Monday, August 27, 2007

"Working Methods Pt. 2"--My "Paddy" pages

Here are the first three pages I did for Scott Hampton's "Paddy" story as I mentioned in my August 24 post. I took a slightly different approach than Hampton or Levins in that I decided to stretch the story out over nine pages total ( the script only calls for three pages ). Although I would never do this in a professional setting, I thought it would be fun to take the liberty of doing this for purposes of storytelling.

My approach was to limit myself to only three panels per page. I personally prefer to do pages with not more than four panels, and I find anything over six panels to be kind of cluttery. There are exceptions of course, but the main idea is that each page should represent a "beat" in the story. It should represent a single idea that has a begining, middle and end. Too many different beats slows down the reader. It also diminishes the importance of each "beat". I like the Japanese "manga" approach to storytelling. They believe you should only spend a few seconds per page. The action in manga feels closer to "real time" because they don't try to crowd too many "beats" into a page, they allow the story to unfold ( of course, they can afford this luxury as manga have a much larger page count than American comics ).

Did this all on the computer in Photoshop. As much as I love my Wacom tablet, it's still a little weird to look up at your drawing on the screen while your hand is somewhere else. I developed a pain in my neck/shoulder from doing this for so many years. I was going to buy a Cintiq, but now I'm sort of looking at the new ModBook. I love the portability factor. Especially considering how much I traveled this year. Once I do that, my drawings will look a little less shakey and struggled over ( I hope ).

Anyhoo, it's been a fun exercise so far. It'll be fun to see other versions by different artists. Check out the book and try it yourself!

Friday, August 24, 2007

On DVD: Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth

Another plug I forgot to mention...You must, MUST go out and buy the Space Ghost & Dino Boy DVD. In it there is an 80 minute long documentary called "Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth". This is an excellent documentary on the life of one of the greatest comic book illustrators of all time. Through photos, rare artwork, interviews with family, friends and colleagues ( including everone from Irwin Hasen, to Joe Kubert, to Paul Pope ) we get a revealing portrait of the man and his art. This is no fluff piece, this really reveals a lot about the man and who he was. It's probably one of the best documentaries I've seen yet on a comic book artist outside of "Crumb". Run out to your local DVD store and buy it today!!

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Working Methods

Once in a while someone comes up with a book with such a great but simple idea, you wonder why it hadn't been done a long time ago. John Lowe's "Working Methods" is one such book. Although it is one of many "How to draw comics" books that have been written, the twist here is that he compares and contrasts the working methods and styles of some very different professional comic artists by having them work from the same sample scripts. Actually, three different scripts in three different genres, by eight different artists--including Scott Hampton, Tim Levins, Jim Mahfood, Pat Quinn, Sean Murphy, Mark Schultz, Chris Brunner, Kelsey Shannon. It's interesting to see how different artists tackle the same material. I've provided examples of two different artist's take on "Paddy", a gangster story written by Scott Hampton. I got so jazzed at the idea of this that I started a version of "Paddy" on my own ( I will post these here in a couple of days ). Lowe is chair of the Sequential Art Department at Savannah College of Art and Design. This book should be a great little textbook for his students and will make a great addition to any prospective comic artist's library.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

$an Diego Comic-Con 2007

So I went to Comic-Con this weekend and as usual, spent $$$ on sketchbooks, comic albums, and original art. Flew in directly from Toronto on Friday morning after finishing my two month stint storyboarding "The Incredible Hulk". I usually buy at least one piece of original artwork at the con. Picked up a couple of original comic strip dailies. An original "Johnny Hazard" daily by the legendary Frank Robbins and an original "Friday Foster" daily drawn by Jorge Longaron. Got each one for under $90. Of course I made my pilgramage to Stuart Ng Books and bought a few great books including "Torpedo Integrale", a MASSIVE book collecting all the Torpedo stories, written by Sanchez Abuli and drawn by Jordi Bernet ( and the first one, done by the late, great Alex Toth ). It's a beautiful volume--hardcover and nearly 2" thick--in dazzling black and white! Also picked up albums by European comics veterans Alfonso Font and Carlos Gimenez. If you aren't familiar with their work, GET WITH IT! Look them up and see true masters at work! Also picked up another nice sketchbook by Pierre Alary. Other books of note: A political primer by Dreamworks Animation artist Jakob Jensen called "My First Imperial ABC". A gorgeous little sketchbook by Gabriele Pennacchioli. Great poster art book by Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham. A new collection of work by my friend Trevor Goring and his collective known as "The Blvd". A beautiful collection of cartoon girl drawings by Pixar artist Bill Presing called "Belle du Jour". A great little mini-comic called ""Steel Noodles" by Louis Del Carmen. A nifty hardbound collection of art called "Grab yourself a handful of Cheeks" by Sean "Cheeks" Galloway ( who was one of the designers on the upcoming Spectacular Spiderman cartoon! ) Of course my friend Jamie Baker had his great little elephant book, "Elephants In The News" and new mini comic, "Jock" out. "Gorillaz" artist Robert Valley had a nice thick new color collection out called "Massive Swerve". "Lilo and Stitch" co-director Chris Sanders had a beautiful little sketchbook and vinyl toy out. Dean Yeagle put out a nice, hardcover, over-sized "Mandy" collection as well as a "Designing Mandy" DVD! I also picked up new books on comics legends John Romita, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, Michael Golden and a new book on Paul Pope