Design insights & tutorials.

Blank Canvas: Who Inspires You?


Another installment of Blank Canvas, where Go Media asks the readers to tell us what they’re thinking. This week’s topic: Who inspires you?

We want to hear about the designers, illustrators and other creative types whose work or personality has had a big influence in your creative career. Inspiration sources can be people you know, or just people whose work you know and love.

I’ll get things started with some of my inspirations:

As an illustrator, much of my inspiration comes from other illustrators and cartoonists. Growing up, I was mesmerized by the artists in MAD Magazine, which pretty much set me on the art path throughout my life. In particular (and in no particular order): Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragones, Jack Davis and Don Martin. Being a fan or monster and wild creatures, of course I was influenced and inspired by B.K. Taylor (the Odd Rods specifically), Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (of course!) as well as Stephen Blickenstaff. Rob Bottin‘s special effects work on John Carpenter’s The Thing was a huge, huge influence on me as a kid. I was blown away by the ingeniously creative and demented creature designs he came up with for that film. The late special effects guru Stan Winston also had constantly amazing creature and character design coming out of his studio.

As I got older, different artists inspired me. Robert Williams was a huge inspiration (and still is), as well as the biomechanical style  originator H.R. Giger, psychedelic visionary painter Alex Grey, and just about all of the regular contributing artists to the Book of the SubGenius. Movie poster master illustrator Drew Struzan was also a huge inspiration growing up as was psychedelic cartoonist Rick Griffin.

Some other inspring artists: cartoonist Jim Woodring, illustrator extraordinaire Von Glitschka, and Rion Vernon’s Pin-Up Toons. I’m sure there are tons more, but these are the artists I can recall off the top of my head as being huge inspirations to me.

I have to give a special nod to former cartoonist and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. I’m a huge film buff, and I love the creativity-inspiring extras on every Rodriguez DVD. His cooking classes aren’t bad either! Rodriguez just has an extremely infectious and inspiring personality for creative people in any medium.

So that’s me. Who inspires you? Sound off in the comments and please share links when possible. Go!

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!
Discover More by George Coghill


We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Stefan Holt

    hey, just had to sound off about a few co-conspirators of creativity and inspiration…these are just a few..hat tip to the following:

    Aharon Rabinowitz

    Andrew Kramer

    Harry Frank

    Nick Campbell

    Lee and Sachi LeFever

    the one from down under
    John Dickinson

  • Matt Bryant

    As someone who likes to dabble in a little bit of everything I tend to draw inspiration from all over the board.

    Art/Illustration Inspiration
    Luke Chueh
    Ray Frenden
    Andrew Jones
    Marko Djurdjevic
    Derek Hess

    Design Inspiration
    Modern Dog
    Secret Penguin
    Go Media (naturally)
    Elastic Heart

    Web Design Inspiration
    Jason Morehead
    What Cheer

    There's probably hundreds more that I can add to the list, but these are the people that I keep an eye on on a regular basis.

  • Krizbo

    Egon Schiele (…)
    Geoff Darrow (…)
    Ben Templesmith (

    These “guys” are the best artsist of all time! I love their work, especially Schiele-s artworks! Amazing! I learned so much from his works. I love Darrow's detailed drawings, and his “sick” comic books. His works looks like Hieronymus Boshc's paintings! unbelievable! The las guy, Ben Templesmith is just a pure genius. The method, with he coloring his artworks is the best, i've ever seen!

  • Geoff May

    My influences are all over the place, though I mostly am into illustrators. Some of my first influences were Todd McFarlane and Coop. I'm also really into Shag, Derek Hess, Jim Phillips, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Robert Williams, Gil Elvgren, etc…

    I could go on and on but those are the ones that come to mind right away.

  • Ben Saufley

    Bill Watterson is an obvious one for me (and hopefully everyone who illustrates), and for some reason I've never been able to get over Rodolphe Guenoden ( Other than that, my influences tend to be whatever I saw that day, in real life or on paper.

    Interesting article though, made me realize that I should really look into finding some people whose work I admire (of which there are plenty, but I never remember them), and study what they do. Haven't done that for a long time.

  • Jordan Morris

    Great thread here George. Going to go through all of these links later one.

    As for mine, I would have to cite Star Wars (new hope) as my overall biggest influence in art because as a kid it obliterated the boundaries of what I knew to be a defined 'finite” existence, and I loved the idea that there was so much more out there for me to find. Note: as a 5-year old kid, my words were just as eloquent.

