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Saturday, September 29, 2007

My own Comic Con: Part Two

Whew! It has been a busy couple of weeks! Work has been busy as usual and my friend just got married this past weekend. I have a little bit of time now, so let me finish up what I started a few weeks ago! Back to Arvin-Con!

This next book I got is actually and oldie, but I never managed to pick it up myself for the longest time for some odd reason. It's called "Capcom Design Works".

Capcom is a videogame company that's been around for awhile and has a stable of well known franchises ranging from 1942, Ghosts n' Goblins, Bionic Commando, Final Fight, Strider oh, and yeah Street Fighter. They actually have a number of books out there on their studios character design, but I find this one to be the best of the bunch. I think I really started getting into their character design work when I initially saw the art for Street Fighter Alpha on the Playstation.

The anatomy of the characters was so beefy and solid, I was impressed at the fact that even though the anatomy was exaggerated, it still was based on reality. It just felt like it had such mass. And that's something I always have a hard time incorporating into my art. I think I was also starting to get into actually learning anatomy in college at the time, (though admittedly I'm pretty out of practice nowadays.) so this was pretty inspirational to see.

There's a ton of images in this book, and while a lot of it dwells on Street Fighter, There's some on their more obscure titles too. Like this one below, talk about buh-zaare!

I figure since everybody posts up a lot of Street Fighter stuff on the web anyways, I'll pick some of the ones that I usually don't see on the web. It's nice to see the studio run through a range of art styles and the art staff being so flexible. I find Character design, while being a pretty cool job, also ends up being very difficult and demanding. So I definitely appreciate the body of work presented within this book.

Next up is the graphic novel adaptation of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by David Chauvel and illustrated by Enrique Fernandez. Another on of those I stumbled onto it titles when I was in the comic book store.

Fernandez has a very vibrant color style and great fantastical character designs (is fantastical a word?). It's a very striking book at first glance. He's got a very playful use of curves and angles that's very apparent in his designs for the Lion and the Tin man.

Definitely a pleasant surprise as I thumbed through the pages of this book at the comic book store. Definitely something I'll probably try to have out on the ol' drawing table as I'm coloring my own comic book.

I picked up James Jean's "Process Recess 2" recently and this was also an unplanned buy (lots of impulse buying, huh?!). I've enjoyed his stuff when I first had seen it in the "Fables" comic book covers.

I like his color choices a lot, it's always pushing color theory, using some pretty off-beat colors but stil matching them together. He's very prolific at pumping out his art it seems, leaving me to jealously scratch my head wondering: "how does he do it?" I can barely pump out a black and white page in a couple of days!


The format of the book is to have one side of the page be the finished copy and the other side to have sketches and thumbnails of the piece. Hence the 'process' in process recess. Very inspiring stuff.

Okay, now the last book in our line up is from an illustrator named Shaun Tan. I saw Mr. Tan's work awhile back when I got into collecting children's books. My sister wanted to write a children's book and as she bought a lot of children's books for research, and I ended up being swept up into it as well.

One of the children's book I picked up back then was Shaun Tan's " The Red Tree". This book caught my eye because the imagery and colors were so striking. Very much like a fairy tale, with a lot of vibrant colors. I'll let the pictures do the talking.



He builds in this tiny red leaf into every drawing in the book, almost to a where's Waldo effect, which I can imagine might be fun for the kids to try to look for. The search for the leaf also compliments the story as it's about finding something. A very nice looking book.

Anyway, recently Shaun Tan came out with a graphic novel called "The Arrival". This was another unplanned buy, but I had to snap it up instantly because I'm a fan of his work from The Red Leaf.

The Arrival is a book about immigrants. The experiences, the tragedies, the wonders , the struggles to adjust in a new and foreign land. It's all very lovingly drawn and crafted. Tan choses a more sepia based color scheme, evoking a nostalgic (historical?) feel to the book. It's all wordless, but there's a lot of emotion carried through the panels and the way it's paced.

The book starts off set in what seems like a normal setting, with a man preparing for a trip saying goodbye to his family.

Then as the family walks the man off, the following imagery clues you in to the fact that this is not quite the reality we know.



A lot of this fantastical imagery in the book actually strengthens the narrative. We follow the man into this foreign land, and because the reader has never seen anything this... alien ... we too are put into the man's shoes. We relate to the main character even better. So as we read, we get the same sense of wonder and awe as someone who has immigrated to a different country, only magnified tenfold.

He does a sequence about the amount of red tape and examinations an immigrant might go through early on in the book. By using consistent, gridded pages, Mr. Tan is able to convey the feeling of how tedious and tiring that process can be.

He does a lot of playful things with depicting the passing of time whether it be with numerous panels or one big splash panel. I enjoyed "The Arrival" a lot from both an aesthetic and a sequential story telling sense. Maybe I relate to it a lot because I just got my Green Card?

Anyway, That's it for today! That's how I blew through a wad of cash for Arvin-Con! And that's not even counting the videogames I got or the shameless DVD's I bought (Buffy the Vampire slayer the movie, Big Trouble in little china, Alien Nation, Enemy Mine) Until next post! God Bless!
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