Editorial Articles, Writing/Articles

Digital Artists You Absolutely Need To Follow! – Part 2

Image created with canva.con

CLICK HERE to see Part 1!

Welcome back readers! If anyone remembers back to about a year ago actually, I posted a rather lengthy article on a list of digital artists that I think anyone who loves to look at art should absolutely follow; anyone from video game concept artists to professional illustrators to graphic designers and even tattoo artists, I made sure the list had some variety besides just some of my favorites who create amazing fanart commissions of my favorite books and series.

Well if it’s been a year later since then, it makes total sense that I’ve discovered even MORE artists that I want to showcase and organize into a beautifully displayed part 2 to my list. Art matters, and this new addition of artists also have quite a plethora of talent. I’ve only just begun getting back into drawing and I have began on the IOS app, Procreate. I know a few artists on here and part 1 use that program as well, but it’s for sure made me appreciate their work even more and aspire to have my work become even a fraction of how good these artist’s work looks!

Once again, I think this has a great amount of variety in terms of style and subject matter, I hope you discover a new favorite artist yourself! Find their profiles, give them a follow, go onto their websites, buy their prints, support your favorite artists!

Enjoy this list, the names and artwork are in no particular order!

***I do not own any of these artists’ work, and while all work is shared from their individual Instagram profiles, if any of them find this article and wish to have their artwork taken down, please reach out to contact me and I will happily do so!***

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Jen Bartel

Instagram: @heyjenbartel

Website

I discovered this artist by her work illustrating a graphic novel titled “Blackbird,” and I absolutely loved her style and felt like she had a similar style to how I draw. I was happy to learn that this artist uses the program/app Procreate just like I do too! What really draws me in is her use of really bright and vibrant colors that really pop out at you and make so that there’s no way you can’t notice it!

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Marc Simonetti

Instagram: @marc.simonetti

Website

Marc is a concept artist who specializes in environments and has an eye for the little things. As you can see by his work shown above, he is able to capture amazing detail in the smallest of spaces. I guess I could say his work that really captured my attention was his work of the Iron throne image above that’s from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series that everyone knows as “Game of Thrones.” The throne from the HBO show is iconic, sure, but Marc’s throne is actually a much more accurate portrayal to how the author describes it in the books, plus it’s about five times more intimidating looking!

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Lizzart

Instagram: @lizzart_zardonicz

This artist creates some absolutely gorgeous character design in their work and is a master of fantasy-genre artwork. I discovered this artist thanks to some artwork they did of a Sci-Fi series I’m reading: “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown. It’s a space opera that’s like Greek Mythology + The Hunger Games + Game of Thrones but in space! I definitely recommend giving the books a try if that sounds interesting to you at all!

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Philippe Lozinski

Instagram: @philippezolinski

Philippe creates some visually stunning environment concept art and really has a unique style that shows so much texture and really knows how to drive the eye across the canvas with well placed movement either in the environment or the characters he’s placed within. Some of his work really reminds me of the game “Journey” especially with the cloaked character you see in some of the work on the top of his section. I’m not sure if he’s actually worked on that game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out he did!

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Rovina Cai

Instagram: @rovinacai

I discovered this australian artist when she illustrated the fourth book in Holly Black’s “The Folk of the Air” series (as you can see by some of the images I selected.) I really dig her enchanting, gothic, fairytale-like drawings that are both whimsical and ominous and creepy, and I’d say you should go grab a copy of that book just to see these images up close for yourself!

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Jo Painter

Instagram: @po_jainter

This artist has commissioned fanart for a few of my favorite book series, so of course it was only a matter of time before I’d notice her work and fall in love with it. She’s made artwork for Sarah J. Maas’s “Crescent City” and “Throne of Glass” series, as well as Jennifer L. Armentrout’s “From Blood and Ash” series that is so so quickly becoming an all-time favorite of mine as well!

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Joon Ahn

Instagram: @joon_ahn_art

Joon is a concept artist out in Los Angeles, and I love all the work he’s done with both environments and characters. He really seems to specialize in either high fantasy or cyber-punk settings and looks like his work should be in video games, and I was first introduced to this artist by their artwork of the knight riding atop a giant eagle as seen above!

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Sam Yang

Instagram: @samdoesarts

Sam Yang seems to really focus on girls who have what I call the “Disney Princess” aesthetic, as in they look like they have very similar facial distinctions to the 3D animated princesses like Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna. His artwork is so warm, welcoming, and soft with subtle texture infused to make his work stand out on its own. I especially love how he plays with light in his artwork that places his females in a setting like in a car; that’s where I truly think his art shines, no pun intended.

