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Showing posts from October, 2009

THE BRUSHWORK OF LEONARD STARR: AN APPRECIATION

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I was pleased that my last post about working with ink triggered a discussion in the comment section about the great Leonard Starr.

Regular readers know that I am a big admirer of Starr's brilliant draftsmanship in the comic strip On Stage. At regular intervals, I revisit On Stage just to renew my education. In view of the comments from readers, I thought it would be timely to share some inspiring examples of Starr's work with brush and ink.


Starr's no. 3 Winsor & Newton brush gave him more descriptive power than he could have obtained from a pen.

In the following panel, note Starr's elegant brushwork on the crouching figure, especially the brisk contoured shading of his left arm.



The next panel is a good example of the range of delicate applications for a brush in the hands of a talented artist: contrast the freedom of the curls in her hair with the lines of the folds in her nightgown sleeve, and contrast both with how effectively Starr sculpted those hands holding th…
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These are color keys for the animated film Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas. They're meant to establish the color and lighting in the Hall of Justice location.
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White Bird, watercolor on hot press illustration board.
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INK AND COMMITMENT

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Sophie Herbert

You should turn to ink only when you are no longer afraid of commitment.

If you're looking for a more casual relationship, choose a pencil because I guarantee you, ink will still be there in the morning when you wake up, and she ain't leaving after breakfast.

Newer art tools, from the etch-a-sketch to its successor, the WACOM tablet, sometimes give us the impression we can make all our mistakes disappear. 



The Etchasketchist

Photoshop enables us to retrace our steps and magically wipe our fingerprints off a murder weapon or retrieve the phone number we imprudently handed out in that bar last night. But the benefits of this freedom come with a cost.

Ink is the medium for artists who are prepared to stand by their actions. Ink reserves her special favors-- as well as her frustrations-- for those artists who understand the significance of commitment.

Ink is applied wet but leaves a fossil record of every decision or mistake the artist made. That record can be difficult t…
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Compressed charcoal on strathmore charcoal paper.
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This is watercolor with a little gouache thrown in on arches cold press paper. I used masking fluid to preserve the white of the paper in the lights.
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JEFF MACNELLY

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Jeff MacNelly never went to art school or graduated from college, but his brain was the prototype for 3D supercomputer graphics software-- he had the uncanny ability to visualize an object and rotate it in his head on all three axes, then scale, translate and project it-- all before breakfast.

MacNelly rarely drew one of his political cartoons straight on-- instead, he effortlessly played with the vantage point, ratcheting it up or down a few degrees to make the picture more dynamic:


Note how the low vantage point completely transforms what would otherwise be a fairly conventional scene.




MacNelly punctuates the receding plane of the bar with well placed figures.


Here, he convincingly intersects the receding plane of the fence with the right angle of the jet and the acute angle of that sagging truck.

His angles allowed him to go wild when foreshortening the ground-- a side benefit he obviously enjoyed...





MacNelly won his first pulitzer prize by the time he was 25. He told friends he hoped t…

ARCHIE MARRIES VERONICA

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Edgar Allan Poe believed that checkers is a more profound game than chess. The rules of checkers are extremely simple, he wrote, but their simplicity opens the game up to psychology and reflection while chess remains a closed game of complex mathematical combinations: "The higher powers of the reflective intellect are more decidedly and more usefully tasked by [checkers] than by all the elaborate frivolity of chess [where] what is only complex is mistaken...for what is profound."
After 68 years, Archie Andrews (the world's most indecisive guy) has finally chosen Veronica Lodge over Betty Cooper.



He marries Veronica in the current issue of Archie (no. 601).



Now is probably a good time to reflect upon-- and honor-- the seven decades that Betty and Veronica spent in purgatory as they tried to persuade this lout to commit. Day and night the two girls schemed and competed, connived and begged without success. This had to be a frustrating life and, as the decades went by, an ulti…
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Jenny, charcoal pencil on velour pastel paper.
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