Category Archives: Comics

Framed Perspective, Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Framed Perspective,  Marcos Mateu-Mestre
Just to put things in… context, the history of graphical perspective goes back further, but the system of geometric perspective we use today can be traced to an important point in the beginning of the 15th century, when Filippo Brunelleschi — the brilliant Renaissance architect and designer who solved the seemingly intractable problem of spanning the world’s largest cathedral dome space with an ingenious solution — codified a system of graphical persepctive that was immediately adopted by almost every artist who was made aware of it, and most artists since.

Like his solution for the dome of the Florence cathedral, the model of geometric perspective Brunelleschi demonstrated solved problems that had previously seemed impossibly difficult.

Artists and art students have either been thanking or cursing him ever since, depending on whether they see graphical perspective construction as an an incredibly powerful tool or as a burdensome learning process akin to school studies of math or chemistry.

Linear perspective study can seem difficult when ill-presented, but when taught properly, it can be a golden key to drawing and painting with a strength, solidity, accuracy and realism impossible to achieve without it.

Short of taking a course with a good instructor, those interested in mastering perspective are left to find their own way with books that are too often poorly presented, overly obtuse and almost as boring to look at as a mathematics textbook.

While there are some pretty good perspective books out there, I’ve just received review copies of a new two-volume set on perspective that has shot to the top of my personal list of best books on the subject.

Framed Perspective Vol #1 and Vol #2, are new books from Marcos Mateu-Mestre, a concept artist and illustrator who I have written about previously and whose drawing style I have always found particularly appealing.

As in his previous book: Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers (link to my review), he tackles the the subject within the framework of real world use and practical application.

Also like that book, Mateau-Mestre has not only used real-world type examples to illustrate the concepts, he has also used them to make his books something that perspective books rarely are: visually appealing and entertaining.

Framed Perspective Vol. 1 is subtitled: “Technical Perspective and Visual Storytelling”. In it Mateau-Mestre starts at the ground floor (so to speak) and takes you from the basic concepts through solutions for some reasonably complex challenges, including multiple vanishing points, staircases, three-point perspective, arches and domes, and the application of perspective to freehand sketching.

At over 200 pages, it’s packed with information and techniques and a reality-based approach that stays focused on what’s really useful.

Framed Perspective Vol. 2 is subtitled “Technical Drawing for Shadows, Volume, and Characters”, and deals with the too often neglected subjects of applying shadows in perspective and applying perspective to the human figure, including the representation of clothing and folds, and the application of shadows to figures.

Though not as extensive as Volume 1, this one still weighs in at over 120 pages, and is jammed with useful information, as well as Mateu-Mestre’s wonderful drawings and illustrations.

Throughout both volumes, the illustrations, diagrams, text and book design are clear, concise and well thought out.

Any artist with an interest in comics, graphic storytelling, concept art or illustration — as well as painting and drawing of any kind that involves linear perspective — should look into these superb volumes.

If you’ve found books on perspective daunting and/or boring, Framed Perspective may open your eyes to a world of possibilities for understanding and using one of an artist’s most powerful tools.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Some wise suggestions for artists from Neil Gaiman’s 2012 address to the University of the Arts

Neil Gaiman addressing the graduating class at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2012
For those who are dismayed, as I am, at the recent turn of events, and the likely devastating effect it will have on the state of the arts here in the U.S. (see my before the fact storm warning to that effect), I offer some insightful suggestions about art in the face of adversity from writer Neil Gaiman.

This is a video of his remarks as he addressed the graduating class at the University of the Arts here in Philadelphia in 2012.

He doesn’t really get to the point until about 6 minutes in, but do yourself a favor — set aside 20 minutes, pour yourself a hot (or cold) beverage, relax, and watch the entire address. It’s amusing, well crafted (he’s a good writer), and will leave you feeling better about your course as an artist in troubled times.

It’s also — as it was intended to be — sage advice for those who are starting out on a life in the arts, as well as a reality check for those who are already achieving success in their field.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Jack Davis, 1924-2016

Jack Davis, cartoonist, caricaturist, comics artist illustrator
Cartoonist, caricaturist, comics artist and illustrator illustrator Jack Davis had a pen that connected directly to the funny bone.

Noted for his horror comics work for EC Comics and Warren magazines, his movie posters, TV Guide covers, celebrity caricatures and, in particular, his loopy, wild, frenetic, over-the-top and uncannily hilarious comics and covers for Cracked and MAD Magazine, Davis influenced cartoonists and comics artists across the board.

