Inspirational Artists – The High School Years

In December I wrote four posts on artists that have been inspirational to me as of late. This post I’m going to focus on artists that got me started creating in the first place.

Gustave Courbet


Self-portrait (The Desperate Man), c. 1843–45, Oil

This self portrait was what initially got me started trying to depict deeper emotions and auras in my art. I discovered this painting in an art magazine my freshman year of high school (2004!) and instantly fell in love. The painting spoke to me and I wanted to figure out how to make art that could reach the viewer and communicate as well as this one did. This painting really shaped my art focus for my high school years and probably contributed to my love for darker art.


Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham

The Old Woman in the Wood, 1917, Watercolor and ink

We are going to go old school when talking about this image. I used this image for my Myspace background and coded a personalized profile around this image. That’s how much I loved this image. When I first saw it I was stunned by the color scheme, the lineart, and character interaction of this piece. It still causes me to catch my breath when I see it. This piece definitely helped inspire my love of line art and whimsical themes in my artwork.


Amanda Turnage

An_Apple_for_Fey_by_ArmadaRyuAn Apple for Fey, 2008, pen, watercolor and white ink.

I found this artist on deviantart and saved this image in my “inspiration” folder to reference it down the line. I loved the limited color scheme, something I’m still working on perfecting, and the way that this artist’s style was so loose yet so detailed at the same time. The use of red tones in this piece still impresses me to this day.


Bao Pham


Leafy, 2009, Digital

Bao Pham was one of the first digital artists that I discovered. Her work was so detailed, lively, and realistic that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I loved her smooth shading and crazy amounts of texture and detail that brought her creations to life. I had tinkered with creating my own creatures and her art inspired me to push for a more realistic look by better understanding lighting, textures, and movement.