75 Artists You Must Know and Where to Find Them


Great artists educate you, influence your style, and inspire great artwork by setting a high standard. But how familiar are you really with illustration history? I asked myself this the other day and was ashamed to realize that my knowledge was a bit fuzzy.

So, I started to research some of the great artists that influence illustrators today. This list is the result. If you are a student, practitioner, or fan of illustration, I truly believe you should know all these artists by name and their work.

I am certain I’ve left out plenty of great artists that deserve to be on this list. If you know of any artist or link that I failed to include, please leave a comment on this post. Now…click away!

Add your own favorite links and artists by leaving a comment on DaniDraws.com.

40 thoughts on “75 Artists You Must Know and Where to Find Them

  1. Rob

    Wow! Great List! I would’ve added David Wiesner (Picture books Tuesday and Flotsam) in the modern list, and I have to agree with David that the Hildebrandt brothers need a nod, but I am very impressed with everyone that you did include in the list. Fantastic!

  2. chickengirl

    Thats some great research, thanks for the list. I have to agree with Rob that David Wiesner deserves to be on this list. And maybe Richard Scarry? (because he is one of my favorites of all time.)

    I’ve been wondering this for a long time, I wished there were more well known female illustrators out there. Looking at this list, the women makes up for only 10%? I know there should be plenty more. Perhaps that would make a great post!? Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  3. Dani Post author

    Thanks for the suggestions so far, everybody. That is a great idea, chickengirl. I can think of a few great female illustrators right off; I’m surprised I didn’t include more on my list. Doh!

    In fact, shortly after I posted this, I had already come up with a good long list of illustrators that totally slipped my mind and should be up here as well. I might have to make another post. But I really could go on forever though. There’s just too many great artists out there. :)

    And check it out,everybody…this post made Lines and Colors: http://www.linesandcolors.com/2008/03/17/75-artists-you-must-know-and-where-to-find-them-from-danidrawscom/

  4. smacleod

    Nice list. Here’s a little timeline I made a while back with a list of some of my favorite illustrators (a lot of them are the same as yours):


  5. Jonathan B.

    I knew 25 out of 75 by memory alone, without checking links. And here I thought I knew a something about art history!
    Instead of making artist’s suggestions to this list, might I recommend a great resource book? Genius Moves, compiled by Steven Heller and Mirko Illic. A must for referencing the history of illustration styles, arranged by subject, featuring many of these artists. I cannot recommend this enough, especially for commercial work.

  6. Rob

    Great list! I would also mention William Stout, Mike Mignola, Ralph McQuarrie, Moebius, Geoff Darrow , Gustav Dore, Tamara De Lempicka, Kay Nielsen, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt,Edmund Dulac, Charles Macintosh, M C Escher, Egon Schiller, Heath Robinson and many, many more. Yes I agree Dani you could go on forever but what a great list to inspire!


  7. Newborn baby

    Al Parker should probably be put in. He was THE illustrator for women’s magazines during the 50s, and ran the table for all other
    artists working in the same genre.

    I think, perhaps, Brian Bolland needs to be more celebrated about now. He’s been pumping out cover after cover of great comic book illustrations for the past 2 decades. Some of them are quite iconic.

    As for James Jean, he’s just starting a wonderful career. And yet, I’m not sure I would put him in “list material” yet. Maybe after another 10 years?

  8. Newborn baby

    Someone also mentioned female artists. I believe Jessie Wilcox Smith deserves a shout out. She was one of the most successful female artists of the “Golden Age” (probably THE most successful) and was especially desired by clients to paint children, or child-heavy illustrations.

  9. Dani Post author

    Reader Joseph just emailed me this very cool list:

    (I’m very surprised that no one has mentioned these two illustration juggernauts)

    James Montgomery Flagg: http://www.bpib.com/illustra2/flagg.htm http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTflagg.htm
    Joseph Clement Coll: http://www.fleskpublications.com/galleries/coll/ http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/coll.htm

