Sunday, May 15, 2005

Something old, something evil

Been busy this week training a new assistant while finishing up the work on the Ninja Turtles. And while traning my new assisatnt I came across this sketch I did last year of Harley and Mr. J.


bustedacres said...

What duties will your new assistant fill?

By the way, I watched the Draw! DVD again the other night and picked up some helpful things I missed the first time, particularly the idea of pulling curves toward you when inking and pushing straight lines out from you. Interesting!

I have a technical question for you: when you're doing perspective that has vanishing points waaaaaayyyyyy out there (like in the paper-screened room on page one of the Thief of Time thing on the DVD), do you just fudge the points or do you make an elaborate long extension to your board to get them exactly right?

Mike Manley said...

There are a few ways to go about doing your perspective.

1) you can work it out small enough to fit on an regular sheet of paper then enlarge it and put it on the light table and trace it off or draw with it underneath as a guide. If it's a scene where it's a 2 or 3 point perspective and the Vanishing Points (VP) are far apart then this always works best.

2) fake it in a sort of wide angel way.

Kirby was king at doing this. He'd give a one point perspective really 2 VP's each slightly set off from one another and this gave him a wide angle feel. Effectively blowing out the sides if you will. Take some of his comics and trace them off and find the VP's, the are many... Eisner too, Kubert..most 'expressive or cartoonie' artists bent the rules to fit the mood/angle/drama/storypoint they wanted.

I think it depends again on what effect you are going for. Artists like Gene Colan toyed with perspective, warped and bent it to his will, Salmons too. Other artists like Heath or Bolland are wedded to it. thier accurate sperspective drawing made their war/sci-fi comics so believable.

My rules for this are simple, learn the rule, then break it when needed and with style. You'll know when and how to make it bend the way you want.

bustedacres said...

Hilarious. I think I'm a pretty inventive guy, and yet it never occurred to me to do it small, then blow it up. What a maroon. . .

Sounds like it's about time for me to build that light box I've been promising myself.

Thanks for the tips--I'm going to pay particular attention to some Kirby perspective now that you mention it. It's interesting to me that his pages, while some are certainly weaker than others, don't seem bound by any rules--no strict adherence to perspective (in the Alex Ross manner, for example), no desire to make things look real (in the Alex Ross manner again!), no desire to do anything other than tell the story.

It seems as though his drawings were designed to "read" as fast as you would read them, unlike say Bolland, whose work is so detailed and gorgeous that it slows you down and you luxuriate in it. Kirby's like "get on with it, man! There's more story in the next panel!"

Mike Manley said...

Good points! Kirby's work is ment to be read fast, as it's an action comic.

I break cartoonists down into two catagories, cartoonist vs cartoonist/illustrator. Detail does slow down the eye. Raymond =Illustrator.
Adams=Illustrator cartoonist

Kirby cartoonist.

bustedacres said...

That's right--it seems currently the "hot" artists are illustrators rather than cartoonists. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I was all about the illustrator guys--Art Adams in particular. You have the John Cassadays and even the Jim Lees (though I frankly don't think he's a very good illustrator).

But the guys that I'm learning the most from and trying to emulate in some ways are the Alex Toths and the Caniffs, Robbins, those fellas, who are quite obviously cartoonists. And to bring it back to Tony Salmons--I think what I like so much about his work is that it is drawn in that same way, to be read instantly and moved on from, much like Kirby.

So many people emulate Kirby "crackle" and the strange lines he drew along thighs and forearms, his peculiar foreshortening, etc., but Tony Salmons is the only guy I can think of that has grabbed onto that theoretical approach of legibility.

Marty M said...

Hi Mike,

Was a fan of your Batman stuff in the early 90's - thought it was solid - you and Graham Nolan were among my faves.

As bustedzcres asked - what duties will your new assistant fill? I'm curious to know what type of stuff an art assistant does...since I may be eventually looking for one myself.

As per the rest of the perspective discussion, I'll have to pull out my some of my older Kirby's and check to see how did some stuff.

Thanks for the info. Lovin' the site. Keep it up.

HumanPerson said...

bustedacres & Mike, i agree with what you said on Kirby.

Back then a lot of comic artists did that "quick impression" style. Instead of filling everything with detail, like Jim Lee or even a George Perez, Kirby just drew enough so that the eye would quickly understand what was on the page and what important to look at. ie:, when he drew a leg, he just drew a few strokes to define the outline of the line and maybe the line be such to show a bit of muscle definition (but wouldn't show every single muscle fiber like Jim Lee would draw).

And often he didn't really draw any background whatsoever so the figure would be the eye's focus.

Thats actually a great way to speed up or slow down the pace of a comic: less detail in panels you want read fast (like action), and more detail for the more subtle, splash, or establishing panels.

HumanPerson said...

Come to think of it, Kirby did draw like 5 comics a month back in the day so that probably had something to do with the detail also :)