Master of pen and ink, Kim Jung Gi, dies at 47

by | Oct 26, 2022 | News

Widely known for his intricate pen and ink sketches, Kim Jung Gi died on October 3rd from a heart attack at only age 47.

In a statement posted to Kim’s Instagram, the Korean illustrator was at the airport to fly to the New York Comic Con when he experienced chest pains. He was brought to the hospital for surgery but unfortunately died shortly after arriving. Attendees of the convention turned Kim’s artist alley booth into a memorial to honour the late artist.

Kim was internationally recognized for his complex illustrations that he rendered with only black pen and ink. What was even more impressive is that he drew to near perfection without reference. Kim mastered this memory skill over the years, from his time studying fine arts until his service in the military, where he familiarized himself with various weapons and vehicles.

Born in 1975, Kim has consistently shown impressive artistic talent. At 17, he was already rendering full-on comic pages with anatomically correct characters and animals.

Kim currently has six published sketchbooks, released between 2007 and 2018, that reach nearly 4,000 pages when put together.

His notable collaborations were with Korean author Park Seung Jin for Tiger the Long Tail and French author Bernard Werber for Paradise and Third Humanity. He has collaborated twice with French comic writer Jean-David Morvan for SpyGames and McCurry, NYC, 9/11.

Kim Jung Gi portrait by Romauld Meigneux

A few of his live sketches were for films such as Marvel’s Civil War, Netflix’s Stranger Things and Ghost in the Shell. Prior to his death, he frequently travelled the world to perform these live sketches and meet fans at comic conventions.

Kim also holds a Guinness World Record for the longest drawing by an individual, a record he broke with fisheye art. He also did this piece in front of a live audience.

With his expertise, Kim taught in various universities and spaces, giving lectures and workshops to students. Back in South Korea, Kim has an art school called Ani Chang-a Cartoon Institute,  and online courses are also available at

In a YouTube video from Kazone Art, Kim’s advice for young artists is to constantly seek new experiences and information and draw a lot. “That’s the very basic foundation of being an artist… The more you know, the more you can draw.”

At the announcement of his death, fellow artists and fans came together online to mourn and commemorate his passing. 

DC Comics’s Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, Jim Lee, grieved on Twitter. Lee tweeted that Kim was “a truly phenomenal talent whose pen and brush wizardry captivated and inspired millions of fans around the world.”

Kim Jung Gi was a one-of-a-kind visionary and a force to be reckoned with. He was an artistic genius and a master of the pen and ink comic art style. His influence on the visual arts community will remain unforgettable.

Superani Studio’s CEO, Kim Hyun Jin, who worked closely with Kim, wrote a sentiment shared by many. “After having done so much for us, you can now put down your brushes. Thank you, Jung Gi.” 

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