The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Illustration Showcase: 5 Artists to Watch

We love illustration. We love innovation. And we love these 5 incredibly innovative illustrators.


Kansas City designer Tad Carpenter‘s character illustrations are what one would call “unique” — the bold colors, crisp lines and subtle 2D texture, combined with the expressive minimalism of the characters’ faces, make for a signature style you couldn’t mistake for another.

Tad Carpenter

Monster Mix-UpsTad’s work spans across posters, identity, installations, packaging, painting, and more. Between his day job at Design Ranch and his personal work, Tad also co-runs Vahalla Studios, a top-notch screen-printing shop.

Tad recently collaborated with a few other artists on a philanthropic project — after visiting 9 orphanages in Vietnam to help paint some murals, they got inspired by the kids’ drawings and paired each kid with one of the artists, who later did his own version of the kid’s drawing. (Remember Child Art for Grown-Ups?)

They then set up an auction for the work, benefiting, of course, the orphanages.

Giving It Back to Kids

Check out Tad’s blog for more about his work, his inspiration, and his rather exciting artist life.

via grain edit


Designer and motion graphics artist Christopher Lee, a.k.a. “The Best Is Back,” has some pretty impressive commercial gigs to his credit: Lucas Arts, TBWA, Disney Consumer Products, Vodafone and Honda, to name but a few.

TBWA: Carbon Figthers

In 2004, Christopher started a conceptual pet project dubbed The Urbanites — a friendly bunch of characters that are almost like the rest of us:

Populated together in that tight knit community you’ve grown to love and hate. Filled with best friends, mortal enemies, summer popsicles, freshly cut lawn, gossip, laughs and the obligatory robot factory.

Except they’re monsters.

The Urbanites: Sketches

Eventually, Christopher developed The Urbanites into lovable characters, each with a unique personality and back story.

The Urbanites

In 2006, Christopher moved to Southern California to look for new inspiration. And we think he’s more than found it.


Christopher now lives in Sacramento and works as an Art Director at motion graphics get-up Buck.


Chicago-based artist Matthew Woodson is the kind of illustrator who doesn’t fall for the latest grunge or “2.0” or magna fad. His minimalistic traditionalism of simple, meticulous pen and brush work somehow creates rather powerfl, almost haunting images.

Something about his ghostly illustration seems to strike a chord with the cultural and commercial A-listers — from nonprofits like UNICEF, to for-as-much-as-possible-profits like American Express, to an impressive lineup of media powerhouses: BusinessWeek, ESPN Magazine, Glamour, Randomhouse, and Wired (which, as you probably know by now, we’re completely obsessed with.)

Check out Matthew’s blog for a glimpse into his creative process.


Designer Alberto Cerriteño is an enviable master of texture, shape and color, whatever medium they dwell in.

The Helium Adventure

His artwork creates nothing short of a whimsical alternate reality, sucking you in one lovable monster at a time.


Born in Mexico City, Alberto is now a Senior Art Director at a Portland-based design shop. His work spans nearly every frontier of design imaginable, from print to motion graphics to apparel and more.


Follow Alberto’s global adventures on his blog for some insight into the fuel of that incredibly imaginative mind.


Honduras-based freelance illustrator Wilmer Murillo‘s artwork is brimming with that rare blend of the bizarre, the delightful and the introspective, all tied with a bow of fantastic aesthetic execution.

Don Pedro Buenaventura

His latest collection, The Messenger of Love Is Old and Tired, juxtaposes the endearing, almost cartoonish nature of the characters with the profound sadness of the conceptual message.

A Walk With a Hot Dog

Wilmer is only 21, which absolutely floors us. Keep your eyes peeled for this guy as he takes the design world by storm in the next couple of years.

Published January 12, 2009




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