Italian Illustrator and painter Simone Bianchi is somewhat new to American comic books. He first appeared in 2005 doing cover work for DC comics, painting covers for both Green Lantern and Detective Comics. He really caught the attention of comics readers when he took on the full cover and interior duties of Jeph Loeb’s Wolverine: Evolution storyline. Following the success on that run, he did the same thing for Warren Ellis’s Astonishing X-men: Ghost Box storyline. Bianchi returns to Wolverine this summer after a short time of doing only cover and promotional work, but his style just keeps getting better and better.
Bianchi is unique in the comic book world in that he already had a name for himself as a painter for Italian comics, sci-fi books, and album covers. He applies a thorough study of anatomy to his illustrations and abandons the familiar comic illustrator’s approach of representing every muscle of the body at the same time. Bianchi’s style focuses less on constant flex in muscles and more on the complete form. He accounts for flesh, fat, facial features, and fashion in all of his paintings and illustrations with delicate balance between the outer lines of a form and its inner spaces. He uses subtle shading and blending to create the impression of musculature more often than not, and this makes for both realism and focus in his work. Bianchi’s style draws upon the use of light and shadow rather than lines to create his illustrations, so the eye frequently moves to where the few lines in his work are, giving the impression of photographic focus and depth to his art.
His work is so carefully crafted and detailed that it almost seems annoying. Anyone really familiar with the comic book industry has to sympathize with the inkers and colorists who have the difficult tasks of retaining Bianchi’s fine touch while adapting the pages for print (just imagine how you are supposed to convert the layers of grey tones Bianchi uses into corresponding colortones). But when the illustrator is as talented as Simone Bianchi, it is definitely worth the effort it takes to bring his work to the page.
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