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Comic conventions are a great way of seeing favorite artists in action, showcasing their work, talking through the process of drawing each page, and even sketching for you. But otherwise, if you want to get a sneak peek behind-the-scenes, social media is ideal.
While the likes of Twitter, Tumblr, and Deviant Art naturally appealed to comic book artists, many find Instagram’s clean layout and ease of use is conducive to their craft.
Here’s a brief selection of comic artists you need to follow.
I’ve followed Lee’s work since 2011’s Fear Itself: The Deep, which saw him draw the Defenders (soon to be a Netflix-exclusive TV series), including a number of Marvel’s heavy-hitters like Dr. Strange, Namor, and She-Hulk. But before he went freelance, Garbett had an exclusive contract with DC Comics, so most extensively explored the world of Batman.
As well as acting as a costume designer on X-Men: Days of Future Past, Lee has worked on Ghost Rider, Batgirl, 2000AD, X-O Manowar, Wonder Woman, and The Amazing Spider-Man. His best-known stints are on Lucifer (the ongoing comic that’s also now a TV series on Fox), and Loki: Agent of Asgard, which really utilized his playful visuals.
Though he doesn’t post on Instagram that often, his timeline is worth following for its solid mix of close-ups on brush work, commissions, promotional images, and art-in-progress. You also get the chance to see his take on characters he doesn’t normally tackle.
Chris Samnee seems to have become an overnight success, his clean, bright, and imaginative style notably gracing the pages of Thor: The Mighty Avenger (for which he won the 2011 Harvey Award for Most Promising New Talent), The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom and Daredevil (the two titles combined won him the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker), and most recently, Black Widow.
Arguably best known for his Daredevil, Samnee’s sharp lines and stunning compositions channel the art of the late Irwin Hasen (Dondi) and the late Darwyn Cooke (Richard Stark’s Parker).
Although you do see some nice pictures from his private life, Chris’ Instagram is really an opportunity to explore his unique perspectives and smart contrasts. Scroll through and I guarantee it won’t be long until something makes you go, “Wow.”
I can’t tell you how much I love Bill Sienkiewicz’s art. With over 10 awards under his belt, it’s obvious how much the comics industry as a whole loves his art too.
Sienkiewicz first gained prominence with his ingenious layouts for Marvel’s mentally-unstable hero, Moon Knight, but it was during his stint on X-Men spin-off, New Mutants that he began to carve out an offbeat style that continues today. Mixing all manner of mediums – collage, watercolor, mimeography, acrylic, and then some – Bill’s Elektra: Assassin particularly highlighted how comic books are an art form in themselves.
Though he’s not been on Instagram that long, Sienkiewicz’s timeline so far features glimpses of classic pages, commissions, and works in progress. Forget just comic books: if you want to learn about graphic design and painting, you need to study Bill’s splashes and panels.
And now, as they say, for something completely different. If Sienkiewicz’s art is edgy and dark, McKelvie’s is clear and precise. His bright, instantly-recognizable approach is proving a massive hit, gracing Marvel, DC, and Image publications and earning him a dedicated set of fans, including cosplayers, who he often proudly displays on Instagram.
His most high-profile gig was with writer (and frequent collaborator), Kieron Gillen on Young Avengers, which prompted scores of readers to dig out their creator-owned titles, Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine.
Instead of showing off his brilliant layouts, Jamie’s Instagram mainly charts his day-to-day life, including places he’s visiting, gigs and films he’s going to see, and the occasional bit of promotional material. His comic books are typically a great examination of pop culture, so seeing his inspirations really help you understand his pages.
After a few years working on small press titles, Mark was noticed by Udon Entertainment as the Asian-inspired studio began working on Marvel’s Deadpool; the publisher was impressed by his ability to turn in solid pages against tight deadlines, and gave him jobs on increasingly popular books like X-Men Legacy, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and Uncanny X-Force. The first job of his I saw was on a small Spider-Man-related book called Anya Corazon: Araña, a comic that impressed me so much, I’ve followed his career ever since.
Brooks has an exclusive contract with Marvel, so you can see his most recent pieces on the covers of The Astonishing Ant Man and interiors of Han Solo.
