Portrait Gallery Illustration II from Gaiman to Rasputin

Neil Gaiman © Ryan Bittle
Neil Gaiman © Ryan Bittle, digital portrait

Ryan Bittle writes, “I have been influenced by the work of Neil Gaiman for over a third of my lifetime. I find his offbeat and eerie style fascinating, and I’ve made attempts at a few lackluster portraits, so I thought it was about time to make a good one in honor of all the inspiration Mr. Gaiman has given me over the years.”

J.R.R. Tolkien © Tessa Ports
J.R.R. Tolkien © Tessa Ports, colored pencil

Tessa Ports, is a graduating senior in Fine Arts. “I chose J. R. R. Tolkien because I’ve never been more amazed by the depth of someone’s imagination and their ability to dream.” With the exception of Tessa, the artists here are KU Communication Design majors, mostly juniors. All have had Illustration Techniques, the required sophomore-level traditional media course. Then they took Illustration 1 which focuses on digital illustration using the Wacom tablet.

Chuck © Erica Slough
Chuck © Erica Slough, digital

For this project , students can use traditional or digital media. Erica Slough went digital and writes, “I chose Chuck Palahniuk because he has always been my all time favorite author. His books are pretty much the only books I ever read. I typically finish an entire book in days.”

The assignment insisted they choose someone other than an actor or entertainer as a subject. Many chose authors. Aubrey Cohen picked Maurice Sendak. She writes, “I chose to paint Maurice Sendak because his book “Where the Wild Things Are” is such a classic and I thought it would be fun to portray him like one of his beloved monsters.”

Maurice Sendak © Aubrey Cohen
Maurice Sendak © Aubrey Cohen, digital painting

“I picked Nostradamus for his often stern look and the controversy that revolved around him. He struck me as a reserved man who was probably going crazy on the inside.” -T.J. Walston (below)

Nostradamus © T.J. Walston
Nostradamus © T.J. Walston, digital

“I chose to do a digital painting of Rasputin,” says Hanna Stephey, “because his eyes are so distinctive and kinda creepy, I felt compelled to capture that creepiness. Also, I added an albino bat sidekick hiding in his beard, a la the animated film Anastasia.

Rasputin @ Hannah Steffey
Rasputin @ Hannah Stephey, digital

These were not the only excellent portraits from this talented class. These were chosen to demonstrate excellence and diverse illustration styles. If you’d like to leave praise or constructive criticism, use the comments section. Thanks!

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