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Dan Mumford

Instagram: @danmumforddraws

Surely you have to recognize Dan’s subject matter in at least one of his pieces I’ve selected above! He adds a ton of detail and heavy outlines to familiar characters and environments in american pop culture history, and while some of it reminds me of some tattoo-like artwork I’ve seen elsewhere, I also appreciate how he also loves to incorporate the creepy factor in his art, or the classic set up of the main character having their back to us as they face out to their setting.

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Yare Yue

Instagram: @yueyare

Amazing environments come with this concept artist, and I’m a big fan of their use of color. I was originally drawn in by their work with the whale swimming through the clouds; the work I seem to love the most is the work of the little kid and his pet cat incorporated into his environment pieces.

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Liang Mark

Instagram: @liangmark

This is an artist where you really need to enlarge the image to enjoy it even more; there’s so much detail work in all of their art! They definitely specialize in dystopian, Sci-Fi settings and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out they’re a concept artist for the newer Star Wars movies, their art just really reminds of it the franchise, especially the newer movies that have been released later than “The Force Awakens.”

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Sasha Lee Coleman

Instagram: @sashac_art

When an artist gets compared to the great Charlie Bowater, that truly speaks to the artist on how great their digital artwork truly is! I can definitely see an influence or inspiration from Charlie’s style of character design, but Sasha is also a really great artist who enjoys making pieces of characters from some of my favorite books! If you don’t recognize some of the characters above, she’s done amazing artwork of Sarah J. Maas’s “Crescent City,” Holly Black’s “Folk of the Air” series, and even Margaret Rogerson’s “Sorcery of Thorns.”

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Rosie Thorns

Instagram: @rosiethorns88

Okay, I absolutely HAD to show this artist because they do so many different styles of artwork both on canvas or digitally, but what I really want to draw attention to is her papercraft fan art of popular YA Fantasy titles! That’s right, some of this artwork is crafted from paper and brought together like a master scrapbooker. She’s done projects of Sarah J. Maas’s popular “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series with Rhysand and Feyre at Starfall, her “Crescent City” series with Bryce and Dana on top, along with “The Folk of the Air” by Holly Black, “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue,” and Kerri Maniscalco’s “Kingdom of the Wicked.”

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Delaney Januzzi

Instagram: @delaneyjanuzzi

Here’s another noteworthy concept artist who specializes in character design! Their cartoony style reminds me of animated movies and I feel like they’d make some amazing work for Dreamworks animated movies. I especially love that they’re one of the only artists I’ve found who’ve created fanart of Madeline Miller’s debut novel: “The Song of Achilles.” Take a closer look at their artwork of when Patroclus meets Thetis for the first time (sometimes meeting your lover’s parents doesn’t end up working in your favor!)

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Sally Pham

Instagram: @sallteas

Sally is another digital artist I discovered because she’s done a fanart for a lot of my favorite book series! She’s done artwork for Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” along with Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” series, Kerri Maniscalco’s “Kingdom of the Wicked,” plus even Adrienne Young’s “Fable.”

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Vanessa Ninona

Instagram: @nessa_ninona

Vanessa loves ancient Egypt, that much is obvious with her main focus on artwork for a graphic novel she both writes and illustrates called “Golden Brown.” I love her use of colors, especially the complementary use of browns, golds, and yellows mixed with blues to make it really pop!

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Darek Zabrocki

Instagram: @darekzabrocki

Another concept artist I found who specializes in environment design, this is another artist you also need to zoom in on their work to see all the little details he puts into his work. He’s done work for the “Assassin’s Creed” video game franchise, but my favorite work by him has to be either the pirate ships in the bay with the giant windmill, or the one right above of the small party of explorers walking into the ruins with the statue looking down over them like a guardian or an omen.

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Gukkhwa

Instagram: @gukkhwa

This artist does some gorgeous character design artwork with their subject matter focusing on mythological figures. Whether it’s deities of Greek mythology, Egyptian Mythology, Angels or Satan himself out of the christian bible, you have to admit that their work is certainly eye catching!

