I thought I’d share some of the drawings by Osamu Tezuka that I referred to several times to try to work out doing nature with ink. All three of the main pictures I’m showing here are from his Buddha series. The one above is from Volume 8, the last one. Now, when I look at that I’d call it fairly realistic. But when you start looking at the individual parts we can see how he’s combining abstract patterns and textures to construct it.
Posts Tagged ‘linework’
So I’m finally back after the hiatus. I’ve been antsy about the time off, so I’m glad to get to this one. I first ran into Charles Vess’ work in the Sandman comics and his association with Neil Gaiman (Stardust, The Blueberry Girl, etc.). I find it easy to pick out his art based on style alone, and I also think it draws heavily on golden age illustrators like Rackham and Dulac. (I just picked up a good book on Dulac, so I’ll be doing one of his soon).
Vess’ book Drawing Down the Moon is a great overview of his work. (Great production values too – the chapter division pages are really cool.) I picked The White Goddess because it’s a rare opportunity to see two finished versions of the same piece – one in color and one in black and white. What decisions does Vess make differently based on the choice of medium? We’ll look at several examples, plus we’ll check out the overall composition.
What a difficult choice! There are a lot of great illustrations in the Dover book, and it was hard to decide which one to look at for an analysis. If you’re a fan of golden age illustration, you should definitely check this one out. I chose this one in the end for a few reasons. For one, we get a clear sense of character – to me this seems like more than just your generic old woman. She’s been through a lot. Also, Rackham gives us lots of texture and line work that is fun to get lost in. The recent analysis of Dürer was an example of highly precise, controlled linework. This drawing, though, shows linework that is loose and flowing, yet still controlled. Rackham’s picture has clearly separated foreground, midground, and background elements, and it also has an effective silhouette and composition.
Last week I told how Ian Miller pointed me to Albrecht Dürer. He had a table at the first Illuxcon and had some of his fantastic ink drawings on display. It was great to be able to get up close to see just what was going on, because unlike most comics inking you couldn’t really see the individual lines until you got up close. For example, I remember looking at Castles for quite a while.
I’d like to thank him for providing a high resolution version of THD for the analysis. I first saw it on his web site, and he was kind enough to send a version I could use to take detail images. THD is an ink drawing, but then he colored it, I’m guessing with watercolor. I’ll go into the color choices and linework, but I’ll also touch on the composition, concept, and ways he guides our eyes through the picture.
Last week I said that this time I’d write about something old. I hope 1498 qualifies. Thanks to a timely birthday present from my brother, I’m doing a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, a German painter and engraver best known at the time for his highly skilled prints. At Illuxcon a couple of years ago I saw some fantastic ink work by Ian Miller, like Trees and Insects. He was kind enough to do a portfolio review for me, and during the process recommended that I start with Dürer. So, here we are.
I chose The Men’s Bath because we can clearly see the techniques Dürer used in the linework. This in a medium in which the artist and craftsmen who then cut the blocks had to be aware of and consider every line, every mark. We’ll look at examples of how Dürer handled form of the body, textures like wood and stone, and background elements like buildings and trees. He used hatching, feathering, and cross-hatching to establish values in what is basically a black and white medium. While that medium may be woodcut, the principles apply equally well to inking with brush and pen today.
Man, I love M. C. Escher’s stuff! I know I’m hardly alone in that, but I thought I’d get it out of the way right in the beginning. And Relativity is one of my favorites. A few years back the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC had a showing of Escher’s work. Something that really caught me by surprise was how much you could see on the actual pieces that doesn’t show up even in the good quality, coffee table books of Escher’s work. Sure, he’s known for the perspective tricks, tessellation, and space warping, but he’s also a darn good artist and draftsman. I love Relativity because of the wonder and imagination, but it’s also a great example of things like lighting and defining mass and form. We’ll look at all of these things in this analysis.
Brian Bolland was one of a wave of artists from the U.K. who crossed the pond and made a name for himself in the comics industry. He’s best known (to me) for his work on Judge Dredd, creating several iconic characters including Judge Death. I picked up his book The Art of Brian Bolland recently, and of all the great artwork in there this was the piece that jumped out at me. I’m not even a particular fan of Prince’s music, but this is just one cool portrait. It’s in a comic style, but a quite realistic and detailed one compared to most superhero rags. For this analysis I’ll focus on the composition of the portrait, the colors and values, and the linework.
“Tales” was the front and back cover art for Yes’ album Tales From Topographic Oceans. Since the album cover opened out, Dean faced an interesting problem. The right half of the painting is all that would be visible to most customers in a record store, so that had to work as an image all on its own. But, since it wrapped around to the back side the entire thing had to work as a coherent image as well. Basically, he had to construct two halves that add to a greater sum that the parts. To solve this problem Dean came up with a picture that has one focus when you’re seeing the right half and a different focus when you see the whole thing.
Strangers In Paradise is a long-running series, now complete, by Terry Moore. His artwork is among my favorite in comics, so it’s past time that that I get to one of his pieces. (I almost chose one of his Art Nouveau covers, but I picked this one instead since I did an analysis of Mucha so recently.)
Terry Moore did the inks, with colors by Brian Miller.
I ended up last week by saying I’d do a Maxfield Parrish piece this time, but I lied horribly. The Parrish piece I’d picked is Daybreak, one of his most popular and well known. It’s based on the principles of Dynamic Symmetry. I need some more time to work through that, so I’ll do it three weeks from now. Instead, I’m going to do Dance by Alphonse Mucha. It’s part of a series of four panneaux based on the muses (some of them, anyway). Aside from Dance, there are (from left to right) Poetry, Music, and Painting. This Art Nouveau style may have come before the term “pinup,” but hey, these are pinups.