I guess the unintentional international artist coverage continues!
Anyways, this artist caught me by complete surprise this morning. Turns out that my 11 year-old brother borrowed a copy of Benjamin’s Orange (manga) from the library and I was blown away by the fantastic splash of colour on the cover illustration. I later found out that I had actually see Benjamin’s work before when seinen manga magazine Morning featured his Saviour manga as part of a Chinese artist feature series.
Benjamin Zhang Bin, known usually as Benjamin only, is a Mainland Chinese artist/manhua artist whose works are most widely received in France, where most of his work were first published. He frequently travelled between Chinese cities to find work, and has worked on illustrations for small MMORPGs, some of which are now defunct.
His style is extremely spectacular and I am not kidding when I say that I believe his art is beyond the scale of the anime-style. Everything is realistic (real lips whoo hoo!), and the colouring, while the palette can be unnaturally vibrant at times, is impeccable. The lighting and shading is perpetually spot-on, and constantly makes me think that it is a photograph of sorts. In the interior pages of Orange, he uses mainly a blue palette offset by a little bit of other vibrant shades, and the effect is unique. At first it reminded me of Mirror’s Edge artwork, but in retrospect, Benjamin’s work is beyond Mirror’s Edge in terms of artistic expression and impact.
As well, like Archlich, his defining characteristic is how uninhibited and free the compositions and technique (?) is. His artwork is basically an explosion of well-matched colours and overwhelming beauty. Words fail me.
Finally featuring an artist who has less involvement with the Japanese anime/manga world. Anyways, I found Jo Chen from looking at the spectacular cover of an issue of Runaways in a comic shop one day, but couldn’t find her name on the book cover, so I went home and googled to find her profile. Was absolutely blown away by the quality of her cover illustrations, and she is now among my favourite artists.
Jo Chen is a female Taiwanese freelance artist who now lives in the USA and is therefore fluent in both Chinese and English. She draws mainly colour covers and interiors for various comic books, but she has also published her own manga (originally in Chinese, then translated into English by Tokyopop) called “The Other Side of the Mirror”. She is best known for her work on Runaways and Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic books. Surprisingly(?), she was also the one who drew the Fable and Fable II boxart.
Her style is sophisticated and realistic. Lots of fantastical elements, but lighting, colouring, poses, expressions, are all quite real and natural. What I like best is her colouring. It is, without doubt, incredible. I could stare at one picture forever, basically.
高山瑞季 (Takayama Mizuki), who was mentioned in the last post, is a female artist who is best known for her contributions to G.Rev games Senko no Ronde and まもるクンは呪われてしまった！(Mamoru-kun Has Been Cursed!). She also participates heavily in various conventions (COMITIA, Comiket, Sunshine Creation) and has new original doujinshis out a few times a year. Her circle name is シトロネット(Citronette. Yes, again, but this time alone.)
Unlike most “moe” styles, hers is more anime-like, and the eyes don’t use dark lines as per usual in other typical moe art. I guess that her works are more “cutesy” than moe, but they are along the same lines. Takayama’s colouring is extremely anime-like, but with a lot less contrast on shadows, so everything seems floaty and light. Lately she has been adding more dark shadows and experimenting with darker colours, though, so that might not be her signature “light” style anymore. Lastly, the way she draws eyes are extremely simple, using only a couple of colours, and shaped very round.