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One of the most famous living artists to day, Close is renowned for his highly inventive techniques of painting the human face. He uses a large scale grid system to create huge paintings that break down the portraits into small squares of color. Each square is almost a painting itself, the colors are done with such precision that when you look from afar, an image appears. He has also done hyperrealistic drawings in the same huge scale, but in black and white.
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Damos is a contemporary illustrator based out of Greece. I love the way he uses line in his portraits, they follow the forms of the face and give each drawing an interesting texture. He predominantly works in caricatures (or exaggerated portraits) of familiar faces, though some of his work deviates from this subject matter.
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Ambe is a contemporary paper cutting artist residing in Japan. She creates amazing textures by cutting through later upon layer of books and magazines, it is a painstaking process that takes months to complete.
Roth is a contemporary landscape artist. His scenes are so simplified they are almost abstract in nature. He uses flat spans of color to fill the canvas and give personality to each painting. I personally love how he is able to use color so successfully in such a simple way.
A huge part of developing your skills as an artist is to learn to draw inspiration from the world around you.