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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ask an Artist on the 11th! - A3on11 - Best Advice?

This month's question: "What is the best advice you’ve ever received"?

I’m going to assume that this question is about comic art, otherwise I’d have a smart ass answer like “always eat your vegetables” or “never drink liquor after beers” or some such…

I’ve been a student of comic art for a long time, and ALWAYS will be. Because of this, I’ve had the luxury of getting to know a number of comic professionals. Each one of them has taught me something in their own way. When it comes to helpful advice, here are some of the highlights that really helped me.

The late SETH FISHER (R.I.P.) was a terrific talent and a super nice guy. In my early days he helped me a TON via emails and scans. Here are a few quotes from Seth’s correspondence to me that I found fantastically useful:

"Just draw to feel good and always raise the bar for yourself
on every picture you draw. in this way you will always move forward.

No matter what you draw it is still a vast
simplification of the object so don’t worry about perfection.
Perfection is dull. Character is interesting. Give your objects
and people character.

I’m guessing that the bottom line for you that distinguishes between really good pages and the mediocre is just the amount of time that you put into the page. A good page takes a long time to make and is often redrawn several times to make it work. This is a secret part of the process of course. People assume it comes out right the first try".

GQ here again….This last quote REALLY flicked on a light bulb in my head, as in my early days that was exactly what I did assume! Learning this ‘secret’ from Seth really helped me.

JOE MADUREIRA is another artist who’s an inspiration to me, and I’m a fan of his work. I found an online interview with him where he said:

"The best advice I can give you is to pick up a few books on animation. I LOVE animation and I really study how things move, react, etc. Im sure my love of animation has rubbed off on me in more ways than I can imagine".

That coupled with his speaking about ( and I’m paraphrasing a bit here as I cant find the exact quote) the fact that :

“you’re never as good as you think you are”

I found to very helpful to keep in mind…and I still do.

TY TEMPLETON has given me so much terrific advice over the last 4 years its hard to know where to start!!! To keep it brief, I’ll summarize the most helpful thing he ever taught me in 2 words:

“Narrative flow”.

It’s all about leading the eye around the page on purpose, and correctly. (I touched upon this a bit in the very first ‘A3on11’ right here…it’s the red line on the rough layout page)
The last piece of advice is more general, and comes from one of my favorite writers, BERNARD CORNWELL:

"In the end you have to write the book. Do it, and remember that everyone began just like you, sitting at a table and secretly doubting that they would ever finish the task. But keep at it. A page a day and you’ve written a book in a year! And enjoy it! Writing, as many of us have discovered, is much better than working".

Substitute the word ‘drawing’ in there for ‘writing’ and voila, instant comic artist advice. This quote is printed out and hanging above my drawing board to this very day.

That’s some of the advice that worked for me, and I really hope it’s helpful to some of you.

As always, if you have a question or want me to expand on any of the above…just ask! I’ll be back next month on the 11th to answer another question. They can range from very technical comic art ones, to very general questions- there is no such thing as a bad question. What I answer will depend on what gets asked. Feel free to email me at , ask it in the comments section below, or shoot me a message on Facebook.

Other 'A3on11' blog posts can be found by clicking here.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holmes Inc. # 2 is a wrap!

Holmes Inc #2? Yes! The game is afoot once again!

I'm happy to report that my pages for Holmes Inc. #2 are now all done and dusted. Ty Templeton says they are probably the best pages he's ever seen from me, and he's seen just about ALL of my work. (Probably because we ALWAYS seem to be sitting within spitting distance -or directly beside each other- at conventions. But I digress...)

'Polarized' is the tale I provided artwork for and it was written by Sam Ruano. This time I'm pencilling and inking myself. The story features abandoned Antarctic mine shafts, creeepy aliens and related family members making out. I'm serious. I couldnt make this stuff up.

Only Sam could...and did.

Once again, the overall creative process was a blast. Having a real 'bullpen' creative environment once a week at our update meetings was very fun. Seeing some of the other artist's great artwork makes one want to go and work even harder on their own, and I think there's real value in that. It's also heart warming to see folks who were new to the publishing game grow artistically and gain confidence over the weeks while we were at it.

This is the main Holmes Inc. website to swing over to. There are tons of goodies going up there every day and you can even do the twitter thing to grabs all the details.

The book should be out in about 4 weeks or so. Keep watching this space, and The Holmes Inc site for the exact date.