Saturday, December 19, 2009

Graphic Novel Style

I used to read comics a lot more than I do now. I started with only Ninja Turtles in elementary school, then mostly Superman in middle school, and by the time I was in high school I read mostly X-men related stuff. This isn't to say that I read these comics exclusively, I read a little bit of everything. Towards the end of my weekly comic book reading, I started getting into indie stuff, graphic novels, and less traditional superhero stuff(like Madman for example).

In college my car had died, and I was left with the decision to either keep buying comics, or get a new car/car payment. I chose the car. It wasn't a bad decision really because I don't miss comic books that much, and I still read the occasional graphic novel.

I really like the work of R. Crumb. Although sometimes I feel like it is hard to tell if he is being satirical or offensive, and some of his personal stories can make you blush with what they reveal, his style of drawing is beautifully done. I suggest checking out "The Softer side of R. Crumb".

Another Favorite of mine is Daniel Clowes. I remember loving "Ghost World", and going to get the comic(excuse me, "Graphic Novel"), and from there reading "Ice Haven", and "20th Century Eightball". Not only his drawing style, but his narrative style make me wish I had the talent to make the kind of stories, and characters that he creates.

The same goes for Adrian Tomine's work. His series "Optic Nerve" shares the same kind of subtle angst, and desperation that you find in Clowes' work, only with less silly characters.

All three of these artists have a unique way of dealing with the figure with amazing results. Crumb utilizes hatching more, while Tomine uses very minimalistic lines. Somewhere in the middle lies Clowes. The drawings above are my attempt at capturing portraits in a more graphic novel style.

It isn't always easy, or pretty because these works are done with an ink pen then covered with color pencils. I really like the work, and think that practicing this more "cartoon" style can only improve the way in which I see light, shadow, and also line work in a way that is not what I would traditionally do with my own drawing style using charcoal.

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