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Gretel Lusky

Instagram: @gretlusky

Gretel is another artist whose style really reminds me of the “Disney Princess” aesthetic, and that’s not just because she actually posts work of actual Disney princesses either! She switches between digital artwork and good ole watercolor and pastels on paper, but her use of color and the overall style of her work is one that I love, and wanted to showcase on this list to show others and get her name out there!

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Fran Garcés

Instagram: @dibujantenocturno

Fran is an absolute favorite of mine, I never get tired of his distinguishable linework and ultra amount of detail in his work. His love of dragons is what got him into drawing, but he just loves to draw monsters and nightmare imagery to create visually stunning artwork. I love his style so much that I had to buy his book to show my support!

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Gabrielle Ragusi

Instagram: @gabrielleragusi

I initially discovered this artist for their artwork of a series I’d recently started reading and really enjoy: “The Bridge Kingdom” by Danielle Jensen. Upon further looking into this artist, I found they’ve also done artwork for “Harry Potter” by JK Rowling and “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas and “To Kill a Kingdom” by Alexandria Christo, I really like their style and think they deserve to be as known amongst all the other artists who (thankfully) make stunning fanart of some of our favorite book characters!

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Abhishek Singh

Instagram: @abhiart

Drawing inspiration from his home country of India, this artist paints such awesome artwork of prominent figures from stories and myth. I love the amount of detail he puts into his work, especially with the costume and accessories of the figures as seen above!

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Marissa Clement

Instagram: @marissasketches

I discovered Marissa thanks to her artwork of Jude from Holly Black’s “The Folk of the Air” series along with Leigh Bardugo’s Alina Starkhov from her “Shadow and Bone” trilogy that’s gotten a lot of hype lately thanks to the new Netflix show premiering in late April 2021!

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Kelsey Eng

Instagram: @kelseyeng32

This artist has an adorable, cartoony style that I really enjoy, especially her artwork from what i assume is digital stills from actual episodes in “Game of Thrones.” I especially like the contrast she shows in her piece with Dany and Jon Snow, and even the one with Sansa and Arya Stark, the last of the Stark family line!

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Anato Finnstark

Instagram: @anatofinnstark

What initially introduced me to this artist was their artwork that showcases some truly iconic characters/monsters/figures in Fantasy literature: the darker characters from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I instantly fell in love with their work of the Nazgul, or the Ring Wraiths as they’re also known as, but I also adore their art of the Balrog and Sauron as he’s taking on Isildur at the battle at the end of the second age where he fell. I really enjoy their overall dark and creepy vibes in their work and it all truly leaves an impression on the viewer, and someone who I believe is perfect to end this second list on!

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CLICK HERE to see Part 1!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Uncategorized, YA Fantasy

My Review: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1): by Adalyn Grace

Publish Date: February 4th, 2020
Number of Pages: 384 Pages
Publisher: Imprint
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

Boarding a magical ship and following the tail of a wandering mermaid, you’ll be absolutely shanghaied into joining a fearless heroine with ominous magical abilities and her newfound crew as they set sail to save the kingdom!

This title has been one of the more highly anticipated YA Fantasy releases of 2020 so far, and it’s also the author’s debut novel as well! Saying that, it’s a pretty impressive work to say the least, and with a solid first book under her belt, Adalyn Grace has a bright looking future in YA literature. Not much is known about her, but in her short author bio, I thought it was worth mentioning that she was actually an intern on Nickelodeon’s animated show, The Legend of Korra, and is a big fan of burritos; add those two facts with how she’s written a story taking place on the high seas with pirates, mermaids, curses, romance, and plenty of danger, I may have a friend-crush on her!

Adalyn if you’re reading this, you’ve got a bookish friend in me! Let’s grab some burritos sometime and talk bookish topics!

It was a lot of fun to get this book as a surprise in the February Owlcrate box with the theme that was “The Power Within” (For those of you who don’t know, Owlcrate is a YA Fantasy monthly subscription box where there’s a theme, several bookish gift items based off well known books that fit that theme, and a special edition of a newly released book that they don’t reveal until the box literally plops onto your doorstep! I personally recommend trying it out!)

Here’s a link to their official website: www.owlcrate.com

You saw the original cover on the top of this post, but check out their exclusive edition that came with the order:

They added more colors to the scheme of the cover but kept it in shades pertaining to the ocean and it’s many majesties and mysteries, it’s own original foil design inside the jacket, plus was signed by the author herself with a special letter!

