The first paintings of Glen Orbik's that I saw were done for TSR (Dungeons & Dragons). When I saw his work, I thought that TSR was going in a great new direction, and if I were to someday do illustrations for them, then this was the guy setting the standard I had to meet. His work just blew me away.
Highly influenced by the late Golden Age of Illustration, and obviously by the pulp magazine art of the '50s, Orbik's work is strong, gritty, and exciting. His style ranges from Norman Rockwell to Rafael de Soto, and whether his painting is for a pulp noir book or superhero comic, his work is gorgeous. Orbik, along with his partner Laurel Blechman, create art which is at once contemporary and unique, while never losing its nostalgia for a time when illustrators were celebrities and icons. He has perfected a look which gives the impression of ease and looseness, and which could only come from years of studying draftsmanship and gesture. He is a throwback, in the best of all connotations.
It's not surprising to learn then, that Orbik's artistic geneology has a direct link back to the time period that influences him so. Fred Fixler, founder of the California Art Institute, was Glen's teacher, and from whom Glen took over the drawing classes at that school. Fixler, known for his movie poster illustrations, was responsible for bringing the lessons of his own teacher to the West Coast from The Art Students League in New York. That teacher was Frank Reilly, a late Golden Age illustrator known for turning out other great illustrators through the curriculum he developed under the tutelage of Frank Vincent DuMond. The fruits of this artistic lineage are clear: there is a method passed down through this line that produces great art and great teachers. Orbik himself has turned out students such as Jeremy Lipking, who now dominates the representational art field.
But this is not the end of Orbik's training. He is also an avid follower of Andrew Loomis, and has studied Loomis' lessons diligently. Glen and Laurel do their best to teach the lessons of Loomis from Loomis' many exceptional art books to their students at The California Art Institute. The two also have access to Loomis' original notes as they are the proud owners of Loomis' hand-rendered 1942 dummy of Creative Illustration. Loomis, of course, was also a student of DuMond, so again, this strong artistic lineage presents itself.