Dystopian Brief – Artist Research

Along with looking at movies for inspiration, we have to look at five artists to help us with inspiration/ideas.

Okay let’s get this out of the way before we begin to stop me repeating myself. Syd Mead and Jean Giraud have already been covered before. See the movie research post for the link.

Right, onto the third artist to look at.

Carlos Ezquerra/2000AD

Okay so I picked Carlos for one reason, to cover Judge Dredd. You may be asking why I didn’t cover either of the movies in my previous post despite having screenshots for both? Well the bulk of the universe exists on page which is far more varied than the on screen counterparts.

Dredd is a perfect example of a dystopian future, where crime has gotten so bad it requires a totalitarian police force where the letter of the law is absolute. While usually grim in content, Judge Dredd has its own sense of dark and occasionally silly humour and this does reflect in some of the designs now and then. Mostly they’re built out of simple, blocky shapes making them great for reference of how to create your own designs. You can’t argue with the content when the strip has been running since 1977! I know Kelly had a few issues trying to find example artwork online, to that I laughed and pulled a bunch of comics off the shelf. My scanner is dead so I apologise these are all photographs.

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I should point out there are a few images of Ron Smiths work in there too, another 2000AD artist. Skimming through the graphic novels usually leaves you with a mix of artists that worked on that particular story arc. I’ll never escape the influence of Dredd, my costume permanently sits on a mannequin outside of my study.


Jamie Hewlett

Sticking with the British comic industry here. Time to hit the bat **** mental end of the spectrum with artist Jamie Hewlett and Tank Girl (also later known for the band Gorillaz). I picked Jamie because I have reference books on hand and I really don’t think anyone else will cover him even though he did work for 2000AD before he moved onto his own strip.

So why tank girl for dystopia? Compared to some of the other artists or even movies I’ve talked about, TK is wild, punk, colourful and full of adult humour. It’s easy to forget the world has gone to hell! All combined I think it makes it a pretty unique entry, expanding my reference material to other styles. Again sorry for the photographs, these are all from my own books.

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H.R Giger

I was going to stick with the comic book theme and write about Darick Robertson for his amazing work on the cyberpunk strip Transmetropolitan but decided to give Giger a mention instead. Giger was on the recommended list of artists to look at and I must admit I’ve never considered his dark, unnatural and frankly unnerving style to be dystopian but I guess given all the words I used to describe his work, I guess it is.

Giger is most famous for his work designing the Xenomorph in Alien, infact most of his work shared the same bio-mechanical aesthetic with heavy sexual themes. The Swiss master of dark and creepy. I’ve loved his work for years, here is a few personal photos from outside of his museum and the cafe done out in his sculptural style.

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Here is some of his actual work (no photos were allowed inside the museum otherwise I would have captured ALL of these).

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That’s it for all the research on this brief! I’ll swing back with an update once I’ve hashed out some thumbnail designs for the vehicles.



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