There is a time where I just want to drop the pencil, close the book I’m studying on and just magically steal an artist talent. But this is the real world and I need to suffer and fail for becoming the artist I want to be.

Now, jokes apart, today I want to talk about my all time favourite artists, my daily inspiration. They don’t know that, but they are being robbed by me everyday (insert evil laugh). I always try to catch why they made those decision, how they used light, where does that design come from and so on. All the art made by those artists make me say “damn, I want to be one of them! I want to speak through images like them. I want to create images that inspire people and make me feel good. I want to share my thoughts through art like them” . They are incredibly talented. Oh, by the way, with the word “talent” I want to mean: they worked so hard and they found a great way to express their voices. I don’t think about talent as something like a gift made to a human by some art god when borning. In my opinion talent thinked in this way does not exist. Instead, for me, the talent is the summary of exercising everyday, being curious, being consistent, having good habits and hard working.

I’ve split this article in 3 parts. Five illustrators each one for a total of 15 fantasy illustrator. Let’s begin with part one.

Justin Gerard

Justin is always in my reference board for everything I do. I love everything about his art. Back in 2009, while wandering in the artists community (like Deviant Art, Tumblr and Blogspot), I found one of his works on his blog Quick Hide Here. I was astonished, his dragon were so beautiful, his orcs were so wicked, his design was so new to me. And also on his blog there were steps, tutorials and tips. By that time he was for me, a young wanna be artist, the Chosen One. I spent literally days reading his blog. Since the day I found out about him he make tons of new illustrations, improving every time.

What I like the most in his art is desing and light. All of his creatures, monsters and heroes are so peculiar. His design always inspire me. Just look for his Monster of the Month series, every character looks like has a great story behind him. His light looks like a theatre opera, really dramatic, it always catch your attention and drive you to the focal point. And also, he can mash-up digital and classic painting in a really satisfying way. I’ll steal that skill one day! And what about the narrative? Every time you watch one of his painting looks like you are reading a novel!

Also, Justin is a great person. I was lucky to do some mentorship (on his Patreon) with him and even had a chat from time to time and he always helped me in ways he can’t even imagine.

Chris Rahn

I need to say it. I have a crush on Chris Rahn’s art. His works for Magic the Gathering are always incredible. Every time a new set is coming out his works keeps getting better and better year after year. I love his brushwork and how he use the light even in dark pictures. His illustration are always full of mistery with murky shadows and hints of light in the focal points. Rahn’s characters design is another skill I would like to steal from him: how can his characters always looks so badass? He could paint a Teletubbies character and still manage to make him like the mightiest hero ever seen.

My hopes are to become an MTG artist one day and to work on the same set Chris Rahn works. Finger crossed.

Ted Nasmith

What can I say about Nasmith? He is an illustration god, with thousands of illustrations done and I never seen a not-so-great illustration from him. His art is full of adventure, you can lost yourself watching it for hours and when you wake up you say to yourself “wait! This isn’t Middle Earth. Let me get back!”. The epicness is what I most love about his pictures. Just look at the image I posted here above, can you feel it? It’s something behind working on composition, color theory and more. His painting have a soul. Thanks for existing Ted Nasmith.

Steve Prescott

Another great artist from the MTG’s illustrators team I admire is Steve Prescott. His works are really colorful with beautiful palettes and great contrast. It looks like he took the best from the classic fantasy illustrators from the 80’s and improve it in a modern way. His paintings are so dynamic. They bring you in the action like you are there inside the painting. Amazing. Prescott’s works look like they are made with simplicity but at the same time they have the complexity of a believable world in it. The strokes of his brush are always clean and in the right spot. It’s something I’m trying to reach in my works. I’ll will steal that from Prescott one day!

Paul Bonner

Well, do I really need to say something about Bonner? Ok, I’ll do it. Bonner’s illustrations are literally alive. There is an entire world in every painting he do and all looks so believable. I think this is because of the narrative that he manages to insert in his works. And for me this is so fascinating. Another great aspect I admire is design. Bonner characters are so beautiful, full of details, inspiration and story behind them. I really hope to reach that quality one day. His book “The Art of Paul Bonner” is a must have in the library.

So, what are your favourite artists? Do you like mines? Did you known them? Let me know in the comments section!

This is all for today. Hope you find this article interesting.

See you in the next post, have a great adventure!

Nico Rigobello

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