Thursday, November 19, 2015

Artists Illustrating Artists

-By Donato

Queen of Demons   Book cover    1997     Guest appearances by Dorian Vallejo, Steve Ellis, Steve Youll and myself.
I find that other visual artists make for some of the best figurative models as they are consciously aware of the shapes their bodies make.  They also have an idea what another artist may be seeking in their posing and take directions extremely well:

Tilt your head a little to the left,
Bend your right elbow and keep the hand at the same level,
Show me more of your back, break your wrist,  etc....

The paintings below offer a broad sampling of artists and friends I have used over the course of my career as models for commercial commissions.  These are not portraits of my friends but rather their likenesses are used in the service of my narrative work. Considering no one has 'seen' these characters before, models used to interpret characters within these narratives are all strangers to my audience. Therefore I find it fun and a challenge to capture the likeness of each of my friends as a tribute to their help in advancing the quality of my work.

As I know I am not alone in this venture, do you have any like images of artists to share??

Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1993
Michael Mrak model (and roommate at the time) and now Design Director at Scientific American

Psychohistorical Crisis,  book cover,  artist Dan Dos Santos (posing twice) and Carey Johnson (my wife) as models, 1999

Saint Crispin's Day - Right panel for the Battle of Agincourt triptych   2007

Red Sonya - Lover's Quarrel    artist Kelley Hensing model   2011

The Night's Watch , artist Tony DiTerlizzi, writer George R.R. Martin and a host of others as players in a Game of Thrones , 2014

Fortune and Fate , book cover,   artist  Kristina Carroll model ,   2007

Alien Crimes, book cover, artists Owen Weber, Rebecca Solow and Scott Murphy models,   2007

Reader and Raelynx,  book cover,  artist Scott Murphy model,   2007

Cartographer from Magic: The Gathering    artist Claudia Rodriguez model    1999

Joan of Arc - On the Field    art director  Irene Gallo model    2010


  1. I was poking through the Folio Society edition of Dune with the art by Sam Weber and saw this:

    I don't know if he sat for it, but that's Greg Manchess, Mentat master of assassin's.

  2. I think Tony Palumbo may have set a record with this one:
    From left to right- Dave Palumbo, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Arkady Roytman, Greg manchess, Steve Belledin, Scott Brundage (me), Lars Grant-West. Back row squeezes in Randy Gallegos, Dan Dos Santos (and son) and, I think thats Sam Burley.

    1. He may have broken his own record with this one:

      Basically a who's who of IMC.

  3. Great post. Used to use fellow artists all the time back in the day. Now that we are living in the suburbs I use myself and family members in a pinch. My wife is a Designer and Artist and knows how to help. The kids are now young adults and have really learned how to be solid models and are great at action poses too.

  4. Just saying Donato:
    "if you ever need to do a slightly overweight happy babyface barbarian in the background, I am your man!"

  5. Just saying Donato:
    "if you ever need to do a slightly overweight happy babyface barbarian in the background, I am your man!"