Monday, December 31, 2012


by Arnie Fenner

The New Year is a time to celebrate and look forward, just as it's a time to reflect. So let's join together and raise a glass to the memories of some of the members of our community that passed in 2012. Requiescat in pace.

Leo Dillon [b. 1933]
With his wife and collaborator Diane, Leo created some of the most memorable covers and illustrations of the last half century. Well known for their numerous paintings for the works of Harlan Ellison and a brace of inspirational children's books, the Dillons have been honored with the Caldecott Medal, the Hugo, the Hamilton King, the World Fantasy, and the Spectrum Grand Master awards.

Jean "Moebius" Giraud [b. 1938]
Easily one of the most influential artists in the comics field (whether under his own name or the pseudonyms of Moebius or Gir), Jean was also a book illustrator and film designer. Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, Willow and many other popular movies benefitted from his vision and skill.

David Grove [b. 1940]
Inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2007, David's art was inspirational and his style instantly identifiable. Irene Gallo said, "David's work was fluid and dream-like but, make no mistake about it, everything was thoughtful and planned."

Joe Kubert [b. 1926]
A legend in the comics industry for over fifty years, Joe spent much of his career as an artist, writer, and editor for DC. As founder of The Kubert School he was instrumental in launching the careers of many of today's most popular creators. Joe was inducted into both the Will Eisner and the Jack Kirby Halls of Fame.

Ralph McQuarrie [b. 1929]
Concept artist and illustrator, Ralph was best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Cocoon (for which he won the Oscar®) and, of course, the original Star Wars trilogy. George Lucas said, "When words could not convey my idea. I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this'."

Spain Rodriguez [b. 1940]
Inspired by his experiences on the road as a member of the biker gang, The Road Vultures, Spain was one of the original Underground comix artists and was the creator the character of Trashman for The East Village Other. Art Spiegelman described Spain's 2009 book Che: A Graphic Biography as "brilliant and radical."

Maurice Sendak [b. 1928]
Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Bumble-Andy, Brundibar, Outside Over There, Mommy? Maurice was responsible for filling our childhood bookshelves with wonder. He was honored with the National Medal of Arts and numerous other awards throughout his career.

John P. Severin [b. 1921]
One of the true workhorses of the comics field, John produced outstanding—and meticulously researched and rendered—art for EC, Warren, Marvel, DC, and DH. Highly regarded for his war stories, he was no stranger to fantasy and created an exceptional run of stories (in collaboration with his sister, Marie) adapting Robert E. Howard's Kull adventures in the 1970s for Marvel.

Sergio Toppi [b. 1932]
Sergio was prolific and his art exceptional, regardless of whether he was drawing comics, book illustrations, or advertisments. Comfortable with any genre, he is perhaps best known for his historical adventure stories for Italian publisher CEPIM.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

-By Dan dos Santos

'Christmas Rush' by Norman Rockwell

Well, 2012 is just about gone, and it's been a rather good year for Muddy Colors.

I'm proud to say that over the course of this year's 366 days, we will have posted 376 times!
This, of course, wouldn't be possible without the efforts of our wonderful, tireless, and surprisingly handsome, group of contributors...  not to mention a lot of guest contributors as well.

In the few short years this blog has been around, I feel like we've shared a lot.  So, in case you joined us late, or maybe you just forgot...  Here's a look at a few notable posts from 2012!

