26 July 2017

A funny thing happened while at the comic book store...

Example of Colin Wilson's excellent use
of lighting and solid draftsmanship.
There is a comic book shop about two miles from my work which I'll occasionally go do during lunch. I'd go more often but I'd become broke very quickly.

Because I don't go often, I'm not really keen on what's "hot" or up on any current story lines. I'm an artist, and buy only books based on if I like their art.

So I found a few, but one in particular- The Rocketeer Adventures 2 had a story in it where I loved the art. When I got it home I discovered it was by artist Colin Wilson, who've I'd admired for years and years! Of course I liked it! He's done everything from Blueberry, to Judge Dredd, to Rogue Trooper, to Star Wars Invasion (Incidentally, the last time I went I found Invasion and picked it up because I liked the art- and again discovered it was Colin).

One of the best things an artist should learn is to discover not only what catches their eye, but why. I like Colin's use of detail, the realism in his backgrounds, props and vehicles, and his characters... and the use of his camera shots.  The artwork feels alive.

DRAW!

Still getting back into it. I've been drawing when I can, way out of practice. I started going through all my old sketchbooks (I leave notes to myself when I've drawn something that I like since it's so hard to bottle lightning), and old illustrations. I came across this VERY out of character illustration I did as freelance for a women's health food product packaging:

The original illustration.
The front of the packaging, sans dog. He ran away.
It's fun to look back, but now I need to look forward!

A very talented filmmaker and good friend of mine, James Cawley, is going to do a fan film of "The Gunslinger"- from Stephen King's Dark Tower books. James called me out wanting some promotional and conceptual illustrations which I am extremely happy to oblige.

It's been a VERY long time since I've read the books, like 20 years... so I'll have quite a bit of research and rediscovery to do. To be honest, I needed a project to kickstart my brain- I tend to do better and MORE on other's projects- it's easier to answer to someone else then to answer to yourself.


Quality is never out of style

Another "republished" page. Admittedly, I went through kicks between being wanting to be a sequential artist or being a filmmaker, and because of that conflict, I would un-publish posts about what ever I wasn't into, trying to tailor my blog into what I wanted to reflect. In the end, sequential artist always seemed to win. Here's an older post that I had done talking about older newspaper strips. I was reading an article where Ham Fisher had so many assistants that he hardly drew much of his strip- which would account for the lack of consistency in his character designs.

These older strips were found through public domain, and had given me a real focus on how I want to approach my webcomic. -jfm

I've been trying to find other influences outside my traditional comfort zone. So, as you know I've discovered the Cisco Kid, but lately I've found some others whose artwork I really like:

Ham Fisher did a strip called "Joe Palooka" for 25 years. While there's not really any consistency in character design- I LOVE how many of the 'extras' are drawn in a semi-realistic/caricatured way- like the announcers in the second and third frame in this strip:

The brushwork is amazing!

Another old-timey newspaper comic was "Flyin' Jenny", done by Russell Keaton:


The paper-dolls are a bit much now-a-days, but I'm sure it was a great marketing gimmick!

I like the stylization of the character design, but I also like the attention to clean detail on the airplanes themselves. It's obvious that the best talent went to the newspaper strips back then.

It's gotten me thinking on my current influences as probably being influenced themselves by older sources. Quality draftsmanship never goes out of style... or rather, it shouldn't!

22 July 2017

I bit the bullet.

Originally posted a few years ago- but blogger seems to make these jump back to the top after you've unpublished and republished again.

I'll be the first to say I never finished my end of the bargain on these correspondence courses. This one came right before my dad passed away, and while I've gone over and used the materials the boxed set came with, I never had the nerve to do the work and send it in for critique. 

If I do another course, it will be for story graphics or inking. I'm not severely interested in being a comic book artist as much as the now extinct Adventure Comic Strip artist (like Milton Caniff)- which was my first exposure to it all and what I really wanted to do. I may resurrect the webcomic attempt yet.

With that, here's the original article below, from sometime in late 2012:

After many, many years of regretting not going to the Joe Kubert School, and pining over the Correspondence Courses, I bit the bullet and ordered the "Heroes and Superheroes" course!

When I say many, many years, it goes back to 1988. I was rummaging through the quarter-bin comics at the now extinct "Comics Utah" and found something that caught my eye. It was the 1st (and to my knowledge only?) issue of "Joe Kubert School Presents 1st Folio." It caught my eye... what was this school? Subsequently, I saw ads for JKS throughout many of my comics, and had always wanted to go. I even went so far as to mail them for information, but fear held me back. Yep, I said it, fear. I won't blame life circumstances, or marriage, or kids, or money... it was fear. I was afraid of traveling cross country, if it was something I could make a living at with an impending family.  I feel I could have, had I had faith in my ability and just worked hard at it... but I didn't know that then, I was just running on emotion and shrank back. Of course, the lack of a support system probably set me back, but that's another story.

So, yes, I do regret not 'going for it'. But really, that's neither here nor there. I love my life and kids now, but I really wish I would have had the courage to go for it back then.

Financial reality really does prohibit me from going now. But it doesn't prevent me from doing the next best thing- ordering the course and doing the best I can on it and get some insight from instruction off of my attempts and not just some examples out of a book.

One thing I do have now that I didn't when I was younger is life experience... and all the knowledge I've accumulated from filmmaking and learning about animation. Acting, composition, storytelling, pacing... But I am very mindful that while I do have a more solid understanding of all of this, I am still a student, and I am still wanting to learn from instructors- and I want to avoid the impulse of trying to impress them. The trick is to be humble- that allows you to learn more.

So, all that said, I am really excited to get the first course that should be arriving next Tuesday! I will post pictures of unwrapping it!!!


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