There's a reason that Frank Stockton receives illustration commissions from folks like Entertainment Weekly, the New Yorker, Esquire, Mondo, IDW and Fantagraphics. He has a reverent sense of other people's properties, a luminous sense of color and an ability to construct scenes that are crowded but never overly busy.
Stephen Maurice Graham creates incredibly playful illustrations that sometimes contain blood and guts and bones. His monstrous sorority girls and tigers hungry for human flesh sit side-by-side with predictions about the future of Dublin. It's a crazy, primary colored science fiction dream.
Many artists imagine themselves drawing the cover illustration for the New Yorker, but Carolyn Presti has actually mocked up a few covers with New York-themed images. She's also put her own spin on covers for the Harry Potter books, an imagined biography of author Italo Calvino and Ray Bradbury's classic short story "All Summer in a Day."
Justin Volz creates moody illustrations perfect for portraits of a particularly weary Walter White, Cubone (the world's saddest Pokémon) and Robb Stark as the King in the North (with Grey Wind looming behind). But there are also shades of humor in his illustrations, such as his stark drawing focusing on John McClane's sliced-up feet and Ghost Rider posed as a figure drawing model.
Paul Windle has done editorial illustrations about economic disparity, elections, New York cultural landmarks and our relationship with Abraham Lincoln. But credits in Bloomberg, Businessweek and the New York Times don't mean he can't sketch up a Stegosaurus wielding a sword while riding a skateboard or revel in the facial hair of baseball players from the mid- to late-1970s.
As Steve Eyre of World of Superheroes in Sheffield, England, was walking through an art exhibition in his hometown last week, he noticed something unusual on the leg of one of the sculptures: The cover to 1963's Avengers #1. That comic was one of dozens of rare, classic comics artist Andrew Vickers used to create his papier-mache work. Vickers had no idea.
Rory Phillips has plenty of thoughtful—and sometimes funny—approaches to character design and redesign. He casts Wonder Woman as a Scythian warrior and trades in her bondage-themed lasso for the ancient Chinese weapon known as the meteor hammer. His Batgirl and Black Canary form a vigilante scooter club with a bit of roller derby flair. And he gives us a poster for the non-existent movie I somehow need to see, starring David Bowie as a fighter of giant monsters.
It would be wrong to dismiss Donya Todd's (some images NSFW) comics and illustrations as cute pictures of pretty girls. After all, her ladies, with their big lips and wide eyelashes, are often flavored with touches of manga and early animation. But on closer inspection, her pictures, filled with coffins, pizza, rainbows, skeletons and nightmarish creatures, feel like folk art from Todd's personal mythology, a peek into a brain obsessed with mysticism, pop culture and otherworldly landscapes.
Illustrator Christian Ward creates images that are part portraiture, part digitally colored collage. Rather than posing his subject amidst the tools of their trade, he places symbols on their bodies and faces that hint at their true nature. Zatanna is familiar in her magic stars, and Daniel Craig's James Bond takes on a new meaning with his code name childishly scrawled against his face. For his invented characters, we must use the actual composition of the the portraits for clues to each person's nature.