20 Talented and Impressive Illustrators

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A lot of what is seen on TV commercials, catalogues flyers, posters, banners and internet advertisments are made by someone in the world of design or commissioned by someone in the world of art. As time passes, the distinction between artist and designer has been blurred beyond recognition.

Now, in times of instant press and release, inspiration from great artistic measures and processes are the influence and is just as important as functionality. When we see companies like Apple and RIM, we see a collaboration between art and design where the practicality is the designated, artistic measure and process, so what looks good, feels good and works well.

The works below are done in the same spirit; literally where the eyes are encouraged to explore, stimulating inspiration and aspirational ambition. Below we present 40 talented and impressive illustrators – their work is inspiring, creative, original and beautiful and as such perfect for a lousy saturday evening.

The Beauty Of Illustration

James White1
James White is one of the more sought after artists today. His retro fitted style is pushed where some designers and artists won’t dare travel. You can check some of these and more at his site.

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DecoGrunge5
DecoGrunge can’t be described. There is a photomanipulated, intense lighting effects and a celestial base to a lot of this artist’s work. a page that should be checked. Spewing and shlacking old print, high-res objects and clouds are not the only thing that keeps this graphic designer on his feet. Like the rest this is about attention to detail in effects designers and artists use in respective mediums. Posters, album covers, you name it and it can be done.

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Samuel Green9
Samuel has a very interesting and peculiar take on art and design, with his take on expression and execution. His random display of works are what drive his presense. His choices to display what he has andwith what message he is trying to say it is even more mysterious.

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Karol Kolodzinski12
Making advertisment for the likes of Coke and other high level companies, Karol has a sense of style in her lighting choices that emphasizes her ideas to maximum capacity.

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sauco – m14
Some of the pieces look as though they are inspired by marilyn manson like the one below. Check his DeviantART page for more of the strange.

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Jesar From DeviantArt16
Jesar is a graphic artist and art director that who can merge the chesstry of art and design. Make sure you check his gallery for more beautiful and original works.

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KAWS18
Kaws is one designer that has every facet of design and the art behind in his sights. As he continues to grow his brand as a top designer and art curator, KAWS’ influence is considered a mainstay in fashion, products and branding.

highsnobiety - Original Fake 19

veni vidi vince20
From death to dying to wishing you were dead, comes big Vince aka veni vidi vince. “VVV” has some of the most detail oriented works, which is what makes a lot of even the most gross looking pieces come to life. You can check his portfolio.

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Genar De Sio Coppola26
Genar De Sio Coppola has a vector approach with a high bright color effect that can be seen in a lot of the top adverts and exhibitions to date. Check the site for more work.

GDSC27

Monk-Art28
Monk ART is a character designer and comic artist, who uses some of the more full harvested color combinations that make his style just who is as an artist. Some of what you see in the piece below, embodies everything that he has done in his career.

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AXLBOX is an era mashup, photomanipulator, who seems to understand the mix of rugged and smooth concepts, which is the theme for a lot of what is done throughout his years as a photographer and art director.

Peter Jaworowski30
Peter Jaworowski is an innovative graphic designer that has a nack for bringing something almost unthought of to the table. His usage of lighting and the below water and ink effects that has been pushing is something to be inspired by. Peter “J” is wild in presentation to his clients and on his commissions as art director. His attention the detail in effects make different than the “No Pattern” look that people are taking a trend hop for. I think a lot of what he has to offer is in his passion for what he can do in his attention to that peculiar detail.

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themones433

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themones736

Peter Harrison37
Peter Harrison is one of those of artists that seems to take the essence of something and makes something else. A lot of hip hop is inspired by this kind of artistic treatment. When you check the site, you will leave inspired and take something from it as well. I find a lot of what different approaches to light and effects in post production work the meat of what inspires most. This is no exception. Pete Harrison has some minute attention to detail that shows just what a few simple shapes and brushes and selections can do for his work.

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peteharrison40

Alexandra Zaharova & Ilia Plotnikov41
Alexandra Zaharova and Ilia Plotnikov are collaborators for a lot of branding and advertising sectors for high level design and artistic themes that suggests that they know what they are doing. Make sure you check the site for more.

zarahova42

Mark Newman43
Mark Newman has a huge following on deviantart. His work varies from piece to piece, but he has his own twist to classic examples of mythological and comic infused characters like the below medusa piece.

