Saturday, December 29, 2007

Comics I enjoyed this fall.

In lieu of having anything good of my own to post I think this is as good a time as any to plug two comics that I’ve read recently and that I’ve really liked.

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One is Bone by Jeff Smith.
Bone is one of those interesting comics that is not what it appears to be on the outside. Actually a better way of putting it is that over the course of the story it starts off being one thing, gradually ends up changing it's tone completely, and then returns to what it was at the beginning of the journey. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never really read it, but it is a wonderful tale that’s not to be missed if you love cartooning and comics. My respect for the author grew even more after I learned how steadfast he was in defending his story from Hollywood manipulation. The studio that picked up the rights wanted to change the story and the characters to “fit” certain demographics better. Jeff Smith held steadfast to his artistic convictions and walked away when the studio wasn’t willing to budge. I can only admire a comic book artist who thinks that highly of the medium. To often people think of comics as a “lesser” medium than movies or television and, as Scott McCloud put it, view any opportunity to leave comics for these other mediums as a step up. Comics are just as legitimate a storytelling medium as cinema, television, novels, or radio. A comic story doesn't need to pander to Hollywood for the possibility of being adapted to be great in it's own right. Any artist who sticks to their guns like this is to be commended, especially one who stuck with his story until it was done for thirteen years. Even turning down other movie offers.

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The other comic is Megatokyo, a web comic created by Fred Gallagher and Rodney Canston but now written and drawn solely by Gallagher. When I picked up one of the collected volumes in the library (Volume 4) I figured it would just be another lame attempt at anime fan/gamer humor. When I started reading I didn’t feel like there was much going on to disprove my assumption. Then about a third of the way through I discovered that I was woefully incorrect in my presumption. I found characters here of an incredible depth, the kind you definitely would not expect from a game/manga focused American web comic. After reading through volume four I checked out the website where every comic from the story's beginnings in 2000 to the present is archived. The most rewarding dynamics, and a testament to just how well put together this story is are the budding romances between Largo/Erika and Piro/Kimiko, truly dynamic storytelling that totally surpassed my expectations for what this kind of comic could be.
Megatokyo is one of the Anime/Manga influenced Western stories that truly “get’s it.” Many people in the West try to emulate the cartooning styles popular in Japan in an attempt to be hip (corporations chasing demographics), or thinking that it somehow grants legitimacy to their work, as if everything western is dumb. MegaTokyo takes what appeals to we anime/manga fans and works it in such a way that it doesn’t feel like pandering. A truly wonderful accomplishment.

I now proudly count myself among the fans of both of these fine comics.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sight_Size drawing.

Here's the one we worked on for about 9 weeks.

Honestly, I'm not to impressed with it. I think my sight-size cast drawing came out better.

Anyway, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Okay so here’s the piece I’d been working on off and on since early October (before the semester.) Originally I was thinking that the theme would be “Love without prejudice.” I had started thinking about all the stuff interracial couples have to go through and this came to me. Eventually it just became my own personal outlet for my creativity as I was hard at work with LAAFA stuff. It wasn’t about getting it “done” it was just about drawing something completely independent of class work. I must have been a weird sight drawing this thing during my breaks at school (though people sketching is not an unusual site at our school.) It was done in Blue col-erase pencil on Crescent 300 illustration board.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Old master drawings.

Okay so here's my weekend update. Hopefully with the break next week, and the end of this session of classes in mid-January I'll be able to update more. I'm definately hoping that I'll get to post my personal project (I've been working on it since before classes started) next week. Until then here's some copies I did of old Master drawings by Jacques Callot and Peter Paul Rubens.

Friday, December 7, 2007

More fun with my new best friend Mr. Bargue!!!

Okay so here is another sight-size copy from one of my classes at LAAFA. Obviously, I'm still working on this one.

We have two classes that teach us to draw via the sight-size method. One is cast drawing, and the other is a figure drawing class. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of sight-size it basically means you measure the drawing line by line using a plumbline/ruler then copy it in the adjacent space.

This method was really hard for me at the start of the semester. Pretty much all of my life drawing before this was focused on my aspirations to work in animation/illustration. Those fields tend to emphasise using your imagination while drawing the model. Sight-Size is very much the opposite and can be a rude transition for those of us more accustomed to the former way of thinking. I think it's even given me eye strain problems at some points!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dinotopia event at Storyopolis.

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a Dinotopia event at Storyopolis on Saturday. James Gurney the author/artist behind the book series was in attendance promoting the newest book Journey to Chandara. I finally got to meet him after emailing him on and off for a year, so it was wonderful. Rereading Dinotopia in college was one of the big things that set me on the course towards illustration as career. My brother had bought the book when I was in 4th grade. I appreciated the dinosaurs, as I've always been a huge Paleontology nut but it wasn't until I became focused on art myself that I really learned to love these books. Another book James Gurney co-wrote The Artist Guide to Sketching (with believe it or not Thomas Kinkade) is one my favorite books on the subject of drawing ever The way of thinking about drawing just resonated with me. It was great getting to talk to him about art, the books, and all sorts of things.
Silly fanboy picture books are for kids! That's the lie they told me!!!! Nah seriously, the way I'm grinning like an idiot in this picture is likely to shock, and possibly scare people who know me well. What can I say though, great books all three.

James Gurney signing someones book, and a kid in the background.

My signed book in all it's glory.