Sunday, June 29, 2008

Drawing til my eyes hurt

So, still working on Himeji Joe by doing him in pieces, which will come together to make the big man himself, just like Voltron.  I'm putting off the website for another weekend.  (But I worked on it lots this week!  The image is all done, its just installing the plumbing in Dreamweaver thats got me held up, figuring out the rollovers, etc...)

Had to get out of the house for some hours today, so I spent a few hours at a friendly local (and American in origin) fast food joint.  While there, saw a dude in line at the checkout whose posture and build struck me as interesting.  Luckily, they were busy and he had to stand there for a while.  I only got a few glimpses at his face and never saw his lower half anyway, but got this sketch made. 

The drawing began with the full standing figure, proceeded to exaggerating the few looks I got at his face, and went to the drawing of our new friend on the left.  When I saw the guy in line, I thought of a turtle-like Japanese mythological creature called a kappa that I read a lot about this week.  There's a bowl-ish haircut named after the do they are supposed to have, and the dude in line had it.  He looked like what I would want a kappa to look like, so I dug in while I could, playing with the posture.  Real dude didn't look near as bad as my version of him.  

My kappa has the haircut, and I tried to leave a space for its primary feature, a depression on the top of its head in which water must be for it to retain its dangerous mojo.  If you are a polite person with a habit of bowing, then it will return this bow, lose its precious H2O, and you're in the clear.  So remember kids, don't be rude little bastards or a horrific water-dwelling turtle monster will come up under you in the water and there'll be no more of you, no sir.  

Brought up thoughts of one of my first affinities in drawing that I felt alright at - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I think I was tracing them out of a Nintendo Power magazine I had in the 4th grade, and its one of the first things I can remember actually drawing for other people's requests.  Beginning of a bad attention-seeking habit.  But anyway, knowing that their standard design is still my default for a humanoid-turtle, I tried to get as far away from that as I could, at least in the details.  Hence the rib-y anterior plates and knobby shell.

Also been watching Spaced, a great British comedy series with the folks from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  The main dude plays a comic artist, and occasionally they show his drawings, which are wicked.  Looked it up and found names of two dudes who've worked for 2000 AD, the big-deal long-running British comic magazine.  Anyhow, my fave is Jim Murray, whose work follows.  

 Murray's colors remind me some of Glenn Fabry (of the Preacher covers), but its the drawing underneath these colors that really get me.  He's so expressive!  Jeez, its inspiring and great and kind of depressing all together, which I guess is a compliment to him.  Its so open, loose and dramatic, but still retains a sculptural, rendered power and  quality that I love in illustration.  Ummm... 
I realized that I have some of his stuff in my box of stored comic at home in the U.S., which I bought for the same reasons listed above.  I love seeing this level of work going into telling stories.  This level of stuff almost only makes it to covers, and a whole comic of this is a real treat.  Not to throw judgement on the scripts he works on, but this kind of art can make crappy writing look a million times better, like movie stars can lend believability/credibility to some terrible Hollywood blockbuster.  I guess thats a compliment, too! 

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