Lee Moyer Illustration


After early training painting in watercolor and oils, Lee moved to largely digital media in 1989. He spent a decade as a Docent & Naturalist Illustrator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Lee's commercial clients include Sony, Paramount, Electronic Arts, Hasbro, Discovery, the Alliance Theatre, and the National Zoo; and his work has been showcased in the Spectrum Annuals, Design Graphics Magazine, D'Artiste – Digital Painting and Communication Arts’ Illustration Annual. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his talented photographer wife Annaliese and their dog Lego. 

Do you use live models for your figurative work, or have you really embraced the digital age by using a program like Poser? 

Live models are so valuable because they often bring new and exciting details to a piece that I hasn’t thought of in advance -a faint scar, an attitude, a more extreme or interesting pose, or a story. And since my wife is a fabulous photographer (and model) herself, real people are almost always the best way to go.ÂÂ

That said, I have used Poser on and off for years. It’s an fine tool for laying out a complex piece, or working on a pose that’s thorny in a short period of time, but it’s still not the tool I wish it was. I’ve accidentally turned more Poser people into grotesque pretzels…ÂÂ

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

Which type of work do you earn the most money from and how much is that?

I often joke that the more I want a job the less money that job will pay, and vice versa. Design jobs (logos, packaging, et al.) are great fun for me. They’re often very collaborative and it’s nice to create art so important to a client’s future. They are good for the pocket book, and if I were clever I’d strive to do a lot more of them, instead of…

Complex old-school illustrations always take more time and offer more opportunities for failure. Who knows? Maybe that’s part of their appeal. Occasionally I get to spend an appropriate amount of time on a big ad campaign like the Domaine St. Michelle ad and it all comes together perfectly.ÂÂ

How much do you rely on your agent to earn you a living? 

I have a lovely rep in LA named Joanne Hedge.

While I bring in the majority of my own work, Joanne always sets me up with the best kinds of work – like the eight Laurel & Hardy paintings I did for 20th Century Fox’s DVD collections. I personally find it invaluable to have both an agent and an eye for work.

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

With most other illustrators working with an almost abstract style do you feel that you now have niche market with your traditional type of illustration?

Perhaps so, albeit a comparatively masochistic niche. I do envy those people who can turn an illustration around in 3 hours without breaking a sweat (especially when that work is better than I manage in a fortnight)!ÂÂ

Apart from art and illustration what other things are you into?

I play a mean game of Scrabble, and a passable game of tennis. I’m a film-lover and a civic-minded chap. When the wind blows right I also design games, sculpt, write, perform and travel.ÂÂ

Who are your favourite artists/illustrators alive today?

That’s such a tough question to answer as I have so many. I’ll list a few by category.ÂÂ

Greg Manchess:
Eric Bowman:
Adam Gillespie:

Brian Despain:
Adam Rex:
Glen Orbik:

Claire Wendling:
Zoltan & Gabor:
Joao Ruas:

Lee Moyer Illustration

Why is your dog called Lego?

He’s fun for the whole family!

Have you ever considered keeping a sketch blog?

Definitely. But since my sketches tend to be project-specific, they must remain private for reasons of client confidentiality. I do participate in an invitation-only journal that a dozen of my closest artist pals use to show works in progress, critique, and provide the very best kind of competition.ÂÂ

Have you ever displayed you work in art galleries?

Yes. Last year I was one of the 13 invitees to a spectacular show called PIXEL: Artists Who Use the Computer. The show also featured Rick Berry, Jon Foster, Tadahiro Uesugi, LeUyen Pham, J. otto Seibold, Tyson Mangelsdorf, Darrel Anderson and Echo Chernik.

Given that the vast majority of my  work is digital, I don’t have masses of canvases cluttering up the house just crying out for a real exhibit. While I don’t actively seek out exhibition to free my house of painted clutter, I’m always happy to display work when I can. I enjoy talking about work, meeting people, demonstrating techniques and, above all, getting out of my studio!

Are you involved in any collaborative projects at the moment and is there anyone you would like to work with?

I love collaboration! Right now I’m collaborating on a series of fabulous Victorian photos with my wife. I’m working on a game called The Doom that came to Atlantic City and a game called Death Rally 1880 with my best friend, game-designer Keith Baker. A monstrously funny book with Portland artist Kasey Gifford. A piece with Mario Pons from Mexico City.

What’s next in the pipeline for Lee Moyer?

I’ve just this minute finished the theatrical poster commission of a lifetime, but can’t talk about details for legal reasons. Next up (beyond the projects mentioned above): a poster for Smithsonian Folkways, a soupcon of Star Wars, branding and designing packaging for a fabulous chocolatier, and finding the right publisher and distributor for my Literary Pin-Up Calendar.

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

Laurel Or Hardy?


di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni or da Vinci?

That’s hardly an either/or question! While Michelangelo was busy painting Sistine Chapel’s ruthlessly accurate portraits of the clergy as devils, Leonardo was writing backwards to avoid church persecution and designing ornithopters. We owe both a real cultural debt (and I owe Michelangelo some back-pay for ‘collaborating’ with him on a piece called Marvel’s Renaissance for Wizard magazine).ÂÂ

Cheese and Onion or Ready Salted?

Dark chocolate with orange. Oh wait… Were you talking about crisps?

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

Lee Moyer Illustration

You can see more of Lee Moyer’s work at

Darren Di Lieto

Darren Di Lieto is the founder and editor of The Little Chimp Society. He created the LCS in 2005 as an illustration news portal to promote the illustrators and artists who bring joy to our everyday lives. Since then the LCS has grown into a publisher, hosting provider and events organiser.

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