Posts Tagged ‘Jason Lutes’

Frank’s Soapbox #5


Saturday, August 28, 2010

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Noel Sickles sketches

Reading My Love recently has got me thinking about naturalism in comics. What do I mean by the term naturalism? That’s what I call a bare boned observational (from life) drawing style. It’s not dissimilar from documentary illustrations published in newspapers before photography was affordable. A modern equivalent would be court sketches. And in comics the examples that come immediately to mind are Noel Sickles, Alex Toth and Jaime Hernandez. A clear, observational drawing style based on a study of life as it appears to the naked eye. Stylized, yes, but accurate to life in proportion and feel. (more…)

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Marshall Rogers


Thursday, January 10, 2008

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I found this convention sketch in a box at my mom’s house the other day. I’d forgotten all about it. I paid 15 bucks for it back in ’87, and I remember thinking that was a fortune. Too bad I barely remember anything about my interaction with Marshall Rogers himself. I only remember watching in amazement as he made these little marks on the paper when he started, little dashes that I quickly realized were for figuring out proportion. As soon as he had those marks down he was off to the races, and the drawing came to life literally in a matter of minutes. When he tore it out of the pad and handed it over to me, I do remember feeling a little gypped — but looking at it now, I think, good grief, it’s awesome, how did he knock it out that fast?

I showed this drawing to my friend Jim Rugg and we started talking about the sort of stylized naturalism that Rogers was known for. And then Jim said, “Y’know, the hackiest hack who worked for Marvel in the early ’60s had a better sense of basic figure drawing and naturalism than almost any contemporary cartoonist.” We both wracked our brains trying to come up with a modern equivalent to, say, Don Heck. And we couldn’t! Who draws in a non-photo-referenced, natural, realistic style? Okay, Jaime Hernandez. But who else? Everyone we came up with didn’t seem to fit. Michael Golden? No, too stylized. Beto? No, too cartoony. Jason Lutes? No, too stiff. There isn’t this sort of basic non-photo-ref’d style that’s in widespread use anymore. I’m sure if I really thought about it I could find an artist and point to their work and say, “Here, this guy.” But the fact is styles change, tastes change, and so do abilities and schools of thought. Photo-referencing rules the roost these days in “realistic-looking” comics, and I hate it. Gimme Don Heck instead. Or Rogers. He might’ve used some photo-referencing here and there, but he had it down and didn’t have to take photo after photo of his friends posing and then thinly disguise it as comics. I mean, have you read Coyote? What? You haven’t? What are you waiting for?

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