, instead it was simply black and white and half tones. This almost makes things look better because you get a chance to see the art for what it, instead of being bombarded by flashy colors. I recommend that everyone should pick up Kevin Eastman’s TMNT Artobiography. It is filled with awesome information about TMNT and insight on what it took to become a successful and independent comic book creators.

Jim Lee – I come from a very strong comic book background. My mom of all people was the one who encouraged me to buy comic books and watch all those cartoons based on comic books when I was a kid. When I was growing up, Image Comics was one of the top comic book publishers at that time and one of the owners and main artists from that Company was Jim Lee. His use of line-work is something that people cannot duplicate. He has a classic style of drawing but is much more extreme and on the edge and that’s probably why he has been such a big name in the comic book industry for such a long time.

Frank Cho – Frank Cho is the best female artist working in comic books today, I don’t know why I think that he is, he just is. Everything about the way he draws the female form is perfect. Looking at his linework, it all looks so simple, but it’s all easier said than done. He is amazing at it and is a master, and someday I hope to be as good as he is. He not only can draw the women fantastic, he can really just draw anything and it looks absolutely perfect. His facial expressions are the best as well, and he can also draw some really great backgrounds and, of course, Dinosaurs.

J. Scott Campbell – Another one of those comic artists that was big in the Image Comic days. He too is another master of the female form that I hope to get to at some point in my life. JSC has been so popular and so successful in the comic book industry and it’s because he gets better and better with every single piece he does. He has also been the mastermind behind great comic book series like Danger Girl and has really revamped some of comic books greatest characters (i.e. Spider-Man). I would probably place JSC in my top 5…no wait 2 favorite comic book artists.

Joe Madureira – My favorite comic book artist of all time! When I was first getting into comic books, I was reading The Uncanny X-Men, and Joe was doing a very long run on that comic at the time. He was essentially my introduction into comic book and this type of art. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest anime fan (if it isn’t DBZ I hate it), but you can see the anime influence in his art and it just mixes so well with his western art influences. Back in the day he created a comic series called Battle Chasers that was just simply amazing…until it got cancelled. After that he started working in the video-game industry, but recently he has started working in comics again and his new stuff blows anything he has ever done out of the water.

Robert McGinnis – They way he paints/draws the female form is absolutely perfect. You can see his influence on artists working  today (some on this list, like JSC). I literally spent hours today just looking at all of his painting and was just amazed at the kind of art he has created. He has done some really awesome movie posters (James Bond), novel covers and fine art paintings. His paintings of women have been the foundation on how I draw and want to draw women.

Frank Frazetta – it’s probably cliché to add Frazetta to one of these lists, but I don’t care, he is my all-time favorite artist…period. I grew up on fantasy and Frazetta’s art is the quintessential fantasy art. He has influenced probably every single person on this list and every single (fantasy) artist working today. The sheer volume of his work is just incredible, and every single piece that he has done is just amazing. Not only are his paintings fantastic, but his comic book and pen & ink work is something to be amazed by. There is no one that can really come close to Frank Frazetta, so with that I will end my list.

Others I Forgot to Mention: Bruce Timm, Michael Turner, Chris Bachalo, Ale x Ross, Sam Kieth, Art Adams

(holy crap, this post took over 2 hours in total!)

5 Responses to “Influcences and Inspiration”

  1. Ladykiller says:

    Agreed on all the above! Frank Cho is killer!!! If only all women could look that way and we could coexist with dinosaurs. fucking. rad!

  2. Wow Mathew, great list!!!! We Share some influences, like the AMAZING Alex Toth, Also J.S.Campbell kick my ass when I was young with GEN13. I spend thousand of hours redrawing the pages of Joe Madureira’s artwork for Uncanny X-Men.
    I prefer McFarlane, over JimLee but hey, they’re both awesome!
    Great post!

  3. […] ago where I talked about a lot of my influences growing up (outside the t-shirt/merch world) (http://www.ithew.com/2009/12/influcences-and-inspiration/). But then there is people that I have become familiar with in the recent years that do what I do […]

  4. Thanks for the , I’ll keep checking back for more stuff, bookmarked!

  5. Didee says:

    Bill Watterson is great!

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