Davis often left his readers in simultaneous paroxysms of laughter and wide-eyed admiration for his drawing skills, producing contorted reading positions that looked like.. well, like jack Davis illustrations.

Jack Davis died on July 27, 2016 at the age of 92.

The links below are mostly to recent obits and articles. For more links to image resources, see my previous post on Jack Davis.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Free Comic Book Day, 2016

Free Comic Book Day, 2016
Today, May 7, is Free Comic Book Day, 2016!

Participating comic book shops will be giving away a selection of special promotional comic books, designed to introduce new readers both to those individual titles and to the fun of reading comics in general.

Find a local participating shop by zip code on this Store Locator.

The Free Comic Book Day website has more information, including a list of the available titles. Glen Weldon has an overview of the titles on the NPR website. (Not all titles will be available at all shops.)

The comic book shops will be in a kind of “open house” mode, and glad to make recommendations and introductions to the current range of comic book titles and subjects — which you may find surprisingly diverse.

Many shops will be featuring guest artists or writers and having special sales in coordination with the event. Check the individual shops’ websites for details.

I’ll be checking out the free comics at my personal favorite comic book (and other book) shop, Between Books, in Claymont, DE.

For more of my descriptions of the event, see some of my previous years’ posts on Free Comic Book Day.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Mark A. Nelson

Mark A. Nelson
Mark A. Nelson is an illustrator, comics artist, concept artist and art director. He has worked for Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Kitchen Sink Press, Wizards of the Coast, TSR and many other publishers, as well as gaming and visual development companies like Raven Software, Sega Games and Pure Imagination Studios.

Nelson has a graphic style, largely in pen and ink, that emphasizes beautifully effective line work and linear textures. In addition to his confident drawing style, the linear character of his work gives it a particular visual appeal that owes much, I think, to his background as a printmaker. The lines are controlled, emphasized and varied in weight in a way that gives the renderings a wonderful surface character.

Many of the pieces on his website appear to be for personal projects, or just the fun of sketching — and they are a treat. Nelson seems to have a endless array of imaginative creatures, drawn from a fascination with natural forms.

I particularly enjoy his ink drawings on toned paper, which are highlighted with what I take to be touches of white chalk or pastel, and perhaps gouache. Nelson also works in color, and you can sometimes find the same piece in both a monochrome and later color stage.

You can also find his work on his deviantART gallery.
There is a short video interview with the artist on YouTube.

There are several print collections of Nelson’s work available from his website store.

Nelson is married to painter and illustrator Anita C. Nelson; they share the Grazing Dinosaur Press studio and website.

[Note: some of the images on the linked sites should be considered NSFW.]

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

10 years of Lines and Colors

10 years of Lines and Colors
Today marks the 10th anniversary of my first post on Lines and Colors, on August 22, 2005.

My initial intention for the blog — which you can read more about here — is still basically the same: to introduce my readers to wonderful art and artists that they may not be familiar with, or to point out something of interest about more well-known artists.

The artwork I feature is in a broad variety of genres, but tied together by two common factors — I personally like it, and it’s more or less within the traditions of representational realism. Other than that, as I’ve always said in the blog’s capsule description, if it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

You can see some of the range of genres in the “Categories” listing in the left hand column, and below that, in the “Archives”, you can still read all of the posts I’ve added over the past ten years. (Well, almost all — I still need to restore about 10 posts from July of 2013 that were “misplaced” when I moved the blog from one server to another — it’s constantly a work in progress.)

My most popular single post to date, at least in terms of response and comments, has been “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web“.

The images I’ve selected above are meant as a small sampling of what you may find in the archives.

It has always been my hope that those interested in a particular genre of art — like traditional painting, plein air, art history, comics, concept art, fantasy art or illustration — would be drawn to Lines and Colors to pursue their area of interest, and through it discover wonderful art in other genres that they may not have sought out or encountered otherwise. I see that aspect of what I’m doing as an attempt to gently counter the ever-increasing fragmentation of art interests on the web.

In the 10 years since writing my first article for Lines and Colors, the resources for art images on the internet have expanded dramatically, most notably in the form of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and the Rijksmuseum, posting high-resolution images from their collections online; the appearance of remarkable resources like the Google Art Project; and new online destinations for illustration, comics and concept art.

Originally, my posts were short, and the images single and small, and I actually worried that I would run out of “favorite artists” to write about. Today, after more than 3,400 posts (not quite a post a day for ten years, but pretty close), I have an ever-growing list of potential topics to get to — that may actually be longer than the list of already written ones.

There’s more to come!

-Charley

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin