San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Artist Roundup

SDCC 2014: GeekMom Artist Roundup. Image credit: Ariane Coffin.
SDCC 2014: GeekMom Artist Roundup. Image credit: Ariane Coffin.

Sure, the star-studded panels of San Diego Comic-Con get a lot of press, but my favorite part of SDCC is shopping the Artists’ Alley, Web Comics, and Small Press sections. The endless rows are filled with so much creativity, it is staggering and humbling. Artist after artist were present with their portfolios and prints for sale, most at very reasonable rates, all extremely different in style. You can find everything from superheroes to sexy elves, cute animals to steampunk cityscapes. I bought quite a few prints—fewer than I would have liked, more than I had room for! Because I couldn’t buy it all, I did the next best thing and compiled a list of my favorite artists I found at SDCC 2014 to share with you (in no particular order). Enjoy!

Chris Appalhans

Image credit: Chris Appelhans, used with permission.
Image credit: Chris Appelhans, used with permission.

Chris Appelhans makes such wonderful pieces that capture sweet, quiet moments. It’s never too busy or too loud; the focus is on just the right thing. I usually prefer obnoxiously colorful art, but I’m in love with the peaceful stillness of Chris’ paintings.

Kazu Kibuishi

Jellyfish Canyon. Image credit: Kazu Kibuishi
Jellyfish Canyon. Image credit: Kazu Kibuishi, used with permission.

Kazu Kibuishi is the writer and illustrator of the best-selling YA graphic novel Amulet. We had purchased the first book of the series at last year’s SDCC and returned this year to purchase the next four. The story gets dark and scary at times, but that doesn’t seem to deter our 4-year-old. We’ve read our way through three of them already since the weekend, as a read-aloud at bedtime. The art of Amulet is beautiful, dark, and epic, and Kibuishi’s other illustrations reflect that style as well.

Cari Corene

Umbrella Totoro and Secret of Kells Pangur Ban. Image credit: Cari Corene.
Umbrella Totoro and Angry Pangur Ban in a Puddle. Image credit: Cari Corene, used with permission.

Cari Corene does watercolors inspired by geek pop-culture icons such as Totoro, Pokemon, and My Little Pony. Her Etsy shop not only offers her art as prints, but also as zipper pouches, messenger bags, charms, and scarfs. Beautiful and practical!

Armand Baltazar

The Collidescape Chronicles. Image credit: Armand Baltazar, used with permission.
The Collidescape Chronicles. Image credit: Armand Baltazar, used with permission.

Armand Baltazar is a formally-trained artist who has worked at many of the major animation film studios like DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar. As you can see from the example above, his art reflects a geeky twist on a more classical painting style. It’s detailed and exquisite.

Eunjung June Kim

Image credit: Eunjung June Kim
Image credit: Eunjung June Kim, used with permission.

Eunjung June Kim‘s art is so cute, I want it all over my walls! Out of all of her prints, I purchased the one above because I love the colors. Don’t get me wrong; the subject matter is great too, but the color palette is the reason I couldn’t put it down. Such a happy contrast!

Pascal Campion

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Image credit: Pascal Campion
Image credit: Pascal Campion, used with permission.

Pascal Campion is probably the most prolific artist I’ve met. Some artists had many copies of a few pieces, Pascal had boxes and boxes full of prints and I could hardly find any repeats. In 2006, he began the habit of starting off every day drawing a “Sketch of the Day,” which now totals nearly 3,000 sketches! He is a father of three and many of his pieces are inspired by his family life. He seems to perfectly capture the greatest moments of parenthood.

Chris Ayers

Content Kitty. Image credit: Chris Ayers, used with permission.
Content Kitty. Image credit: Chris Ayers, used with permission.

Chris Ayers was a successful artist working in the film industry when he was diagnosed with leukemia. To help motivate himself through his battle against cancer, he started a sketchbook, drawing one animal per day for one year. The sketchbook resulted into a book, The Daily Zoo. The image of the Content Kitty featured here is one of my favorites. My husband and I purchased it at SDCC last year, framed it, and hung it in our daughter’s room. It still makes me smile every time I see it. I love the bright contrasting colors and, of course, the attitude! Such contentment, indeed.

Chris Uminga

TMNT. Image credit: Chris Uminga, used with permission.
TMNT. Image credit: Chris Uminga, used with permission.

Here’s another Chris, the third one on this list. I swear I didn’t pick these artists based on name alone! Chris Uminga is a recurring favorite of mine. I bought a piece from him last year and started following him on Instagram, so by the time I got to SDCC this year, I already knew what piece I wanted to buy from him… this Ninja Turtles print, of course!

Jackie Huang

Ice & Fire. Image credit: Jackie Huang, used with permission.
Ice & Fire. Image credit: Jackie Huang, used with permission.

Jackie Huang does beautiful illustrations, but even more amazing things with paper. Her originals will set you back a bit, but she has fantastic pop-up cards on for sale on Etsy. I’m flabbergasted by the details of her paper constructions. How can anyone do that? Incredible!

How about you, readers? If you have attended SDCC this year—or any other con for that matter—and found great new art and artists, please do tell!

Ariane is a programmer married to another programmer. Together they have two little girls who don't stand a chance against their nerdy lineage. Ariane can also be found writing about STEM travel at Geekling's Guide to the Galaxy.