    Yoshitaka Amano: http://www.amanosworld.com/
    Yoji Shinkawa: http://www.creativeuncut.com/profile_shinkawa.html http://www.creativeuncut.com/artmgs.html
    Claire Wendling: http://www.claire-wendling.net/
    Katsuya Terada
    Bill Sienkiewicz: http://www.billsienkiewiczart.com/
    Posy Simmonds
    John Cassaday: http://www.johncassaday.com
    Sam Weber: http://www.sampaints.com/
    David Downton: http://www.daviddownton.com/index.htm
    John Foster: http://www.jonfoster.com/index.html
    Mark Harrison: http://www.2000ad.org/markus/
    Danijel Zezelj: http://www.dzezelj.com/
    Juan Gimenez: http://www.juangimenez.com/
    Bernie Wrightson: http://wrightsonart.com/forums/index.php?
    David Foldvari: http://www.davidfoldvari.co.uk/index.html
    Marko Djurdjevic: http://www.sixmorevodka.com/
    Sean Phillips: http://www.seanphillips.co.uk/index.htm
    Barry Windsor-Smith: http://www.barrywindsor-smith.com/
    Craig Mullins: http://www.goodbrush.com/
    Ashley Wood: http://ashleybambaland.blogspot.com/
    Roger Dean: http://www.rogerdean.com/
    Todd Lockwood: http://www.toddlockwood.com/

  10. Scott Conner

    All good suggestions. I’d add Michael Kaluta, Charles Vess, Gary Gianni, Mark Schultz, P. Craig Russell, Julek Heller, Victor Ambrus, Virgil Finlay, J. Allen St John, and Roy Krenkel.

  11. David

    This is a terrific list– very thought-provoking assortment of talented artists. It caused me to go back and look a a number of artists that I have taken for granted for years. And I was amused by the suggestions from some of your readers. Thanks for all of your effort.

    Since you have compiled this list partially because great illustrators “educate” us, I feel compelled to note that your American Art Archives link for JC Leyendecker contains a large section entitled “JC Leyendecker: The Studies” which are in fact not by Leyendecker at all. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I would hate to see the brilliant JC Leyendecker’s reputation tarnished by association with these vastly inferior copies of his work by art students. Leyendecker experts have raised this concern with the owner of the site, who purchased these studies inexpensively because they were labeled “after Leyendecker” and changed the attribution to “by Leyendecker” on his own. If they visit the site, I would urge your readers to contrast the counterfeit “studies” with the real Leyendecker work they see at the other sites.

  12. Kelly

    Dani, what about the comic book artist? Or are you one of the elitist that don’t think comics are true art? :)
    Thanks for the list, though. You’ve shown that I have to look beyond the realm of contemporary comic book artists to the wider universe of art in order to become better. I always look forward to your posts and I can’t thank you enough for how you have helped me in the past and how you contnue to help budding artists in any type of medium.

  13. Dani Post author


    Thanks for your comments. Take a closer look, and you’ll see Art Spiegelman, Alex Ross, Steve Rude, and Dave McKean. They are all highly respected in the graphic novel industry and no doubt influence the comic book artists that you are thinking about. There is a wide variety of fields represented here – comics, animation, sci-fi, children’s book, editorial, etc. – and I did not ignore anything because I thought it was lesser than the other. Even so, I am not as familiar with comics as other fields, so if you feel strongly that I left someone out, by all means, leave a link.

  14. Kelly

    My bad, Miss Jones, I missed Alex Ross completely. I love how you paint your child characters, though. Do you think whenever you find the time in your busy schedule you can put out a step by step by step video tutorial on how you paint up your characters in photoshop with a voice over and everything? There’s alot of speed paintings out there, but almost none where the artist is explaining why they are taking a particular action or setting. And I know you specialize more in Photoshop, but do you know of any detailed drawing tutorials for adobe illustrator? Those are even harder to find than photoshop ones. I’d appreciate any advice or direction you could point me in. Thanks.

  15. Jacob Thomas

    I wanted to add John Ritter (www.ritterillustration.net). He has been a great mentor to me and helped me break into the illustration field in a big way. The man gets a ton of work and is an incredible thinker/ problem solver.

  16. Madeline

    There’s a giant missed in your list.
    Will Eisner.
    All graphic novelists trail in his wake.
    Also Howard Chaykin, comic artist, and Mel Odom.

  17. Luella

    you really should include todd lockwood on your list, his influence on concept game art and his book cover work rank with the best and he is a Chelsey Award winner too.

  18. Catu

    I still haven’t looked at all of them, but de Séve is my favourite so far. I love his somewhat realistic shading combined with cartoonish proportions.

  19. Bob Nolin

    Richard Amsel was all the rage when I was in art school. The Divine Miss M, The Sting, Raiders of the Lost Ark, many TV Guide covers. In the late 70’s he was everywhere. Died of AIDS in 1985.

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