Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Super Art Post -- Gerard Jones

I am a talented artist, however it takes more than talent to make a comic book artist.  There is support and luck -- connecting with the right people, getting in the right position at the right time.  One of the people who truly believed in me was Gerard Jones -- he would often send me scripts and get me opportunities to try out with various companies.  One of the companies was Malibu. I am opinionated as a creator.  I have particular ideals about the art and storytelling. Although the script might call for one thing, I might feel another is better.  For the first page it called for a yelling head, I felt that it was better if the character was gesturing for the audience.  From Ultraforce One

Finding the right people means finding the right teachers.  The people who can say the things that you need to hear to grow as a n artist. I never had that!  Few other artists were willing to spend the time showing me what I needed to know, art teachers didn't want to teach what I wanted to learn (this was during the death of Disney -- animation was dead), so I was mostly on my own looking for books, copying other artists

  Stylistically I pursue and duplicate artists who do something I like, I spend months drawing in a style not my own, trying to find what is interesting or unique about the style, trying to mine the art for what it can teach me.

The skills I learned about surface and technique were numerous.  The artists I followed were multiple, so I probably drove the editors that were interested crazy, they would ask for samples and each time I was a different artist.

I had hoped that the editors would recognize what type of talent they were dealing with and guide me into becoming the artist that they wanted.

Through it all Gerard Jones was there.  He left comics and went on to other things, but his kindnesses were appreciated.  He is one of those people who keeps me drawing and learning without the art being my main income.  Thank You Mr.Jones.
Missed a page

Monday, July 21, 2014


I've always loved Aquaman -- I don't think it was because of the TV show -- Filmation rocked!  There has always been something mysterious about natural bodies of water -- and my phobia of them.  I keep saying I will get a diving certificate and explore some nearby bodies.  Anyway, the Annual for Aquaman -- which I have yet to read was boringly designed -- kind of that generic somewhat reptilian monster that many artists use.  So I made some design changes...
I designed the male characters Grandfather and son, so that they would have similar features.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Birds of Prey

I am working to strengthen my textures and show my design capabilities. In the Birds of Prey samples I tightened the design on the Basilisk’s Battle Staff and cleaned up his design a little; in the fight sequence she’s doing Caporeira and White Crane Kung Fu.

The head gear was very difficult for me to understand – so I made it into Classic Japanese dragon with the deer antlers and a couple fangs.  Very busy! If I were allowed a total redesign I’d clean him up quite a bit.  The staff was a vague z shape in the Birds of Prey story, so I had to research and see what the original designer’s intent was for that object.  After researching I assumed it was a basilisk on a stick.  A Classical Basilisk is a rooster head  on a snake body with 3 pairs of rooster legs – in my case I used chameleon legs – because I like the feet.  As for the characters I made him seven feet tall -- why genetically engineer an average joe? And I made canary 5’6”.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indestructible Hiulk 17 -- When artists run out of scripts

There might be some missing samples chronologically.  The Hulk that I posted last month was drawn six months before this current Hulk sample.

The Indescribable Hulk.

Hulk as a Shield agent.

Sort of fun, but I felt there was more Hulk material available to explore his character, some hard science questions about the Hulk and some such.

 Anyway, I went old school and found a recently published book Hulk 17 and drew pages in my style.  I did some things I was happy with and some things I am not so proud of.  The balance between a dynamic artist and  story artist was fought on these pages.  The nonsequitur pages were alright, but the question of whether to make Hulk in Attilan a  focus panel on page three was a struggle in dynamism.  I look at it now and know I would have gone in the dynamic direction if I did it again.  I've been readings some new books on comic book storytelling and they recommended redrawing a script multiple times until you get it right -- which I find rather intriguing.   Perfecting a script after multiple tries does not guarantee when you get a new script you will be able to perfect it on one try -- which is what a comic book assignment will be, but I am wiling to do it to learn new techniques.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I sold some originals at Free Comic Book Day -- and I intend to go to shows and sell original art pages in the future. If you read the other blogs on here I posted some Hulk samples that I did for Marvel a couple years before.  I hadn't been completing pages in years, so this was a first for me.  I started working on completing pages -- I was given several scripts and I eventually completed all of them. An artist without good scripts resorts to all measures -- I completed a couple of my horribly written sample scripts from back in the day.  

I also redid the pages. So here is Hulk again.

I took the pages to San Diego Comic Convention 2013.  Some Editors liked the pages, but then there were those Editors who never heard the rules of kindness from their mother "If you can't say something nice say nothing at all."

