Friday, September 11, 2009

Illuminating Illustrators: J.H. Williams III

This week Illuminating Illustrators takes a look at an artist who has gained a lot of recognition by the comic book industry, but his use of colors, line, and space are so unique and inventive it is a shame that the recognition has not extended out into public appreciation. J.H. Williams III has been an illustrator for over fifteen years in the comics industry and has already worked with as the main artist for some of the top creators in their field; including Warren Ellis, Howard Chaykin, Grant Morrison, Chuck Dixon, Greg Rucka, and Alan Moore. Not just a spectacular penciller, Williams ofter does his own inks, paints, and occasionally lettering as well, blending all of the mediums in such a visually appealing way that also tells the story in the most effective manner.

The majority of Williams' career has been working for DC comic, his beginning work as a comic book artist was the 1995 miniseries "Deathwish" and the short lived series "Chase." Recognised more for his developing art art than for the stories, Williams worked on small but unique projects like Howard Chaykin's "Son of Superman" miniseries until his biggest opportunity arrive from one of the most renowned comic book writers of modern history: Alan Moore.

Creator of successful and intellectually stimulating stories such as "V for Vendetta" and "Watchmen", Moore approached J. H. Williams III to be the illustrator for his upcoming comic series in 1999: "Promethea", Alan Moore's 32 issue religious superhero saga in which he used mysticism and deep psychological storytelling to state his opinions on the concepts of religion and the unknown element of life in the adventures of a archaic superherione (a Wonder Woman with more emphasis on the mythology and feminism rather than the issue of sex, if you will.)

Alan's complex storylines and worded imagery were matched above and beyond with Williams choices of inks, digital and watercolors, and mixing mediums for the entire 32 issue run as he served as both interior artist and cover designer from 1999 to 2005. Williams was able to develop and hone his artistic style thanks to the demanding but satisfying writing of Moore.

After "Promethea", Williams collaborated with equally cerebral writer Warren Ellis on surreal science fiction spy series "Desolation Jones"; using his ability to adapt his art stlyle to the requirements of his writer once again. Williams would first get to experience mainstream comic work when he began to work with psychedelic writer Grant Morrison. Infamous for for his graphic and mindbending storytelling on his mental "Arham Asylum" and "The Invisibles" comic series, Morrison asked for Williams to work on the three issues on his second story arch of his current Batman series in 2007.

Using dark tones and sharply designed panels, Williams work brought a new class of visual storytelling to a popular series. Despite the current absence of Batman in the series, Williams continues to work on the current Detective Comic series, which stars the new Batwoman, since 2009 with writer Greg Rucka, this time experimenting with watercolor and harsh digital colors to contrast the lifestyle of the superherione from her regular identidy.

William work continues to impress with his ability to use painted an digital media in such and effectively merged manner, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. His website can be located here and his flickr account here for more images and contents on his work process.

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