I would like to share with you my admiration for the works of my favorite contemporary artists and illustrators — Graham Rounthwaite, Hiroshi Tanabe, Kristian Russell, Anja Kroencke, Maxine Law, Autumn Whitehurst, Jason Brooks.
Here is a link to my personal webpage "tanuSHIshechka".

XXI Century Illustration
Graham Rounthwaite

According to Rounthwaite, a 33-year-old, London-based designer who has worked for clients such as Faberge, the Levi's illustrations are among his most demanding ever. Each begins with a drawing done in colored pencil. "My commercial work begins with rough sketches to show clients the initial concepts. For me, it's just easier and quicker to do roughs on paper. I continually work them up into final artwork. Once clients give me the go-ahead," says Rounthwaite, "I draw all my people and backgrounds, then scan in the art and redraw it on the Mac in Photoshop."

Before Levi's hired Graham Rounthwaite to create the 100 Photoshop-generated characters that have peoplesd its latest American campaign, Rounthwaite was producing illustrations for projects in his native England that ran the gamut from hip-hop records and Faberge colognes to fashion editorials for trendy publications like the Face. Graham Rounthwaite also created graphic images for well known East London's groundbraking club.

Graham Rounthwaite's passionate attention to detail, the right trainers, stance and labels, give his characters vitality and looks that go beyond two dimensions and into the heart of clubland. Given Rounthwaite's ability to depict design in near-microscopic detail—not to mention the omnipresent addition of gridded, wireframed and otherwise intensely decorative backgrounds—it comes as no surprise that illustrator has a background in design. (He earned a degree in graphics at the Chelsea School of Art before going on to study illustration at the Royal College of Art.) Rounthwaite creates all his illustrations on his Mac, and it's unlikely that he would ever pick up a paintbrush to illustrate. In his illustrations, Rounthwaite is very attentive to the details, and "it's coming down to key rings and hair grips," illustrator says.
More works of Graham Rounthwaite:

Kristian Russell

When the Anglo-Swedish illustrator Kristian Russell graduated with an art history degree from England's Staffordshire Polytechnic, there was a moment when he thought he mught become a writer.

But, fortunately for Russell's illustration career, he left England for Stockholm to dive headlong into the alternative music scene as a guitarist with local bands. "I guess I felt that I had a sort of destiny in the end," he says, "but I kept delaying it by playing music."

Although Russell is perhaps best known for his highly decorative work that features bodies in twisting, torquing motion against retina-searing backdrops of acid green, fuchsia and red, the 30-year-old illustrator is currently undergoing a stylistic sea change. "I find myself becoming more influenced by the Scandinavian way of designing—getting rid of excess detail. My new work is a lot simpler. It deconstructs the way figures move."

Russell's colors may be louder than ever, but his illustrations do bear the signs of a more stripped-down aesthetic—which is not to say that they are any less eye catching. (His new work also strangely puts one in mind of Aubrey Beardsley.)

Currently at work on a campaign for Diesel in Sweden that may well end up becoming international, and continuing to produce illustrations for magazines like Arena, Frank, Dazed & Confused, Spin, Russell is able to use his bicultural background to great advantage.

Hiroshi Tanabe

Hiroshi Tanabe is an indisputable master of the two-dimentional plane. The 33-year-old illustrator's faceless, attenuated, often off-register depictions of women dressed in everything from Lang to Lagerfeld are known by fashionistas and savvy art directors in both his native Tokyo and his adopted home of New York.

Tanabe's editorial illustrations, which have been featured regularly in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Jane, are a seamless blend of East and West, past and present, low and high. Flat planes of color reference traditional Japanese woodcuts, while details like cellphones, inline skates and headphones place the work firmly in the late-20th century. As flat and still as his figures seem to lie, stand or recline on the page, Tanabe's work is in constant motion.

The illustrator admits to being in a moment of transition. Moving away from the bubblegum-pop images of Lolita-skirted girls rendered in pastel pinks, blues and yellows that have made him a kind of illustrator rock star in Tokyo, Tanabe is experimenting with moodier, muddier colors.

For those familiar with Tanabe's work, perhaps the most surprising change is that he has recently taken up the computer. "It lets me play around with darker colors and more complex textures," admits the illustrator.

Tanabe is still very involved in the fashion world, illustrating collections for himself and various Japanese and American publications. But music and architecture also hold interest for him.

Autumn Whitehurst

Autumn Whitehurst grew up in New Orleans, "about a block away from the Mississippi, across from the French Quarter, -- as theartist remembers. -- The heat in the summer there turns everything up and on, everything's louder and more saturated and you're soaking wet all of the time, so I stayed in and would read and draw and be the moody little thing that most young girls are. My dad's a boat captain and a metal sculptor, and my mother works in a university bookstore. We always had lots of fantastic books in the house to look at and lots of periodicals."

Autumn Whitehurst studied fine art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

Autumn Whitehurst does both computer illustrations and painting in the studio, saying that for her, the difference between these two spheres of her art, will always be as simple as what she does for others and what she does exclusively for herself.

