Happy Animal

Recently visited my home in Cebu and went rifling through my trash.  Found this fan-service-intensive pin-up of Urban Animal from 2002, when it had a different title.  To be honest, I don’t even know who those three women are, or if I ever had any intention of writing them into the story, but yeah… boobies.

The Magic Pencil

Every so often, someone calls my attention to a new tool or technique that will, as they say, ostensibly make the creation of art a lot easier/faster/better.  The latest version of Photoshop.  The new Wacom tablet.  The new graphite Staedtler is cutting their leads with.  I call this ‘The Myth of the Magic Pencil’, partly because it just has a nice ring to it… but mostly because I find these ideas to be more about hats than rabbits.  As much as I like to babble about method and style in the creation of my art, I don’t tend to linger on the tools.  Maybe I’m just backward like that, I don’t know… but I just feel this fixation on gadgetry renders you prone to falling flat on your ass because you were admiring your shoes too much.

Call me a dinosaur or a snob, but I’m of the belief that there is no such thing as a magic pencil.  No single tool can make you a better artist.  In a sense, all these things cooperate and contribute to a self-actualized artistic whole that functions through you, the draftsman.  So quite realistically, the illustrator himself is the magic pencil the ancients speak of.  None of it is magic, because ALL of it is.  All of it.  The light in your studio.  The breeze coming through the blinds.  Your posture.  The coffee in your pot.  That last good movie you saw.  That last great book you read.  The music you play.  The silence you enjoy.

The sweat in your brow.

The throb in your eye.

The pain in your wrist.

All of it.

At the end of the day, it’s all there and waiting for you.  It’s just a matter of using it.

Red Sonja

Making a conscious effort to do more iconic hero shots this year.  I get a lot of sequential and composition practice when I work on indies, sure, but the books I’m working on at the moment don’t really have any superheroes in them.  So here begins my trek into heroic posturing.

On Reference

Dead prostitute.  Nazi death camp.  Armored Horse.  It’s not a list of possible band names, but the last three things I’ve had to hit Google Images for in the past coupla weeks.  I’d say there are only two reasons why someone wouldn’t use references for their artwork — One:  Plain laziness; or Two: He has enough faith in his artistic prowess that he can draw straight from his head and put it down on the board.

Either way, I hate you.

The big misconception very early on, and I’m guilty of this myself, is that the finished art is supposed to be painfully faithful to the reference material — which, of course, isn’t the case; otherwise you’d be better off simply photoshopping the images into the panels or going full-on fumetti.  No, the ideal way of using the reference material is to stare at it, absorb it, digest, and then put on paper what you, as an artist, believe to be the key components of what you saw.  Sure, that sounds easy enough, but what you learn very quickly is that what you leave out is just as important is what you put into the drawing.  There is such a thing as over-rendered.  Temper it.

To draw from Asterios Polyp, as something is recalled, the brain has a chance to refine it.  In that sense, every memory is a re-creation, not a playback.

Why all this talk about the use of reference and such?  On my desk is a stack of authentic crime scene photos from the Autumn of Terror.  Wolfgang and the 1888 team just recently ran a successful funding campaign over at Kickstarter and everyone’s stepping into place to get the cogs running on the book.  The bastards have done it!

***** ***** *****

Went to the mall the other week to get sleeping masks for me and Jad coz we’re going to bed at sunrise more often these days.  It’s frustrating how them clerks don’t know if they sell them along with the bed linens or in the cosmetics section.  Turns out it was in neither and I found them in the toiletries.  Go figure.

***** ***** *****

PLUCK chugs along once a week at Zuda.  Lately got to draw a splash page showcasing Trugg One-Eye, as well as a sequence featuring many a half-naked lady.  Gabe White is a good man.  Home stretch for JUDAH pitch as Ian Areola joins the team as colorist.  After he colored the JENNY STRANGE pitch, I simply had to work with him again.  That project, however, is on hold as we wait for Zuda to officially post their new submissions policy, given that they ended their competition format a month or so back.  Got other pitches waiting to be worked on, so the Fort Bastard docket for 2010 is pretty much closed as far as new projects go.  You know who you are, and you are Saints of Patience.

***** ***** *****

Wedding preparations are officially underway.  It’s fun and exciting and scary and stressful, but if you can’t mentally see me dancing through this journal entry, you don’t have a soul.  Yeah.  Jocular Johnny finally got one to stick around.  Learned from what came before.  Absorbed it.  Digested.  Built something better. Built something stronger.

Like I said… Reference.  It’s good for you.

Back to work.

Avenger a Day: Hawkeye

Surprisingly fun to draw, this sketch of Clint Barton didn’t feel right until I got around to giving him a slight smirk.  His mask is probably also a lot shorter than usual, but hey… that’s how I draw him.  I never got to know Hawkeye pre-Disassembled, but I have a feeling he’s gonna be my favorite Avenger in the Heroic Age.