Awe-inspiring illustrations celebrate Bowie's legacy

Helen Green David Bowie

Bowie has acted as a muse for illustrator Helen Green. She has drawn the artist many times in celebration of his birthday

From the gender-queer image of Ziggy Stardust to the Goblin King in Labyrinth, David Bowie had a profound effect on many. Whether it was his music influencing art, or his flamboyant, androgynous looks – you'd be hard pressed to find an artist who didn't have some sort of affinity to Bowie.

After the tragic news of his passing this time last year, artists all over the globe transformed their tears of sadness into beauty – and the internet was full of stunning illustrative tributes to the late, great musician.

We've collected some of the most inspirational Bowie fan art – a mixture of those created while he still walked among us and others in his honor when he left to take to his place back amongst the stars...

Helen Green

bowie through the ages

Helen Green's celebration of Bowie's numerous iconic looks

Helen Green's life-long love of David Bowie was translated into an art form when she began creating a different image of the influental artist every year for his birthday.

On news of his death, her "Time May Change" gif created for Bowie's 68th birthday in 2015, shown above, was shared by hundreds of thousands of bereft fans.

But it's her last image of the singer in celebration of his final release, Black Star (below), that haunts us and leaves us with an overwhelming sense of both sadness and warmth, in the knowledge that our favourite spider from Mars is now back in space where he felt so at home.

Black Star Helen Green

Helen's tribute to Bowie's final studio album, Black Star

Max Saliba

max saliba david bowie

Max's tribute to Bowie also pays attention to the musicians love of stars

Maltese artist Max Saliba says, "I started working on the design as soon as I read the news that David Bowie passed away. I've always been a fan of Bowie's music and thought that a small design tribute would be fitting."

The artist wanted to represent Bowie as a permanent aspect of space, an environment, he says, "which has provided a recurring theme for his music and art."

The artist has released the image via Society6 so that you too can enjoy his fitting tribute.

Kate Laird

"It's Only Forever" by Kate Laird

Kate tried to capture Bowie through the ages in one portrait, emphasing his immortality

This is Kate Laird's stunning tribute to Bowie: 'It's Only Forever'. "I've been a fan of David Bowie for many years. I was at a complete loss for words in the event of his death... so I painted instead," says the illustrator and concept artist.

"I don't see him as gone, more so that's he's gone home to some distant galaxy to tell his tales of earth," she says. "In this image I tried to capture his life through the ages; from Ziggy to Blackstar."

Samantha Hogg

Samantha Hogg goblin king Bowie

The Goblin King in Labyrinth was some younger fans first introduction to David Bowie

Professional concept artist Sam Hogg created this stunningly bold tribute to Bowie's character in Labyrinth, The Goblin King, following his untimely passing.

The artist quoted his song Lazurus (allegedly a "parting gift" for fans, following his diagnosis of cancer) alongside the image: "This way or no way, you know, I’ll be free. Just like that bluebird, now ain't that just like me."

She stated that the illustration is her "tribute to a man who has inspired me in so many ways. Godspeed, sir, godspeed."

Dagmara Matuszak

Dagmara David Bowie Space Odyssey

Polish artist Dagmara has worked with Neil Gaiman, illustrating his poem, "Melinda" for one of his collectors editions. She is also a fellow Bowie fan, creating this image back in 2010.

"I've been listening to Bowie constantly since '1.Outside' came out – and it was around the time when I was accepted in my art school and started studying painting," she comments. "I was so shocked when the news came, I think I believed he was immortal. Somebody said the phrase 'David Bowie died' sounds utterly wrong, no matter how you re-phrase it, and this is very accurate for me."

The artist updated this image when she heard of his death this week. "I've always loved the space motifs in his work, and this is how this piece came to be. At some point when I was studying I was drawing short comics about Major Tom in space, just for fun, and I picked up the idea years later."

She continues: "The first version was a very loose drawing, especially his face, and I tightened it up a bit today. It's done in Photoshop."

Joe Murtagh

Joe Murtagh Ziggy

Joe Murtagh's work is influenced by the music, fashion, art and film world

Joe Murtagh is no stranger to Ziggy, the Bristish artist's beautifully bold graphic images capture Bowie with a modern edge.

He's illustrated everyone from Jimmy Hendrix and Mick Jagger to Gary Numan and Oasis but Bowie is his most reoccuring – even doning Audrey Hepburn with the famous Aladdin Sane lightning bolt make-up.

Joe's Aladdin Sane

Another of Joe's Ziggy-inspired images – a bold take on the Aladdin Sane album cover

Kelly McKernan Cavanah

kelly mckernan bowie tribute

Kelly McKernan Cavanah's unique use of traditional watercolour and gouache translates perfectly into the bold and beautiful colours of Ziggy Stardust.

"I am one of those that created a portrait of David Bowie on the day of his death," she says, "I have never been so moved to express my gratitude for a person's existence (whom I don't even know personally) upon their passing as I was for David Bowie."

"He was the embodiment of visionary genius. There are musicians, actors, singers, writers, and artists, but few manage to cover the amount of creative ground that he did and in such an influential way.

"While painting this portrait, I listened to his new album 'Blackstar' on repeat, interpreting the lyrics as his final farewell. The process of painting his portrait became a method for grieving his loss and I came out of it so appreciative of him and his extensive contribution to the world. "


david bowie

CranioDsgn's graphic interpretation of the iconic Aladdin Sane album cover

You may have seen this iconic interpretation of Bowie before, as it's available to buy and mount on your wall.

Spanish graphic designer CranioDsgn created the image and has worked for clients like Nike, ESPN and WB. Now is the perfect time to grab the piece and show your unadulterated love for the man.

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Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo is a freelance journalist with a passion for heavy metal, horror, science fiction, fantasy and comics. She has over seven years experience in magazines, formerly working as a staff writer at Creative Bloq, Imagine FX, Computer Arts and 3D World, as production editor for Guitar World and Guitar Player and online editor of Metal Hammer.