If you’ve looked for 2DArtist on the magazine racks or in the Apple App Store, I’m sorry to say that it folded sometime in 2018. But no worries, there is something new (to me) and you on the block: ImagineFX.
New kid on the block: ImagineFX
That said, as much as I love 2DArtist, I’ve found a new (to me) publication that I think fills the void: ImagineFX. It is similarly dedicated to 2D storytelling, both digital and traditional mediums with a focus on subjects such as fantasy, science fiction, comic, manga, games, et cetera. In short, at its core it’s a kissing cousin to 2DArtist. But, in many ways, it’s superior to 2DArtist in all the little ways of polish around the edges.
Easy to Navigate
One these little things it is much bit easier to navigate and read on an iOS device – I highly recommend 12.9″ iPads just for reading digital magazines. Pages turn more easily than 2DArtist, and they are readable in both portrait and landscape mode. It may seem like a small nit, but at times I have to struggle with getting pages to cleanly display on 2DArtist; this issue is entirely non-existent in ImagineFX. For what it’s worth, I recommend portrait mode so you can see every page’s glorious details which are chock full of beautiful illustrations. Totally scrump’tastic!
By Artist, For Artists
While not entirely an Easter egg, they give you an easy afforadance on the cover page to turn off all the print so you can view the image in its full glory unadulterated in anyway. I really appreciate this, both as an admirer of the artist, but I think it shows a certain degree of sensitivity to the artist who created the artwork. It’s a magazine that feels truly like a magazine by artists for artists.
Polish, Polish and more Polish
Content-wise, ImagineFX follows a similar vein to Artist2D with tutorials and artist interviews. But that is where the comparison stops. Where Artist2D was a print zine stuffed into a digital format, ImagineFX is built from the ground-up to leverage the digital platform. So what is more natural in a digital magazine with tutorials than to include links to the tutorial’s videos? That was a rhetorical question – it’s abundantly natural to do so. And ImagineFX does it in spades: every issue includes both print and video process workflows from artists who are killing it. Click on a link after reading an article, and jump into a YouTube video to watch the artist’s process, often 10s of minutes in length of time lapse. While not all the videos include narration – just being able to visual inspect what the artist is doing and how they solve specific problems can be hugely educational. And many of the tutorials will include a link to the reference images so you can follow along in your own studio to reproduce the same work of art, which really helps you bridge a purely “academic reading” toward a much more hands-on learning experience.
Worth Every Penny (or Pound)
Yearly subscriptions are $60 USD, and individual issues are $5 USD. ImagineFX makes their entire back catalog available, either ala carte, or for a relatively low price of a one-time price of ~$45 USD, you can acquire everything in their back catalog. Note, they are a UK publication so just be aware that prices on their website include by UK, EU, and US prices.
Personally, I think for a relatively small investment of $100 USD you can have a year’s access to their new issues along with everything they have published to date, especially given that every issue is a treasure trove of how-tos and artist insights.
Why you still here? Go and Buy!
What more can I say? ImagineFX is an amazing resource for artists, digital and traditional alike. The articles are topical, insightful, and hugely beneficial to learning from fellow artists. The inclusion of online resources for no additional cost makes the cost of entry, either ala carte or a yearly subscription, an investment that will pay you back many times over. If you have not already, go to ImagineFX online order page or Apple App Store and buy yourself a copy (or all of them) now.
The intent of this post was not to critique Artist2D, but I’ve intentionally drawn parallels as I think comparisons are inevitable. And to be completely clear, I love 2DArtist and still do. But if (when?!) they rise from the ashes to publish again, I hope they correct some of the issues that plagued its digital editions, and ruthlessly steal from ImagineFX, which I think has nailed the digital platform experience, not just for artists, but for any digital magazine.
And as a consolation prize for those of us with subscriptions to Artist2D, you can still access all the issues from iOS. So if you have 2DArtist on your iPad, do make sure to keep it around since all the issues are still available to you, even the ones you did not purchase.