On Instagram, he shares a good mixture of sketches, convention photos, and previews of upcoming comics, including his incredible depiction of Harrison Ford (and Solo’s ever-reliable co-pilot, Chewbacca).
Emma Vieceli is one of the few manga artists to have broken into the mainstream American comic publishing industry; having joined Sweatdrop Studios, a UK-based firm producing original manga, in 2002, she was soon illustrating for Tokyopop, Image Comics, and Self Made Hero, for the latter drawing adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing.
Many will know her for the graphic novels of Vampire Academy (based on Richelle Mead’s young adult romance novels), Alex Rider (Anthony Horowits’ fictional teenage spy), and most recently, for Titan Comics’ Eighth Doctor miniseries, based on the Doctor Who franchise.
Emma’s Instagram achieves a better balance of work and normal life than most, so you get to know the artist behind the pages, and see how her panels progress. She doesn’t have a massive amount of followers yet, but her star is continuing to ascend, so get on board now!
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There’s no denying it: Campbell’s pieces combine an instantly-recognizable style with dramatic compositions and sheer sex appeal.
But his pin-up-like characters belie how graceful and detailed his art is. Across titles like Danger Girl (which he also co-created), Gen13, and The Amazing Spider-Man, Jeffery’s structures and use of negative space is a masterclass in how to set out a dynamic layout.
His Instagram gives you a well-rounded look at the life of a comic artist — from sketches and commissions, to brushes and convention appearances. You’ll often see his sketches progress, as inks and then colors are applied, creating a gorgeous piece. Gamers should also enjoy his timeline: at the age of 15, he won the “Invent the Ultimate Video Game” competition held by the official Nintendo Magazine!
This Turkish-born artist’s style reminds me of Stuart Immonen and Sara Pichelli, and his unusual compositions are reminiscent of Olivier Coipel – so it’s no wonder his portfolio consists of major Marvel and DC books, including Adventure Comics, Wolverine and the X-Men, and Supergirl. He’s been catapulted to the big-time, however, with his ongoing work for All-New, All-Different Avengers.
It’s quite clear he’s capable of capturing solo figures and super-team titles with the same deftness.
Scrolling through his vibrant Instagram is a real joy, not only to see previews of issues, but also for his fan interaction. He takes pre-show commissions for any upcoming conventions he’s attending, so you’ll see wonderful full-figure sketches, and photos of him at events. You’ll be amazed at how prolific and dedicated Mahmud is.
Like many British stars, Mark Simpson began his comic career with 2000AD, the long-running weekly anthology magazine that most notably features Judge Dredd and often, Psi-Judge Anderson. Known professionally as “Jock”, he soon progressed to books from DC (and Vertigo, its creator-owned imprint), including Detective Comics, The Losers, and Scalped.
With a distinctive, scratchy technique, his cover art is especially attention-grabbing; to see how he plays with structure, you need only check out his Wolverine MAX work.
What really comes across from his Instagram, however, is how much he toys with color and black-and-white design, using paint, ink, and digital media. Jock also works on concept and promotional art for several movies (like Dredd, Ex Machina, and Batman Begins), so fans occasionally get to see steelbooks and related sketches.
In complete contrast, Skottie Young’s art is pure unadulterated fun.
If you’ve scanned through the covers on show at any comic store, you’ll immediately know his hilarious pages. Realism is overrated. Young’s fluid, friendly, and bright pages are a pleasure to flick through, and he’s quickly become one of the most sought-after names in the industry. Sometimes, his work is hilariously grotesque; other times, it pokes fun at itself and its publisher — and most of the time, it’s both.
Alongside his adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, his creator-owned I Hate Fairyland, and his various variant covers for basically every Marvel comic under the sun, Young shows us his daily sketches, so expect to feast your eyes on the Avengers, Two-Face, Calvin and Hobbes, Earthworm Jim, Rocket Racoon, and Buzz Lightyear… as well as plenty of photos of his kids. He’s clearly a very proud father, which is great to see.
To Be Continued…?
Instagram is ideal for comic creators and fandom alike, but of course there are so many artists on social media, it’s impossible to cover them all. Think of this article as a starter, to set you on the right path.
Who else do you follow? Are there any artists you’d love to see on Instagram? Or maybe you’re an artist yourself, using the site to drum up support? Let us know below.