Nikko De Leon is a fantastic local illustrator who has a young, handmade style. He has an obsession with characters, all of whom have recurring roles in his art pieces. They are wolves and devils, raccoons and somewhat aloof men who aren’t bothered by their fantasy friends. His work is very fun.
Leon (who comically refers to himself as “Nikko The Lion”) has a particular style that is one part minimalist comic to two parts hand drawn illustration. His work is lighthearted and fun, which should come as no surprise because there are devils and wolf people hanging out and made to look like hipsters. There are a few cultural influences on his work (religion, anime, luchadores) that he uses as vehicles for expression but they all end up being very “Nikko The Lion.”
He also takes his work and builds them in three dimensions by using his illustrations as basis for action figures. This toymaking is the recent theme of many process posts on his Tumblr. They are homegrown efforts he is working on himself and they have come quite a long way. (For example, in one post he shared an attempt to make a toy that ended up with a burnt figure. He’s since perfected this process.)
You can find more on Nikko from his website. Keep an eye on him as he has been showing at places around town like GR2 and we can certainly see how he fits into the crop of young illustrators working in LA.