Countdown To The Eisners – Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (Interior Art)

by Cameron Hatheway

I was never very good at painting. All my portraits of friends and family ended up very bright and colorful, with the same watermelon slice-shaped smile on everyone’s face. My biggest fear was mixing colors, for I saw it as messy and impure. And don’t get me started on watercolors, for what I always end up with is stained, wrinkly pages of paper that would be a perfect fit in a second grade art gallery. But enough about me, let us focus on a handful of artists who demonstrated what one can do with a skilled hand, extreme patience, and a brush. Today I’ll be focusing on the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) category. If you need a reminder of what’s been nominated, you can find the entire list right here, and see what I chose last time right here.

Keep in mind I cannot vote for who wins (nor can you, probably), as per the rules. However, that’s not keeping me from being vocal regardless!

Who is not eligible to vote?

  • Comics press or reviewers (unless they are nominees)
  • Non-creative publisher staff members (PR, marketing, assistants, etc.)
  • Fans

Before I get back to painting an abstract portrait of Will Eisner so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

Brecht Evens, The Making Of (Drawn & Quarterly)

Review copy unavailable. That being said, a quick Google image search provides a plethora of different sample pages, and from what I saw, Evens has a talent for combining abstract design with beautiful watercolors. Just the look and feel from the preview images has my mouth slowly salivating for more.

blacksad_sh_page 34Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse)

Watercolors suit Guarnido’s style very well for this latest volume of Blacksad, for every shadow and fur design is magnificent. You can tell from his attention to detail that he took his time on every panel and page, immersing himself into the art and making it seem as if he’s been doing watercolors for years. With the setting being Mardi Gras, he definitely goes to town!

Teddy Kristiansen, The Red Diary/The RE[a]D Diary (MAN OF ACTION/Image)

Review copy unavailable. That being said, a quick Google image search provides a plethora of different sample pages, and from what I saw, Kristiansen’s style is crisp, cold, and radical. If the previews alone have my full attention, surely the book in its entirety will knock my socks off!

Lorenzo Mattotti, The Crackle of the Frost (Fantagraphics)

Mattotti brings to life such fantastical characters and settings in The Crackle of the Frost. With pastel-like textures and an exciting amalgamation of colors, he does a wonderful job illustrating in a style similar to Pablo Picasso and Edvard Munch. The elongated and abstract figures captivate and intrigued the reader, leaving the overall tone not too hot and not too cool.

Katsuya Terada, The Monkey King vol. 2 (Dark Horse)

The coloring was slightly distracting, for it flip-flopped between the categories of ‘fair’ and ‘great’ too often. Regular panels looked good when done right, but when a page called for immense action, the results tended to be slightly cringeworthy. The coloring felt a little too ‘digital’ for my tastes.

 

juanjo_guarnido_picture(1) Who I think should win:
Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse)

It’s hard to bet against Guarnido in this category. The leaps and bounds he’s made as an artist on the Blacksad franchise is fantastic, and you eagerly wait to see how he’ll astonish the masses in the next volume. Impeccable illustration and use of watercolors, I have no problem waiting another few years for the next volume if he continues with the orgasmic eye candy.

Quality over quantity seemed to be the theme in the latest Blacksad volume when it featured one main story instead of three. It never felt like a letdown, but rather a celebration of the medium.

Who I think could win:
Lorenzo Mattotti, The Crackle of the Frost (Fantagraphics)

Lorenzo Mattotti had me at page one with his art. I wasn’t sure if I was reading a comic book, or a book of classic Expressionist paintings. While he does seem to give a nod to the greats who surely inspired his look and feel, at the same time he makes it his own and dazzles with the different combinations.

I’d be ecstatic if Mattotti wins this category, for his passion for the art form can be seen as clear as day throughout all 118 pages. Hopefully he won’t have a James Jean realization anytime soon that he can make bucket loads of money in galleries rather than the funny books!

Who I think should have been nominated:
Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)

Coover uses watercolors in Bandette, and the execution is flawless. Her technique even gives the comic a European feel, which is appropriate since the series takes place in France. The softer lines give it a calmer tone, but can turn on a dime when the action revs up; car chases, bullets flying, bombs exploding, etc.

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy’s Comic Corner and Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Sonoma State STAR. You can commission a superhero illustrated in crayon from him on Twitter @CamComicCorner.