When you hear about San Diego Comic-Con, you typically hear about the blockbuster franchises: Marvel, Star Wars, DC, and the major streaming platforms. All of that stuff is amazing, but the SDCC exhibit hall also has plenty of hidden gems, from small print shops to funky dealers to rare comics. One of the best parts of the Exhibitors’ Hall is Artists’ Alley, where indie artists and illustrators sell their work. Now that SDCC 2022 has come to an end, here are some of the best indie artists we’ve come across!
If you didn’t attend Comic-Con, or missed these artists’ tables while strolling through the exhibition hall, don’t worry — links to their websites are below.
Celine Chapus’ ethereal watercolors explore the worlds of fantasy and fandom, featuring mermaids and other mythical creatures swirling around with Marvel and Star Wars characters.
Full disclosure: I’m a fangirl of Brianna Garcia. In fact, I included her hilarious sylkie art in it Loki Season 2 update! Garcia’s cartoon-inspired drawing style is fun and energetic, and she’s worked professionally on features like My little Pony and Disney princesses.
Harmony Gong’s style blends anime with art nouveau to create stunningly lush 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 inspirational portraits of historical figures and fictional characters on the internet, each with a single word that summarizes why that character is great, then you’ve come across the work of Karen Hallion. In fact, her “You” series has been made into a mid-range book that’s coming out soon! But the “She” series isn’t just inspirational. Hallion has fun with it too.
Derek Knierim’s work includes many desert landscapes filled with androids, bounty hunters, superheroes and other fantastical beings. His art is on a massive scale with saturated color palettes that pop.
Joseph Michael’s intricate art is reminiscent of old silkscreens or woodcuts. Each image is amazingly detailed and his process reels on Instagram are mesmerizing.
Another Art Nouveau-inspired artist (her table was right next to Harmony Gong’s, which was real eye candy for any Art Nouveau lover), Melissa Pagluica, is the creator of the graphic novel Above the clouds and the webcomic monster heart. I was particularly drawn to their tea-themed stickers, which featured lovely vintage ladies representing Earl Gray and other flavors.
Toma Vagner’s hallucinatory drawings explore themes such as mental health, addiction and more. If you feel like you’ve seen her work before, be among her clients Harry Styles and The New Yorker.
(Image: San Diego Comic-Con International)
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