bio / news


toy collections


Links to my favorite artists, toy sites, and more


Artists that have influenced me 

All the artists listed on this page have one thing in common and thats they can draw...period. If you don't have this foundation than you will never be able to raise to the levels these artists have. They all have influenced me in many direct and indirect ways.


Kazuhiko Sano

I studied under Kazu, and to this day still draw upon his teachings. His use of color and montage are the best in the profession. He's done it all from Star Wars posters and postage stamps to hundreds of paperback book covers. If you get a chance to see one of his originals, you'll marvel at all the layers of subtle color, which are lost in reproductions. While Kazu has passed on in 2011 his teachings and beautiful art will live on.

Thomas Blackshear

Although not a site dedicated to his artwork only this is presently Blackshears official site Blackshear remains one of my all time favorite artists. His use of dramatic lighting harkens back to the golden age of illustration. From postage stamps to movie posters, Blackshear excels at it all.  

Robert Rodriquez

No, not the director ! Rodriquez has been an early and steady influence on my art. His ability to paint with stylized strokes continues to amaze me. His art deco influenced paintings are truely breathtaking. I couldn't find a web site devoted solely to him , but have linked to one of his art reps. site.

Todd Schorr

Absolutely stunning artwork , period. Check out his site and pick up his current art book. You have to see one his huge paintings up close to really appreciate the craftsmanship. Makes me want to quit painting.. :-P or try even harder !

Shigeru Komatsuzaki

Shigeru Komatsuzaki produced well over a thousand pieces of art during the golden age (1960-70's ) of japanese toys and models. Komatsuzaki's career spanned from the 40's thru the 90's , and his dynamic images graced Bullmark packaging, picture books and model kit boxes. Not many of his original paintings survive, as a massive fire consumed nearly all his classic paintings...but we at least have all the wonderful box art to drool over. I look to his work for it's dramatic use of colors and movement..giving life to these toys.

Noritsuna Maemura

Like Komatsuzaki , Maemura illustrated hundreds of classic japanese toy header and backing cards during the 1970's. Chances are if you own a Bullmark toy than you've seen his amazing work first hand. It was only recently that I discovered who this artist was and realizing that he illustrated many of the classic toy packaging I have in my collection. I prefer Maemuras technique over that of Komatsuzaki, perhaps because he uses the airbrush...but obviously both have a great impact on my art. I could not find a site for him but this link has the cover of an excellent book on his Ultraman artwork.

Shusei Nagaoka

Best known for his album covers for Earth, Wind and Fire, and ELO among many others. Probably my first exposure to the airbrush used on these album covers.

I look at several Japanese books I have on Nagaoka for inspiration all the time for both technique and colors.

Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby is the King ! The power and dynamics of his art have influenced just about every comic artist and for me he's the tops. From co-creating Captain America, Fantastic Four, and the Xmen the list is too numerous. I met Jack in my youth and he took the time to talk to me and sign my comic books .. a true class act.

Dave Stevens

Dave is best known for his Rocketter character which was also a movie. But his devotion to the art of the pin up is what attracted me to his art. While his artistic output was not as prolific what he did produce were real gems and instant classics. Dave passed on much too young but like Kirby above, my brief meetings with him, he took the time to talk to me and share his current projects.


San Francisco Society Of Illustrators

While no longer an active group I am a member of this professional illustrators group.


 Other influences on my art


 Ultimate Ultraman Toy Collection

My collection of ultraman figures and toys. The largest collection , featuring toys from the 60's thru present time, as well as many rare stage prop masks, and store displays.


Named after my son, Max, I design and produce soft vinyl toys made in Japan for the collectors market. I also use my artwork for various toy related projects, prints, and paint custom figures. I curate many Kaiju ( monster ) art shows around the world, including Japan, Spain, and the US. My custom painted figures have also sold at auction at New Yorks Christies and DePury auction houses. In 2011 we celebrated our 5th anniversary with art shows in Tokyo and San Francisco.


Follow me on Twitter : @maxtoyco 


 all artwork copyright by mark nagata 2001-2011