"Clowns don't always have to be scary," Wook Jin Clark notes on his website. "hey can just be silly." Many of his illustrations play with the visual ideas of clowns, with lots of wig-like hair and white gloves — although sometimes frightening things do befall his clown characters. But his artwork isn't limited to polka dots and red noses; he also draws heroic women, brutish monsters and fanart battles.
Adam Munoa's caricatures are often surprising, but still satisfying in the way they portray their subjects. His Christopher Walken has a touch of Frankenstein's monster, but draws you to his piercing blue eyes. Despite her exaggerated proportions, his Marilyn Monroe is still lovely. And his superheroes and villains have strong chins or big foreheads, according to their brawn and brains.
Waldemar Lene plays with a number of styles as he draws fanart from his favorite Japanese and American superhero comics, drawing from Shotaro Ishinomori, Jeff Smith, E. C. Segar, Hanna-Barbera and a host of other influences as he interprets and reinterprets his favorite comic book characters. Some of the results would be perfect for a superhero-themed newspaper-style comic strip.
Jeff Stokely has worked as a character designer for Mattel's Max Steel and Masters of the Universe toy lines and illustrated game cards for Cryptozoic and Square Enix, but some of his most striking pieces of art are his black-and-white illustrations, which paint dramatic portraits of characters like Judge Dredd and Doctor Doom or serve as poster-worthy tributes to movies like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.
It's rather interesting to look at the black-and-white and color portfolios on Stokely's site; in some cases, the illustrations are the same, but take on rather different tones once they've been colored. A touch of pink really can go a long way.
Scott Godlewski is one of the artists on Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory's Dracula: The Company of Monsters, but he also has a flair for the pulp that goes beyond horror. After all, he's one of the creators behind Mysterious Adventure Magazine, an action comics anthology that pays tribute to the pulp comics of old. Even his fanart consists of action-packed portraits of his favorite battle-ready characters.
Kerby Rosanes is a doodler in the best sense of the word. His notebooks and sketchbooks burst with swords, lizards, tendrils, clouds, squid, airships and homunculi—a bizarre mashup of the natural and the surreal, the adorable and the macabre. And while the pieces tend to be similar in style, each one comes with its own surprises.
One thing that I particularly enjoy about looking at art students' work is the sense that the student is playing with her myriad fascinations and joys as she gets to know herself as an artist. For Minneapolis College of Art and Design student Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, those fascinations include Hannibal, cicadas, a dash of Japanese cuteness and quotes that are inspirational without being sappy.
Let's just take a moment to glory in the perfection that is Nathan Fillion outfitted with a maple leaf shield riding atop his mighty, dam-building steed. It's just one of many illustrative brainchildren of Mingjue Helen Chen, a visual development artist Walt Disney Animation Studios whose creations range from Adventure Time with Scrubs' Turk and J.D. to some particularly painterly takes on Lara Croft and Sailor Moon.