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Saturday, September 08, 2007

My own comic con: Part One

A few posts ago I had stated that since I missed out on the San Diego con this year, I went ahead an lived it up on my own and had my own imaginary comic con all by lonesome. Sounds kinda sad, in a dorky-sad kinda way, but actually all that escapist entertainment buying was a lot of fun! A lot of it was also spurred on by the fact that work has been really tough lately and my brain needed to do something it enjoyed a lot: geeking out.

So! This brings us to today's post. What did I end up getting during my 'personal comic con'? A lot of stuff, and actually I still seem to be on this mode of buying a lot of comic book related stuff. Not good on the wallet I must say, but very inspiring artistically when I surround myself with great art. Any way, let's get down to it shall we?

This first artist, Kow Yokoyama, I had stumbled through his stuff a while ago, but never bought the books up until now. I had thought it would be good research material for my current project at work.

His designs have a very 'real', utilitarian feel to them, with machinery that looks like it could've functioned in some crazy alternate world war 2 setting. I like this kind of tech where it's rougher, pieced together and not so slick looking.

Excellent designs and really detailed models are photographed in his 2 books "Maschinen Krieger" (volumes 1 and 2). While I saw his sketchbook on sale, I really like looking at the final model pieces.

Next up, I bought Volume 12 of "Modern Masters" (an excellent line of books), featuring Michael Golden . I think the first time I was exposed to Michael Golden was when I saw this crazy drawing he did in the back of Marvel Fanfare (or was it the Blade Runner movie adaptation?) a looong time ago when I was growing up in the Philippines.

I think he was inked by Terry Austin and it basically had every character in the marvel universe in it! I remember being so blown away by it. He is an amazing draftsman with a penchant for drawing very unique and varied faces onto his characters. He does some very crazy inking too!

I always heard about his run on The 'Nam when I was younger but since I was really into superheroes I passed on it. I picked up the compilations when I was in college and I can see how influential he was with the generation of artists after him (Todd McFarlane looks like he has some Golden influence).

There's some great stuff within this issue of Modern Masters, some will make your eyes bleed!

I had gone to Vancouver for vacation with my parents awhile back and I had found this comic book in a used book store by this artist named Nicolas Debon. The book is about a canadian artist named Emily Carr. Now, apparently Carr is a fairly well known artist, but I had just found out about her recently through Debon's book called "Four Pictures by Emily Carr"

It's basically a very simple biography of Carr's life. Debon picks out 4 paintings that Carr made throughout her career, and depicts the things Carr was going through at those periods in her life. Debon breaks the story up into chapters with a reproduction of Carr's paintings starting each one off. It's very fascinating to see Carr's progression within these paintings and it gave me a crash course on just how talented of an artist she was.

What grabbed me with the book was how simple it was to read, almost like a children's book. Debon has a nice color palette throughout the book, and is actually one of the reasons I picked it up.

I'm at a stage where I'm going to color my comic book, so my brain is just ravenous for any sort of color theory that catches my eye. A good find for me overall, 2 artists in one!

I love playing video games. I play a lot of video games. Now I know that's a turn on to all the ladies out there, but ladies please! Not now! I have a blog to dork out on! Ahe-hem. As I was saying, I play a lot of video games so I stumble onto a lot of art within the game and most times the concept artists aren't credited within the game or I can't figure out which name did what. I first saw this next artists' work on an ad for my favorite 3D action game, Shinobi on the PS2 (and I also love it's 'sequel' as well: Nightshade. So sue me.) It looked so kinetic, loose and very free. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out who the artist was. Luckily, that artist has been very prolific, creating artwork for some of the more popular video game titles like Devil May Cry and Sengoku Basara (Devil Kings here in the states). The artist's name is Makoto Tsuchibayashi. The book is called "Design Works" and I think it's published by Capcom (though Shinobi and Nightshade are Sega titles).

My favorite thing about Tsuchibayashi's work is how it retains a lot of gesture. This makes the art very action packed and fluid, with some awesome distortion of anatomy that favors dynamics rather than realism. Alot of times I find it so hard to retain some of the life in my thumbnails when I go to finish. I get too tight on my finishes. Tshuchibayashi on the other hand just gets nutty and seems very confident laying down a messy line. Very cool to see.

The book has a lot of Tsuchibayashi's recent work, but it also has some of the concept work that was done for Devil May Cry. While this isn't my favorite stuff from the artist, as it lacks much of the dynamics I love, it's always awesome to see an artists' progression. Gives me hope that someday maybe I can get better too! I guess I actually need to be drawing to do that huh? Ha!

Next up is "24Seven Volume 2". What can I say? I'm a sucker for anthologies. I mean a bunch of artists in one big book, it's like a cornucopia of flavors in one meal!

While of course there may be some flavors in there that taste like feet, it probably won't last too long, and you can move on to the next tasty flavor. 24Seven's connecting theme is robots. The stories seem to be themed very noir and range in subject matter from spirituality to politics to drugs. Here are some of the artists in the book and some of their pages:

Dave Johnson
Gabriel Ba
Miguel Alves
Calum Alexander Watt
Fabio Moon

Dan Hipp
There are some stories in 24Seven where it gets hard to follow because the storytelling isn't very clear. Some, just end up bordering on being too preachy and melodramatic. There are some good ones in there too, but when I go into an anthology, I usually throw away the part of my brain that craves a well told story and just looks at all the various art styles I can steal from! Mwoohahaha!

This next book "Notes for a War Story" is drawn by a man named Gipi. It says in the back flap that he's a 'world-class virtuoso of the graphic novel'.

Well, just like Emily Carr I've never heard of Gipi, but I was drawn by the art style he employs in this book. It's the story of 3 friends trying to survive in the middle of some Balkan war. I haven't read through the book yet, but it seems like one of those coming of age stories with friendship at it's core. I like the different faces that Gipi renders throughout the book, everyone has a very distinct look, and he's got a very loose and painterly touch to them. There's a lot of texture and character that he plays with within his lines, colors and choices of shapes. Seeing European comics always reminds me of different ways of approaching sequential art, it's like this whole other culture and line of thinking that hasn't been very accessible to me from the comic book stores around me. There's a lot of awesome artists out there for me to find!

Wow. I bought a lot of stuff huh! And I'm not even done yet! Okay, I'm going to take a break for tonight. I have 5 more books to go! Two of which I actually just got recently, and again I wasn't expecting to actually buy these 2 books, but it's one of those strolling into the comic book store and inadvertently stumbling onto some great art type of situations! Okay, until next we meet good night and God bless!
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