If you think of today's artist as one of the first of the imaginative realists, he takes on a much more interesting role than when you think of him as "simply" painting moral and religious stories. He is one of the first sci-fi painters....one of the first "concept artists" in Western Art. I've been fortunate to see several of his more famous works in person, and DEAR GODS they are amazing. "Garden of Earthly Delights" is the only reason you need to go to the Prado in Madrid.
Today's artist is an animator, storyboard artist, director, comic book guy...the list goes on :) I found him through DeviantArt when he was posting boards from Legend of Korra. His style of character seems very similar to the sorts and level of stylization I'd like to be doing at some point.
I've been gearing up to work on an indie animation loosely based on WWI, and as is my wont, I've been doing research, which is where I discovered today's artist. He was one of eight artists selected by the United States to go to Europe and document WWI....he also did the same thing in 1942 for WWII when he was 60!
For me, today's artist is the definitive one for painted comic book characters, particularly DC ones. He did the art for "Kingdom Come", one of the best DC graphic novels ever. As with many "realistic" painters, I absolutely prefer his sketches, but his talent is undeniable.
Everyone always talks about Frazetta's Conan, but for me, John Buscema's was the first one I was exposed to. My grandparents bought me some comics when I was just a little kid, and I pretty much devoured all of them, include Conan....he also drew the art in "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way."
Today's artist is one of those incredibly driven and talented people that crosses a number of vastly different skillsets - Particularly, drawing and film. I can't really show you his film work, but movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim are incredibly inspirational...his sketches and drawings are equally good for me.