Joe Alterio

By Joe Alterio: My work is primarily concerned with narrative structure, whether the piece is a single spot illustration or a graphic novel; I find that my life's work is the constant battle to tell complex stories in as elegant, simple, and beautiful a way as possible, and I love every step of the process. As a result, my influences are as much literary, as they are graphic. I have spoken on the subject at SXSW, the San Diego Comic-Con, and the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, amongst others. I draw all of my line work by hand, and depending on the project, either use watercolors, pen and ink washes, or digital coloring to finish it. I can't imagine doing anything else other than this with my life, and I'm very glad that I'm fortunate enough to make a living at it.

Page 3 of the 8-piece project "Pages 179 -187", pen and ink, watercolors, gold leaf, 2010.: Opened at the Storefront for Art & Architecture, this 8-page set combines comics and 14th century illuminated manuscripts to tell the tell of a quarantine machine gone horribly awry.

Leaflets Poster, pen and ink, digital, 2008: This was a promotional poster for a software release, and has gone on to be one of my most popular pieces. The idea behind the archer missing his prey seems to get 'em every time.

Other Magazine cover, The Dead Magazines Issue, pen and ink, watercolor, 2007. Done for the wonderful people at Other Magazine, they gave me complete and total freedom, which was a real treat.

Rolling Stone Ringtones Voodoo Poster, pen and ink, digital, 2004: Created for the Voodoo music festival in New Orleans, this was my first dive into the distressed archiac look that I would come back to time and again for other projects.

The Astronauts, Pen and Ink, watercolor, 2009. A triptych of astronaut drawings that I created for some personal cards. I credit this series for pushing me in a looser that I try to employ today, trying to move away from my more deliberate line work that I have employed in the past.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, Pen and Ink, digital, 2005. An illustration I created for a Seattle play, that I would later use on a T-shirt. This image would help in part to win me "T-shirt Designer of the Year" in 2009 from

Detail from Fading Fast, Pen and Ink, digital, 2004. A panel from my short graphic story Fading Fast, a story about angry, restless kids growing up in the San Fernando desert. It was published in the anthology Beef-bullets & Icicles, and the piece would later go on to be transformed into a hybrid comic-animation music video that debuted at the London Apple Store's opening.

Emnis software package, Pen and Ink, digital, 2008. The cover of a software package for an international software maker. Another job which really soared after the client realized that less input is actually more. I pulled a lot of influence for this piece from my Swiss grandmother's incredibly detailed drawings of bavarian woods and flora.

We Wuz Robbed, Page 1, pen and ink, 2008: The first page of a four-page story published in the compilation 'Rites of Way', detailed my experience being mugged at gun point in San Francisco.

Robots + Monsters, sampling. Pen and ink, watercolor, 2008-2010: Just four of over 500 robots and monsters created for my charitable effort,, a web site that asks customers to donate to good a cause in exchange for custom drawings. To date, we've raised almost $25,000 for charity.

Contact Info: You can see all my work and my blog, and contact me directly, at Thanks for lookin'!

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