Artist to Watch: Kazu Kibuishi

studiousTalk to any screenwriter and they’ll tell you which actor they envisioned for their character. Talk to any musician and they will tell you about the great photographer or artist who worked with them on their album art. Talk to any author, and they’ll tell you who they want to direct the dream film adaptation of their book. For almost all artists, collaboration and inspiration is the name of the game: it’s where we get our stories, push through with crazy ideas, or even reach the endings of our scripts. For a long time now, my particular muse has the been the artwork of Kazu Kibuishi.

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of the Flight comic anthology series, as well as the webcomic Copper, the Daisy Kutter series, and the author and illustrator behind the famous, young adult comic series, Amulet. Most recently, Kibuishi has caught worldwide attention by illustrating the covers of the Harry Potter series for the 15th anniversary box set. But I know Kibuishi’s work best from the Flight anthologies (three of which are pictured in the image above).

The Flight Covers

The first volume of the Flight books began as a way for Kibuishi to put together contributions from friends. However, after the attention was caught, the subsequent seven other volumes became filled with famous comic artists from across the industry. The volumes promoted new and upcoming artists, giving them the freedom to put their best work forward.

On the cover of each volume, Kibuishi kept a continuous motif of a character riding a giant, white bird across some fantastical landscape. From flying whales, to canyon cities, to fleeing giant rock titans, each new volume featured an exciting, colorful development in this unnamed character’s journey. By Volume Eight, the rider is pictured flying off into the sunset, much like a cowboy in an old Western.

I’ve been enraptured by all this cover art since I first laid eyes on it. I even have posters of each of the covers, and everywhere I have lived so far they have adorned the walls with glory. But best of all, I have been inspired by it, creating a story within this world where people ride giant birds. It’s a work in progress, but it’s been amazing how something as simple as a book cover could alter my writing path. And it may go without saying that my biggest dream, aside from bringing such a story to publication, would be to have Kazu Kibuishi do the cover art for my book. A girl can dream.

Favorite Short Comic: “The Window Makers”

windowmakers_rs-minWhile Kazu Kibuishi has written and illustrated many comic works, my absolute favorite is called “The Window Makers”, and can be found on page 92 of Flight: Volume Four. It tells the story of two men who work at a museum of magical “windows”: moving pictures encased in frames that tell a story of their own (think of the “magic windows” on Main Street at Disneyland where they play scenes from Disney films). Will is an apprentice to Mr. Emery, who has been a window maker for decades. They talk about what it means to pursue a life passion, even when other professions may seem more noble.

This short comic has helped me to realize that my current state in life is not where I’m going to stay. You can create your own destiny, but should also realize that your destiny may be less impactful than you envisioned. Not everyone is going to be rich or famous. Your life passion can make the smallest of differences, even if it’s something as simple as making magic windows for children’s amusement. It’s pretty deep for a comic that’s less than 15 pages, but I believe it’s a story that speaks to all generations, especially mine.

Check Out More of Kazu Kibuishi

Curious about Kazu Kibuishi? Check out his main site, Bolt City, and keep an eye out for more work from him in the future. While the Flight series may be over, you can see updates on Amulet, Daisy Kutter and more. Also, if you would like art prints of his work (including the new Harry Potter covers!) head to the Nucleus Art Gallery for available prints. This is where I’ve bought most of mine, and I’m an absolute fangirl over every new print release.

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