The Editor was "In these drawings the Hulk is all distorted." And I'm like, "Yeah, he's the Hulk." "Well you've got to learn to draw the human figure, before you distort it."  I had sixty pages of artwork, that showed human, and distorted human drawings, but he was looking for something to make a negative critique about.  Those old Hulk pages were the ones I sold at Free Comic book day 2013 -- in Fairfield Ca at Water Front Comics.  I used Derrick Rose the basketball player as a model and they recognized him -- big fan from Detroit. Bought the pages -- maybe I should use actors and famous people in all my art -- make it more salable.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Marvel Adventures

Last San Diego Comic Con -- I had some character designs and some pages and I made the rounds of companies that were reviewing portfolios.  While there an editor from one of the small comic book companies starts going over over my pages.  He sees that I have done a try out script from Darkhorse -- he's giggling about all the mistakes in the script that the artist is supposed to correct.

I was blown away by the attitude -- that artists are supposed to pass some sort of test.  Knowing how to draw and tell a story is not enough now you have to overcome the approved mistakes of the writer.  If the writer wants fifty things to happen in panels the size of postage stamps, it's the artist's job to make it happen.  Forget the quality of the art.

Which I guess leads to the devaluation of artist in the creation of comic books.  I've heard about this, but since I am now an occasional reader of comic books (including blogs about, online 'zines about or other related electronic media about)  I haven't heard or noticed.  Funny thing is, it is entirely understandable.  I didn't say reasonable I said understandable.  If you are looking to mine an art form to use in another art form -- namely comic books to movies, then you need the material that translates -- which is the writing.

Which further leads to people who do not understand or respect the medium to working in the medium.  Because they do not understand the medium, they write unreasonable scripts. For instance this portion of this scripts asks for multiple things happening in each panel which don't really work in this medium.  Because they do not respect the medium -- "it's like a movie, but with an unlimited budget" they devalue the work that the artist puts into crafting the material. Camera zooms -- moving from a long view to a close view, with multiple things happening, that in a movie would be throw away scenes, but because it is a comic book the scenes are vested with weight, because the reader pauses and can return to  images.  So the scene SHOULD have weight.  There should be nothing in the artwork that should be a throw away -- each panel and page should have portent and weight.  Each panel treated as Checkov's Gun. In this script the fight takes place in a parking lot filled with expensive cars.  With so much going on it is hard enough drawing all the actions, or show all the characters, then to show the types of cars -- when there is no payoff from the VALUE of the cars or TYPE of cars.  "Faugh, how dare you throw an inexpensive domestic car at me!" 

Friday, March 7, 2014

New 52

 There are times when you read a script and you know that the writer had the best intentions, but that the storytelling is missing the visual mark.  The visual mark is that the story would read well without dialogue.  A story should be visually arresting, able to be read and understood without words explaining what you are seeing.

I should have done a lot better -- I tried to get a couple special techniques to work. I drew the magic items on one page and the figures on another page and tried to merge the two.  I didn't want to cover the figure (when I should have) and so I chose and angle that would allow the figure to be seen and the magic items to circle.

I did have an ethical problem drawing a suicide attempt.  I don't agree with that being in a comic book.  I didn't know it at the time, but I am now aware that I have a limit to certain types of brutality and violence.  Someone who magically survives a suicide attempt sends the wrong message.  To me the problem is that writers try to make villains evil and it is cartoon evil.  No criminal would work for someone who casually kills his cronies.  Evil doesn't have to be over the top to be perceived as evil.  It's not necesary to show a man beating a woman or have a character being raped.  Everybody wants to write Watchmen and they misunderstand what it was about.  It was what it was because it was meant to be a limited series, it's affect wasn't meant to go beyond the 12 issues in which it appeared.

I could have improved on the storytelling.

I should have made the environments richer.  The room should look like it has a story to tell all by itself and I didn't show what I was really thinking.  I was imagining Dr. Fate's tower with magic from the ages and across countries -- Lantern's from Japan, shields from Africa, stone pillars from the Incan empire, Jack Kirby artifacts all over.

I missed the mark on the atmosphere of this story I should have pulled back and given you a feel for Dr.Fate's tower.  One of my favorite characters visually, but I have never really read any series about him.  I think because most of the series try to do too much.  He has Super strength and flight without the helmet, and magic powers with the helmet, but they always try to change his origin or something.  Explore the man so people can relate to him, then work the magic, so people are interested in it.  Magical characters do sell or we wouldn't have Harry Potter books, so obviously it is the handling of the character.

I should have really worked the lighting, this should have been a dark nightmarish experience.  I should have pushed the angles more, really gone for Kelley Jones thing.

I'm getting excited intellectually analyzing this thing, maybe I will revisit it.