When you hear about San Diego Comic-Con, you usually hear about the blockbuster franchises: Marvel, Star Wars, DC, and major streaming platforms. All of this is amazing, but the SDCC exhibit hall is also home to many hidden gems, from small presses to genius vendors to rare comic books. One of the best parts of the exhibit hall is Artists’ Alley, where freelance artists and illustrators sell their work. Now that SDCC 2022 is over, here are some of the best indie artists we’ve come across!
If you didn’t attend Comic-Con, or if you missed these artists’ tables as you strolled through the exhibit hall, fear not, below are links to their websites.
Céline Chapus’ ethereal watercolors explore the worlds of fantasy and fandom, with mermaids and other mythical creatures alongside Marvel and Star Wars characters.
Full disclosure: I’m a Brianna Garcia fangirl. In fact, I included his hilarious Sylkie art in this Loki Season 2 Update! Garcia’s cartoon-inspired drawing style is fun and energetic, and she’s worked professionally on properties like My little Pony and Disney Princesses.
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Harmony Gong’s style combines anime with art nouveau to create breathtaking portraits. Her Sailor Moon art captures the beauty of Naoko Takeuchi’s original drawing style while making the character her own, and her original art focuses on fairies, witches, and other fantastical women.
If you’ve seen inspiring portraits of historical figures and fictional characters floating around the internet, each with a single word that sums up why that character is awesome, then you’ve come across the work of Karen Hallion. In fact, her “Elle” series has been turned into an intermediate-level book coming out soon! But the series “She” is not only a source of inspiration. Hallion also has fun with it.
Derek Knierim’s work includes many desert landscapes, filled with androids, bounty hunters, superheroes, and other fantastical beings. His art is expansive with saturated color palettes that pop.
Joseph Michael’s intricate art is reminiscent of vintage serigraphs or woodcuts. Each image is amazingly detailed and her process reels on Instagram are mesmerizing.
Another art nouveau-inspired artist (her table was right next to Harmony Gong’s, which was a feast for the eyes for any art nouveau lover), Melissa Pagluica is the creator of the graphic novel Over the clouds and the webcomic monster heart. I was particularly taken with her tea-themed stickers, which featured adorable vintage ladies representing Earl Gray and other flavors.
Toma Vagner’s hallucinatory drawings explore themes of mental health, addiction, and more. If you feel like you’ve seen her work before, her clients include Harry Styles and the new yorker.
(image: San Diego Comic-Con International)
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