Alright, so special editions and gorgeous covers aside, back to the book itself and my reasoning behind my rating. Basically, overall it was a fun read filled with interesting imagery and enjoyable characters, and while the adventure they partake on in the story was action packed it never really blew my mind or made it feel like the stakes were high enough. I never felt like the characters were in real danger. The intensity and emotional impact wasn’t all there, but like I said, this book was fun and pretty impressive for a debut!

What It’s About:

A map of Visidia, image courtesy of fiercereads.com

As princess of the island kingdom of Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for her, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the Visidian throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic from a conniving tyrant.

But sailing the islands of their world holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora had ever anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

What I Liked:

  1. The Main Cast of Characters! Our Protagonist is Amora Montara, who is the princess of Arida, about to ascend the throne if she can showcase her particular soul magic in a ceremony. We also have Bastian, a pirate of a ship named the Keel Haul, and he was a fun & sexy character to add to the story. He’s certainly keeping plenty of secrets, but has a nice romantic dynamic with Amora. There’s Ferrick, who’s betrothed to Amora through an arrangement much like plenty of royal family histories, and he was a little tropey by being the skinny, naive boy who makes it easy for the MC to pick the other love interest, but he does grow a pair later on in the story which I appreciated! Then there’s Vataea, a kidnapped and vengeful mermaid who is rescued by the others in order to save the kingdom. She was vicious and adorable all at the same time if you can believe it!
  2. The Group Dynamic Aboard the Ship! One of the real highlights of the book was the group aboard the ship and their development as their mission is acted out. While Bastian and Amora have an obvious attraction to each other, the author also explores that possibility with the other two, and am curious to see how that plays out in the next book!
  3. Pirates & Mermaids Aesthetic! I’ve always been a fan of them since I’d first watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl back in the day! I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite movies, and I’ve always had a love for the ocean and mermaids. Ariel from The Little Mermaid was always my favorite Disney princess growing up! I’m glad to see a Fantasy novel have these qualities that I adore, and not just for that reason but because they aren’t used as often as I’d like!
  4. The Gorgeous Cover Design! Add this book to any list of books that have absolutely stunning and artistic cover design! It certainly draws the eye, both the Owlcrate Edition I have and the original!
  5. 7 Magic Systems! People that love well thought out magic systems will appreciate that this novel can boast an astounding number of them! Each island in the story hosts people who have a specific ability as it’s a part of the history of the land and is basically law.
  6. Amora is Morally Grey! She’s not some Mary-Sue, goody-two-shoes type that will bore you to tears; the princess has a dark side! She’s not afraid to draw blood in a fight and smirk at the sight of her weapon protruding out of her enemies, and you really see it in the ceremony in the beginning of the book. Amora having her boss-bitch moment and embracing her dark side had me like:

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. I Wanted More Mermaids…The hype surrounding this book was that there were many vengeful mermaids the characters would come across through their journey, but all I’ve met so far is just Vataea, who says she may be one of the last of her kind! I hope the next book will show us more of the sirens of the deep, and have them be as beautiful and terrifying, much like the ones you saw in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie!
  2. This Was A Little Too Predictable…Honestly, as someone who’s read quite a few Fantasy titles, both Adult and YA, this book didn’t bring too much “new” to the table in terms of plot, story arcs, etc. Nothing really shocked me, none of the twists really blew me away; for the most part I’d seen it all before.

Conclusion:

Overall, All the Stars and Teeth was not a bad debut novel by any means! I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the worldbuilding, and the fact that there’s romance treated as a subplot rather than being a big driving force. The plot was more or less the same sort of story any sort of fantasy reader has read before, especially in YA Fantasy, but it’s still easy to get swept away if you connect with Amora and the crew of the Keel Haul. While I wasn’t disappointed and definitely plan to read the second part of this duology when it releases in 2021 most likely, it also didn’t exactly blow me away to the point of me obsessing and immediately pushing it onto my friends/coworkers to read. I still had fun reading it, it was just nothing too new or mind-blowing for me personally, BUT the positives do outweigh the negatives!

I would recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a more ocean-centric Fantasy/Adventure title to try out, and of course anyone who enjoys Pirates and Mermaids! Quite honestly, I don’t see as many novels coming out that feature those aspects, so it’s a nice change of pace to keep the genre a little fresh, plus I plan to write a Fantasy book series with a lot of similar aesthetics, so it gave me an opportunity to compare and think of how to take the idea even further! If you love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, or the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, I have a feeling you’d enjoy adding this title to your bookshelf!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell