Recently I read two excellent graphic novels by the Italian comics creator Gipi. Both Garage Band and Notes For A War Story tell small yet compelling stories through rich characters and gorgeous art. While the characters are simply drawn, the landscapes they inhabit are intricate and impressive. Executed in pencils and watercolor, many panels are mini masterpieces. Above is my own watercolor cityscape inspired by his.
Gipi has his own blog. It is in Italian and you can see it here.