Greg Manchess' '10 Things' lists:

Some useful information on Studio Safety:

A few Composition Basics:

How to Build a Free Website in 10 minutes:

How to Promote Yourself on the Internet:

A look back at the work of Moebius:

Appreciating Norman Rockwell:

Donato breaks down Color Relativity:

Paolo Rivera joins the blog with a bang:

Serge Birault explains how he creates such convincing skin:

Terryl Whitlatch shares her creature creation process:

Justin Gerard takes us through his entire process:

A History of Dragons by William O'Connor:

A whole fortnight of Dragon-Themed posts starts here:

Not one, but two, amazing exhibitions of SFF art:

Some brilliant concept art from Justin Sweet:

A fantastic interview with Maurice Sendak shortly before his death:

Stan Prokopenko's first of many helpful instruction videos:

And last but not least... A slew of amazing Guest Bloggers:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Masters of Contemporary Illustration: Vladyslav Yerko

                                                                 By Petar Meseldzija

Vladyslav Yerko was born in 1962 in Kiev, Ukraine. He lived at his grandmother’s house in the village of Pirniv until he was seven years old and considers this to be the best time of his life. He spent his first year sleeping in a large suitcase, which rested on a chair under a lilac tree, and, likening his childhood to that of Mowgli, from Kipling’s Jungle Book, Yerko says he was raised, not by wolfs, but by “chickens, turkeys and the village cats”! His surroundings – the forest and river, insects and fish – all left a deep and lasting impression on the young boy and to this day, flora, fauna and the diversity of nature’s beauty serve as the wellspring of his inspiration.

Yerko graduated from the Kiev Polygraphic Academy before embarking on his highly successful career as an illustrator.



Click here for more work from Yerko.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Artist of the Month - Bellows

-By William O'Connor

At the beginning of the 20th century the art world had transformed from  the Victorian academic salons to embracing the new Modernism.  Artists like Matisse, Picasso and Duchamp were filling the galleries of Europe and the 1913 New York Armory Show would set the style for the new century.  Amid this cultural turmoil existed a small school of artists living in New York that for most of the next century would go mostly ignored, overshadowed by their Modern contemporaries.  Painting in a realistic manner the subjects of the urban setting around them, depicting the squalor and dirt of the city, they became known as the Ashcan School.


One of the leaders of this artistic movement was George Bellows (1882-1925).  Studying at the New York School of Art with other American artists such as Rockwell Kent and becoming the contemporary of other Ashcan painters like John Sloan, Bellows' paintings illustrated the stark and raw streets of New York City, reminiscent of the French Realist,  Daumier.

A new retrospective of Bellows is now on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through Feb. 18, 2013.  I had the opportunity to view the retrospective a couple of weeks ago.  I was very surprised to see the Met doing this retrospective since Bellows is not usually a well known artist and I had never had the opportunity to see more than one or two in any museum.  The reason for this was evident.  The placards on the paintings immediately illustrated how un-collectable Bellows had been during the 20th century.  The provenance of the paintings were wide ranging from Arizona, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Chicago.  It was apparent that no major museum or private collector had collected his work, and that his paintings had been scattered.  This is a wonderful opportunity to see an American artist's retrospective that has not been seen since his sudden death in 1925, and hopefully preludes a renaissance of early 20th century American Realists.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry (Day After) Christmas!

-by Justin Gerard

Hope you survived the Holidays.

Every other year I try to make a Christmas card. Some years it gets away from me though, and I just can't seem to get to it. This was one of those years.  

So, since I failed miserably, (and since I have never posted this online before,) I am posting this card I made for Christmas 2005. It depicts a heart-warming situation where everyone got just what they wanted for Christmas. Well, most everyone anyway.

Enjoy, and hope you had a wonderful holiday wherever you were!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Film Noir from Life

Merry Christmas Eve, folks! I'm taking a break from my treatise on reference because I'm on vacation. Instead, I'd like to share some sketches from a life drawing session at the Society of Illustrators. It was led brilliantly by Bil Donovan, who decided upon a Film Noir/Pulp Fiction theme. From fedoras to femme fatales to flasks, the props and models were perfect. Hope you enjoy. (The drawings are done either with a brush pen or black and white watercolor).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

David Kassan - Free Webcast

Portrait painter David Kassan will be doing a free Holiday Sketchbook live webcast, tomorrow at 4pm EST, where he will discuss hi color palette and how he thinks through different skin tones.

Watch the webcast here: