I was surprised that Belgium artist Carll Cneut is an illustrator of children’s books. Most of his drawings seem like illustrations, but they are also kind of surreal. I can’t even say they are whimsical.
That’s not to say that I don’t like Cneut’s art. I do. After reading what Cneut had to say about his art in an interview, I think I may have a better idea of what I like about it:
It is something I always have found very important as I always believed a picture book should leave room for interpretation by the reader. A reader who should actively participate and be part of the book. I try to drag the reader into the book. … I also try to create the same demand to contribute through many other things, like often only showing the main characters in profile, but having their emotions shown through how they hold their bodies, so the reader enters into this character to imagine the facial expression. Or by spending time on the outfits of the characters, working through many layers of paint to give the clothes some life and history, so the reader should wonder why the character might wear these specific clothes, and why the clothes don’t look brand new, leaving space for the reader to imagine where this character comes from, how his life was before he ended up in this book etc… Or by adding little stories in the illustrations which have nothing to do with the main story. The funny thing is that children notice these extra little stories very quickly, whilst adults almost never notice them.
His drawings do indeed drag me in and make me wonder and make up stories about what I am looking at.
Since he is doing illustration, there are not a lot of examples of fat art; in fact, a lot of his drawings are of non-humans. But in his drawings of humans, there are almost always fat figures.
Fat Art – Carll Cneut
Animator and character designer Bobby Pontillas’ styles vary quite a bit, so I can’t say his work is readily identifiable to me like some artists’ work is.
Most of his subjects are not fat, but he has a good eye for the fat body when he draws a fat character.
In my mind, appeal is totally subjective. There are no rules. Simply stated, it’s what you like looking at. Which could be for a myriad of different reasons. Talking to different artists, they all find different things appealing. It’s all over the map. The most you can do, working in this industry, is find out what the majority of your audience finds entertaining. It doesn’t have to be status-quo or predictable, people like to be pleasantly surprised. Things that are visually interesting, something that they can relate to, characters they can empathize with, are all examples of why audiences are attracted to certain things. We’re all artists and want to express ourselves, but as story tellers it’s important to keep the audience in mind.
While he has some fat female subjects, it seems most of his fat art is of men, something you don’t see a lot of in fat art.
I enjoy Pontillas’ art, not just because he is portraying fat people in a positive way, but because each character’s personality shines through and makes you want to know more.
Of course I love Blakeinobi’s (Blake Eason) work. The gentleman hails from Michigan, natural habitat of the fatties!
I was born in Kalamazoo, MI and it’s where I currently live. Since the day I could remember, I have loved drawing. I’ve been teaching myself to use any medium that I get my hands on. I primarily work digitally, but I also enjoy using acrylics and watercolor. I currently work freelance while continuing to work on personal projects.
His work is mostly populated by fat to very fat women, and includes a lot of fantasy characters, such as mermaids and fairies. I always like to see fantastical fat images. Fat folks have always been part of the human race, why shouldn’t mermaids and fairies be fat too?
I’ve also included some of his character studies which show fat bodies using their bodies in amazing ways.
Some people would consider Blakeinobi’s work as fat “cheesecake”. I think there is more going on than that; but even if you think it is cheesecake, there’s nothing wrong with that. Cheesecake is delicious and so are Blakeinobi’s creations.
If you like Blakeinobi’s work you can support him through Patreon.
Fat Art – Blakeinobi
OMG. How much do I love the artwork of Barabara Lavallee? How could you not love the pure joy of her paintings? Depicting life lived in the frozen north, her paintings are still full of warmth and color. And she’s a prolific artist, so there is a lot of art to love.
Barbara Lavallee describes herself as a “very happy person.” Indeed, her happiness is vividly presented in her folk art scenes. Born and raised in the Midwest, she holds a degree from the Illinois Wesleyan University. Her experiences teaching art in the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools both in Arizona and Sitka, Alaska have given her a rich knowledge of Native American culture. Ms. Lavallee came to Alaska in 1970 as a teacher. In 1976, she left teaching to devote her time to painting and printmaking. Barbara’s paintings reflect her interest in people; how they live and what they do. Lavallee, a watercolor artist, portrays whimsical stylized characters dressed in vibrant colors.
Her art focuses on Alaska native culture that speaks to all people. She is also an illustrator of children’s books.
The subjects of her paintings are large and soft and lovely. They leap and dance, play and work, and there is a strong sense of community in all of Lavalle’s paintings that I just love.
Fat Art – Barbara Lavallee
Avner Geller was born in the US but raised in Israel. He then came back to the US for art school and remains here – very busy in the animation industry.
The style Geller’s work seems to vary a lot; from out-and-out cartoon animation to his imaginative pencil sketches (that show so much more detail); and like many character designers, his work consists of people of all sizes and in work that features more than one subject, you will often see some fatties included. I always like to see this because fat people are part of life – we are everywhere.
With completion of his studies his graduation film Defective Detective (Co-Directed by Stevie Lewis) won the Student Academy Award for the Best Animated Film, as well as numerous other awards at festivals around the world. Avner went on to intern at Pixar Animation Studios. Since then, Avner worked on Henry Selick’s set aside stop motion film The Shadow King.
I LOVE his two drawings where he takes ancient fertility goddesses and creates modern-day women from them. I would like to see a lot more of these.
Geller’s drawings always seem to have an on-going story, and we’re getting a peek into that story. The art intrigues me and sets my imagination loose as I start creating my own stories to go along with the art.
Fat Art – Avner Geller
Like most illustrators and animators, French artist Aurore Damant’s subjects vary in size and shape; however, her fat subjects tend to be short, round and cute. I consider this “happy fat art” – for two reasons – the subjects are happy and they make me feel happy.
It seems like more of Damant’s subjects are fat than what I’ve seen with other illustrators and animators.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
Any kind of people or animal looking a bit weird. Fat, ugly, over cute, character with huge thighs, animal with too much hair, anything that makes people difference and hang-ups. I’m not really interested by smooth subject, I find the perfection quite boring. If I draw a pretty girl, at least she has to be sneaky.
I think it is interesting that Damant thinks that drawing fat subjects qualifies as a kind of people looking a bit weird. But then, she admitted in this interview that her English is pretty basic – she may have meant unusual or outside the norm or expected.
With other art it is sometimes difficult to tell if the subject is truly fat or just large (i.e., muscular). This is especially true with children – who are often depicted as having a thicker body shape. With Damant’s art, there is no doubt about whether or not her subjects are fat. They are fat – delightfully so.
Artur Gorczynski is an illustrator, animator, and character designer from Poland. He designs characters for video games.
Like most illustrators / character designers, his work includes people of all shapes and sizes. Which is one reason I enjoy the work of illustrators – you can often find sketch sheets and character designers – where one character is shown doing various activities or showing different emotions.
Gorczynski has worked on a number of short animated films, including Wild Love, featuring a cave man and a cave woman, both fat. He also has worked on a feature animated film about cockroaches with some cute fat bug-people.