    But with that in mind, so much of my influence comes from film:
    • All Kubrick (particularly clockwork orange which my dad made me watch at a young age)
    • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    • The animated “The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe”
    • The Point! (film not record) by Harry Nilsson (the version narrated by Alan Thicke)
    • Robocop
    • Jurassic Park
    • Countless other violent, gruesome, or fantastic films from the 70's and 80's

    In regards to fine art:
    • Bill Watterson (Ben, amazing) – The last Calvin & Hobbes strip ever blows my mind every time i read it, bringing a tear to my eye.
    • Same Metzen and Samwise of Blizzard Entertainment (
    • HR Geiger
    • Alex Grey
    • Nick Gurewitch of fame … A good friend who's ability to push himself to extremes to accomplish a brilliant array of styles inspires me to no end.

    I have drawn an immense amount of inspiration from this site since finding it years ago and have learned so, so much from all the artists involved in it.
    So in regards to internet inspirations:
    • Go Media
    • Hydro74
    • Dan Mumford
    • Dave Hill photography
    • Sacha Waldman

  • jeff_finley

    I'm greatly inspired by film, music, photography, and of course art, design, and illustration.

    In general concepts that inspire me:

    Authenticity, realism, honesty. Cinema Verite, Dogme95 and Mumblecore film “movements” are big inspirations. Film posters, album art, film titles. Horror (not gore), fear, loss, grief, hope, passion, introvertedness, observing, human relationships, solitude.

    Film Directors:

    Werner Herzog, Harmony Korine, Kelley Reichardt, Dardenne Bros, Susanne Bier, Alan Clarke, Andrew Bujalski, Chris Cunningham, David Lynch, Duplass Brothers, Joe Swanberg, and Mike Leigh. Also, Criterion Collection and diy film collectives like Red Bucket Films are also influences.


    David Lynch, Anders Linden, Niel Krug, Kyle Cook, Chad Moore, Jamie Ibarra, Juampi Bonino, Salva Lopez, Adriana Petit, Joyce Kim, Xavier Encinas, Jeff Luker, Garmonique, Marcio Simnch, Lorna Simpson, Ugne Straigyte, Martina Hoogland Ivanow


    Mark Weaver, Scott Hansel, Alex Cornell, Invisible Creature, Switch Creative, Aesthetic Apparatus, All City Media, Olly Moss, Jim O'Raw, Andrio Abero,


    Aaron Horkey, John Dyer Baizley, Pierre Lacombe, Florian Bertmer, Cristi Road, Horsebites, Derek Hess, Angryblue, Martine Johanna, Pushead, Daniel Danger

    The list grows every day. But look those people up!!

  • Esteban Dido

    Aaron Horkey
    Gustave Dore
    Go Media Artists

  • PeterKa

    George Orwell –

    Banksy –

    Terror –

    Born from pain –

    A few of the many.

  • George Coghill

    Coop! I knew I forgot someone in my list. Shag & Hess also faves.

  • George Coghill

    Yeah not sure how I left out Star Wars. I suppose technically we're influenced by Ralph McQuarrie [], who was the artist that developed all the characters. Although the final scuplts for masks and such seem to also include some tweaks by the sculptors as well.

  • ricripper
  • dinamin
  • amatatomba

    Lots of different artists, including Scott Hansen and Johnathan Haggard, and music. I try not to draw too much inspiration from a single artist though. I don't want to copy their look or anything.

  • Madmadman01

    in the web – electricheat
    otherwise – dali and hundreds of others

  • Simon H.

    OMG, wayyy too many to put down there :-D
    It can go from Schiele, Dali to Gieger…

    And then… whatever catches my eyes :-)

  • Thom Baker

    In no specific order, and not really seperated into disciplines because it all feeds each other.

    The Skull Club

    Kim Hiorthoy
    (who has no website, and I met briefly which was really cool, great photography, film, design and music)

    Tim Quinn
    Ex Editor of Marvel comics, also met him this year, really fantastic enthusiastic guy who just makes you want to create and draw and get excited about stuff.

    Ha! It sounds like ass kissing but really, you do inspire me!

    Hunter S. Thompson

    Terry Gilliam


    And at the moment Frank Zappa is having a huge influence on my atitude towards things…Errmmmm there are probably loads more but thats all I can think of at the moment…

  • Adam_Wagner

    Nearly everyone.

  • Liz Hunt

    Inspiration, for me, stems almost directly from strong admiration. It's not uncommon to find artists and designers who are inspired by entities just outside their creative bubble, and I'm no exception. I find my inspiration from people (mostly women with Earth signs, admittedly) who uphold a high level of integrity in what they do. For example:

    I admire musician Neko Case because she sticks to her stylistic guns and refuses to compromise her voice in the studio (you'll never hear auto-tuning on her records). I admire Tina Fey not just for her comedic stylings, but because she's worked hard for what she wants (she talks frankly in Vanity Fair about winning those Emmys). I admire Kai Ryssdal of NPR's 'Marketplace' for his impressive resume and catchy voice.

    Just like many mercurial artists/designers, however, what inspires me changes with the wind.

  • Size 14 shoes

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  • Dan

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