Artist says: "There are a lot of things I'd also like to learn to do, like silversmithing and sewing and ropework but at the moment I'm just working on my illustrations."

Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks has a way with women: Amazonian goddesses, they prowl the face of club flyers and hipsway dangerously across fashion pages. They may be dressed in nothing more than a sheer slip dress with a smear of black cherry lipgloss, but they look like they could eat your average boy raver for a spot of post-clubbing breakfast. Big women have long been a feature of Jason's life. Jason Brooks was born in 1969 in Brighton, England. Brought up by a bohemian mother in Brighton, his childhood was puctuated by frequent trips to Berlin, where his grandmother was a cabaret dancer and costumer maker, who encouraged an early interest in sequins and feather boas. He studied graphic design at Saint Martin's School of Art, London, and won the prestigious Vogue/Sotheby's Cecil Beaton award for fashion illustration in 1990. He later completed an MA course at the Royal College of Art.

However, what really brough Jason's art to the attention of London's trainer-wearing fraternity was the series of slinky flyers he produced for the drop dead gorgeous club Puscha. Ironically, it wasn't the opportunity to influence the dancefloor attire of the capital's fashion bunnies (Puscha babies would literally copy the motifs he drew) that grabbed Jason's imagination, but the chance to produce a piece of disposable art that people could pick up for free, throw away or put on their fridge. "I liked the idea that it was egalitarian". A sketch artist at heart, Jason developed his on-the-spot documentary drawing technique while backpacking in Guatemala and Mexico (good practice for couture shows). Often he prefers febrile uninhibited energy of his finished artwork.

While influence by a British graphic tradition that stretches from Aubrey Beardsley to David Hockney, Jason's chief contemporary inspiration came from the fierce vision of new British fashion photography. "I like to find ways of making illustration darker, more sexy and edgy. Illustration is often used in a very light context. I'm not into light and fluffy". Neither are his women.

Brooks is now a successful freelance illustrator, working for Vogue (British, French and German), The Face, Elle, Arena, The Guardian, and The Independent. Other clients include Katherine Hamnett, The Body Shop and Virgin Atlantic.

Anja Kroencke

Anja Kroencke was born on December 29, 1968 in Vienna, Austria. She studied Fashion Design and Illustration at the College for Textile & Design in Vienna, Austria. After graduating in 1987 she decided to pursue a career in Graphic Design. Anja worked in several design studios before moving on in 1990 to become an Art Director at GGK, one of Austria's largest advertising agencies.

In 1994 Anja moved to New York and after free-lancing for 2 years she became the Design Director at Stein Rogan & Partners an advertising agency. It was at this time that Anja began illustrating on a part-time basis. Her work was so well received that Anja decided to devote herself full time to her illustration career in 1997.
A cover illustration Anja created for The New York Times section in 1997 received a Silver Award from The Society of Newspaper Design. Anja's work has appeared in American illustration, Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Print Magazine, Luerzer's Archive and The Society of Publication Designers. In 1999, she also received a Silver Award from the Creative Club Austria and 2 Merit Awards as well as 3 Distinctive Awards from the Art Director's Club New York.

Editorial : Vogue, Wallpaper, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Allure, Travel & Leisure, German Elle, German & US Marie Claire, W Magazine.

Advertising : Mattel, Estee Lauder, Ann Taylor, British Airways, Le Printemps, Polygram, Bergdorf & Goodman, The New York City opera, Simon & Schuster. Anja was also commissioned by Ritzenhoff Crystal (Germany) to design motives for their 1999 milkglass, beerglass and champagneglass-collection.

Maxine Law

A giant foot clad in a realistically rendered walking shoe steps across a brilliant orange background. A stylishly dressed man passes in front of a surrealistic cloudscape that would make Magritte proud. Strongly outlined, brilliantly hued and framed in an entirely canny, photorealistic manner, London-based illustrator Maxine Law gives the "Cool Brittania" concept a visual edge.

Law, who earned both bachelor's and master's degree in graphics at Central St. Martins, stumbled into her first (and largest-to-date) illustration job while working in the studio of Alan Aboud and Stefan Sedano. Aboud, who art directs all of Paul Smith's advertising, had decided to veer away from his oft-imitated photographic campaigns and charged Law, who was freelancing as a graphic designer, with creating Yellow Submarine-like illustrations for the fashion designer's Spring/Summer 1996 season.

Law sketches the figures by hand and went over the outlines with a thick black marker before scanning them into the MAc and chosing patterns, textures and color gradients from Illustrator.

"I never went out to look for it," says the bemused 32-year-old of her burgeoning illustration career. Creating further illustrations for Smith's 1996 and '97 collections has put Law firmly on the radar of art directors in England and the U.S., where she now regularly contributes to such publications as British Esquire, George, Flaunt.

from I.D., May 1999, "The Hardliners", Bridget Virden (freelance journalist), Sarah Bailey (contributing editor for Elle), interviews at www.pixelsurgeon.com & other sources.

Explore these sites about famous illustrators of the world:
More works of Graham Rounthwaite: www.art-dept.com/illustration/rounthwaite

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