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Marta Dhalig45
Marta Dhalig has to be one of the hardest working digital painters to grace the pages of imaginFX magazine, she is well groomed in form, anatomy, composition and lighting. Some of her works pop out and create the kind of vision that you would see in traditional master paintings. you can see more at her page.

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Mike Campau47
From green messages to advertisements, Mike Campau has a diversified depiction of some of his creative luster at his site.

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Axl Box53

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yohan256
Yohan aka ciaran brennan is a mixed media artist is multli faceted in his approach to what he does. Some of his works range from caricatures to pieces like this very creepy doll below.

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Chelsea Lewyta58 (blog59)

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D'Argo Smith aka THENUMBERTOO is a Digital Illustrator, Hyper Blogger and musician that edits the 2ndshow Blog. He has been doing web and graphic work professionally for 7 years. You can also get a whiff of his growingly popular space here for his music.

  1. 1

    “Karol has a sense of style in her lighting choices” – I’ve always belived Karol is a man ;)
    Nice collection, thanks a lot!

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  2. 2

    Wonderful!
    Thx

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  3. 3

    Very cool works. I have seen a lot of them, but some I have not. Thanks for the post.

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  4. 4

    awesome… wonderful work…

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  5. 5

    Funny, I used ‘James White’ in my Graphics Project yesterday as a source of inspiraiton. ^^

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  6. 6

    I dig Peter Jaworowski’s work for Martini — simple concept, well executed, and appropriately over-the-top for a leisure product.

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  7. 7

    How come you didn’t include Patrick Brown? See patrickbrown.deviantart.com. He’s very talented!

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  8. 8

    Simon Harlinghausen

    April 25, 2009 1:17 pm

    Great article, Especially Mike Campau

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  9. 9

    Awesome illustrations. Thanks for the list.

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  10. 10

    Actually Karol Kolodzinski is a “he”

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  11. 11

    An amazing collection of artists. A true inspiration for me.

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  12. 12

    Nicolás Calabrese

    April 25, 2009 2:12 pm

    You guys should see the work of Marcelo Grassi. http://www.marcelograssi.com.ar

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  13. 13

    Wow. The whole deviantART stars are here. ;D I like it.

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  14. 14

    Hello, this collection is amazing!

    Just want to recommend one more artist:
    Michael Heald @ Fullyillustrated.com
    He’s very talented!

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  15. 15

    I think Dean Mckean, illustrator for some of Neil Gaiman’s work is worth mentioning here as well.

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  16. 16

    That doll gave me the chills as soon as I saw it.

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  17. 17

    Great article and showcase.

    But some parts of the text were quite hard to read because of broken English.

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  18. 18

    Hynek Zatloukal

    April 25, 2009 9:56 pm

    I love this sort of art! Especially the first two are awesome — playing with rainbows :)

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  19. 19

    Nice collection. The link to the Monk Art deviantart page is wrong, it is http://monk-art.deviantart.com/

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  20. 20

    Some really great work! Really like the almost surrealism of Peter Harrison’s work.

    Serene Studios

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  21. 21

    this is really awesome ..

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  22. 22

    yeah.. awesome!

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  23. 23

    Some great work, but since when does photo manipulation count as illustration?

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  24. 24

    Most of the works presented here are just intermediate ps & illu manipulations & comps. I know good illustrators are scarce, but did you even bother to look for them? How about Kevin Cornell (Kevin Cornell), Alex Dukal (Alex Dukal), Jacob Souva (Jacob Souva) and even my fellow Romanian illustrator Matei Apostolescu (Matei Apostolescu) for starters?

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  25. 25

    Nice collection, although I would have included Radim Malinic (Brand Nu) I think his work is amazing!

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  26. 26

    Now here are some hard working designers. Lovely!

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  27. 27

    More boring, batshit commercial crap illustration.

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  28. 28

    great illustrations,
    but if you are working for coca cola and you are using the most overused picture of a speaker, i think something’s wrong.. (Karol Kolodzinski, stock from sxc.hu)

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  29. 29

    I like this collection… really really good work…..

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  30. 30

    An illustration is a visualization such as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that stresses subject more than form. The aim of an illustration is to elucidate or decorate textual information (such as a story, poem or newspaper article) by providing a visual representation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illustration)

    Most of these artists are not illustrators.

