Pencil Flex: X-Men

This fun theme ran for two weeks to coincide with what we predicted was going to be X-Men fever as everyone and her mother was going gaga over Fassbender.  Unfortunately, I caught the bug half way through and could only participate for half the designated period.  Still had a lot of fun with my pieces though, and the experiments I was able to play with are definitely worth revisiting.

Posted here are all of my illustrations.

Visit the site for the whole crew’s art.

Tres Komikeros 41

John, Alex, and Migs return with a boatload of reviews with their spotlights (eew?) shining on Power Girl #9, Devil #1, and DoomWar #1. After a hefty round of quick shots, the boys discuss the recent big changes in the big offices with Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, and Jim Lee each getting title upgrades. The show is capped off with a panel discussion about the komikeros’ expectations for the New Heroic Age and Brightest Day. Listen and learn, kids.

[audio: http://www.alexcipriano.com/podcast/tk041.mp3]

Download the episode here

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Tres Komikeros 07

This week’s hot books were Astonishing X-men #27, Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #3, and Iron Man #34. Alex wasn’t around, so John and Alex devote some quality time to making fun of him… as well as maybe talking about other comic-related news like Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as War Machine, as well as details about the Captain America film.

Maybe…

Download the episode here.

Shapes

Remember that X-Files episode “Shapes”? If it was a FRIENDS episode, it’d be called “The One with the American-Indian Werewolf.” No, really.

Yeah. Anyway…

So I have a couple of pages of my Thor set done. Asgard was a bitch, but I think I pulled it off… after a fashion. Posting those when page three is in the can. Here’s the thing though: I get about half way through the loose pencils of page three when I start feeling like my art style is becoming contrived. Choked even. I prop it up on my desk, take a step back, and I swear I feel like killing something. Then I flash back to what a friend said about the faces of the characters in my Next Wave set. Apparently I have this bad habit of, maybe not changing characters’ faces, but changing the styles with which those faces are drawn from different angles. D’ya get me? And she was right!

I start to remember that in the nineties, as I was just starting to get serious about my sequential art, I needed to really have a solid foundation in drawing the face from different angles. But instead! Me being the total hack that I am, I looked at so many of my favorite artists for reference that I subconsciously incorporated too much of their face styles into mine. Madureira’s distinctive side views. Hughes’s front shots. You get the picture. Along the way, not only did I become some sort of clone — WORSE! I became a mishmash of different styles that were in constant flux and conflict with each other. I became some stylistic ersatz Frankenstein.

I can draw, sure. But it’s not me drawing.

So I tear my third page into bite-size bits (It takes a while, it’s 11×17 after all) and spend three days finding it—finding the convergence of everything i have ever absorbed from every artist I have ever admired. Fine, it probably didn’t all happen in the past three days… they might have simply been the culmination of this, for lack of a better way of putting it, artistic digestion. And it’s still happening to me.

I craft a sort of mission statement for my style, realizing that since my influences are mainly of the cartoony sort (Madureira, Campbell, Pearson, Drucker, Frezzato, Ramos, Immonen, and Adams), it makes no sense to contrive it with the “serious” sensibilities. All this time, I’ve been trying to do a Jim Lee piece with Campbell’s hand, know what I mean? Yes, I know I’m no J. Scott Campbell, but come on. It’s a metaphor.

I remember some concept art videos I saw. Some cool Gnomon shit. And I remember the importance of creating strong, defined, and unique silhouettes. And then I wake up and see that my strengths have always been in shapes. Spheres. Cubes. Cylinders. The whole shaboodle. And I’m focusing these insights into a conscious effort to create a style that is more cartoony than my past work, but not overboard. Coz the way I figure it, the only real way my stuff is gonna look consistent from page to page, panel to panel, is if it’s really my stuff. It’s high time I ditch my crutches and grew some sea legs. So there, as far as figure and face work goes… I’m going with this more rubbery, animated feel. The serious sensibilities will be maintained only in the other details. Shadowplay (Mignola), camera placement (Hitch), figure dynamics (Frazetta), that kinda stuff.

That said, here’s some of the stuff I just did. And I love ’em.

Peter Parker

Thor (current style)

Thor (Shitty older version)

Logan

And lastly.. Logan and Emma

I am happy now.

On with page three.