Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OUT OF TOWN page 3

See that there, people? That there is a bunch of good likenesses! Finally! Three pages in and I manage to get my first good likeness of Claire. Nice work, Badower-Power. Any crapper and we're gonna need a plunger.

But she is harder to draw than a conclusion at a philosophy convention. Sometimes I draw a really nice likeness in the line work, but then I screw up the tones. That's what happened with panel 1. I remember redoing the tones over and over and over again! I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, except there was no Andie MacDowell and it all looked crap and there was a deadline looming over my head nastier than a squatter's crack on a hot day. It's one thing to have all year to draw these, it's another thing to do it to a tight deadline. I wander around conventions and see all these dudes with these amazing likenesses of the HEROES characters. And I'm like, "Damn, I bet you took all year to do that."

I had a week to do all six pages... So given that my parents spent about $100,000 on my high school education, that should mean I don't need a calculator to tell you that's about a day for each page. That means I either gotta get it right pretty damn fast or move on like Elizabeth Taylor to a new husband. Regardless of style, trying to hammer out a likeness is difficult. It's why my hat has been totally off to the other artists on the HEROES team. i know the pressure they're under, and they're doing fantastic jobs.

But I love drawing HRG. I think I've drawn him more than any other HEROES character. He was in Road Kill, the Death of Hana, Root and Branch and now Out of Town. I know when I see him, I'm good. I know that if I have to draw him my likeness is gonna range from good to impressive. I think I've got Jack Coleman sorted. I think the panel of him swiping the door is one of my favourites of him.

Ok, I'm gonna talk about panel 5 now, but in the most round about way possible.

A while back I toured around the Getty art museum here in LA with my good buddy David Blumenstein. Neither of us ressemble traditional artists except in our scruffy demeanors, darkened pouches under our eyes and looks of dreamy desperation. The great thing about wandering around an art gallery with a fellow artist is looking at the paintings and getting inside the artist's head. For example, seeing where they got tired or bored. You can tell by larger, sloppier brush strokes and inconsistent attention to attention to detail. Generally, the main figure is beautifully rendered and by the time they have to draw the chest of drawers behind them, they've gotten a little tired and it starts looking as scrappy as Scooby Doo's sidekick.

But it's a different case when you confront an artist like John Singer-Sargent. I was talking to my friend about him and we were putting forward our favourite pieces. She put forward Lady Agnew. Initially my reaction was that he was so captivated by her face that he just phoned the rest in. Looking closer I noticed the technical brilliance of the transparency of her sleeves. She also pointed out that his brush strokes are relatively consistent around the rest of the piece. I still argued that while his execution is beyond reproach the conceptual idea is born of laziness: to paint a portait and then only focus on what you want to focus on. She then unveiled Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. Here, his attention and capacity for detail are almost unbelievable.

So one can only say that his execution of Lady Agnew was a considered, deliberate piece of portraiture in a style where economy became design. While I would never consider comparing myself to Mr Singer Sargent, I'm pleading the same headspace for panel 6. Having a tight deadline and general laziness had nothing to do with my stylistic choice... which ended up turning out pretty damn well.

NEXT: Wednesday. Page 4. Less art theory, more ranting and laziness.


Anonymous said...

Hey man!

Mr Sargent is pretty cool. That last pic you were talking about he painted over the course of months at a summer retreat. In order to get the light right he only painted it in the evening and as the flowers died over the period he replaced them with silk and paper ones or something like that so he could still get all the same lighting effects. HARD CORE......

One of my favorites would have to be http://www.johnsingersargent.org/Fumee-D%27Ambris-Gris.html ah....painting white on white....man.....

I think the link you posted of the evening one is a bit bright. I've never seen it in person but I think this one is probably more like the original: http://www.johnsingersargent.org/Carnation,-Lily,-Lily,-Rose.html

Craig Mullins (http://www.goodbrush.com) is a big Sargent fan.

Hope things are going well for you over there in the big bad old USA.



Anonymous said...

Great work as usual! .. quick question: Willow, in her interview with you, said you work for TopCow and told me that Spacedog is an 'imprint' of TopCow..thought Spacedog was a partner of TopCow and that you were with Spacedog? ..and the answer is? ......lol