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  31. 31

    Great stuff capable of invigorating one’s creative juices !

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  32. 32

    absolutely beautiful…great stuff..really inspiring…

    I love decogrunge art…:)

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  33. 33

    have a look at si scott! i have two of his prints –

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  34. 34

    Karol has a sense of style in her lighting choices that emphasizes her ideas to maximum capacity.

    HIS, HIS…
    As far as i kno, karol is a men…

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  35. 35

    Great collection of inspirations, no doubt! Great to see friends with other known designers as well as some new faces!

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  36. 36

    I really did not like this collection. A lot of amateurish cheese. Really surprising coming from Smashing. Disappointed.

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  37. 37

    I recommend the spanish illustrator Luis Tinoco
    http://www.luistinoco.com

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  38. 38

    Check out Hogboy, Ian Francis, and http://www.letsmakeart.com/art.html for something completely different.

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  39. 39

    Illustrators? looks more like graphic designers.

    Also, the kaws link is broken.

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  40. 40

    I wish people would stop confusing garish design with good art.

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  41. 41

    One of the weaknesses of Smashing Magazine is that often your “25 best” “40 great” or “50 amazing” articles are compiled by one person. Then you tend to get “30 most beautiful” websites all look exactly the same, or “20 Talented Illustrators” that basically have perfected the “swirling light magic entwined in a slow motion implosion” technique or whatever that is. These posts should always be done by a diverse group rather than an individual.

    The other problem is that it’s not a magazine. How did the purveyors of what’s cool on the web come to the decision that their website of what’s cool on the web would be cooler if they called it a “magazine”?

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  42. 42

    super collection, thanks for the great illustrations

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  43. 43

    That is awesome! Not really illustrators but these artists are just insane… thank for the list!
    But you should add “Dan Mumford”! Go and check him out (he’s a true illustrator ;-)

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  44. 44

    Man I surprised to not see Scott Hansen (ISO50) on here. He is a much better “retro” designer than James White in my opinion.

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  45. 45

    You forgot Justin Gerard. Actually, all the guys at Portland Studios are digital art maniacs.

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  46. 46

    Wow, thanks for taking time to pull these together! These guys are so talented!

    Meg

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  47. 47

    Some great images, I was expecting a lot of hand drawn art but it’s good to see some great digital artists too.

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  48. 48

    Inspiring. thx…

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  49. 49

    Vernon Decossas

    April 28, 2009 3:44 am

    Thank you for the great list. Amazing jobs!

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  50. 50

    Peter Harrison rocks!…love how he mixed realistic with fantasy…

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  51. 51

    Some of this is great But why oh why do so many of them have to include women with their boobs or ass hanging out!!!! this kind of sexist sh*t makes me think of these designers as sad little nerds creating women on their computer because theyre too afraid to actually talk to one, very sad.

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  52. 52

    Great post! :)

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  53. 53

    Very good collection, some of them are awesome. Thanks

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  54. 54

    They are very talented. Thanks for inspiration.

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  55. 55

    Andre Rodrigues

    May 6, 2009 3:38 am

    Awesome collection. Especially Peter Jaworofski and Monk art, brilliant.

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  56. 56

    great graphics though most of it is more “graphic design” and not illustration!
    Perhaps the title should be Impressive Designers, not Illustrators.

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  57. 57

    Damn this guy is defiantly cant xplain, damn Good i need to get their, how can i get to know the tricks behind it. I need to know pliz

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  58. 58

    Wonderful! ThxI You should add Luis Tinoco, is HOT!
    http://www.luistinoco.com/

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  59. 59

    How many years of design does it take to become like one of those guys??

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  60. 60

    Where’s Von Glitschka?!?!? http://www.vonster.com

    Just go there – I promise you won’t regret it! Glitschka is one of the best true vector illustrators around.

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  61. 61

    This is a fad, just like it was the 70s airbrush work, which makes all this so second generation. Kinda reminds me of all those Punks you see handing around the West End, drinking cider and waiting for a tourist to pay them for a photo. I think I need to go drop the kids off at the pool now.

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  62. 62

    The link to Genar De Sio Coppola’s portfolio is broken!

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  63. 63

    amazing piece of works!

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  64. 64

    Mind if I asked, so is it 40 talented and impressive illustrators or 20? or less?

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  65. 65

    You forget Cristian Grossi, he’s an emerging one…

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