Sometimes I get "burned out" looking at some of today's comic art. it seems that nowadays (especially in US comics), it's either you draw as "photo-realistically" as possible or draw in manga-ish style (oooooohhhh.... now I'm gonna get it).
It's the photo-realistic thing that I'm gonna rant about...
Don't get me wrong. I'm still amazed by guys who draw in this style... John Cassaday, Daniel Acuña, Steve McNiven (to name a few). But sometimes I yearn for simple yet reliable art. Stuff like what Curt Swan used to do. Or Paul Ryan. These guys didn't have splashy visuals. But their storytelling is so clear that they didn't (or don't) need to resort to double-page spreads or extreme pin-up shots. Their panels didn't even need to show too much detail. Just telling a straightforward story was good enough.
Which brings me to something else I wanted to rant about. I think the problem nowadays with most comic artists (pencillers in particular) is that they pour (or would that be "pore?") over too much detail and precision into their pages that it takes them too much time to finish one. I remember reading an interview with Brian Bolland wherein he states that when he was pencilling CAMELOT 3000 back in the 80s, he was inking with his pencil. He tried to dominate the look of the art too much that essentially he was dominating the inker, which took him too long, so that the latter issues came out late.
I think it defeats the purpose of having an inker in the first place. That's why American comics developed the "assembly-line" of making comics before, to make it faster. So much time is saved by having two different people working on the art.
Well, nowadays, we have what some people term digital inking, wherein pencil pages are scanned then cleaned up on the computer. But then again, in order for the clean-up to be not too time-consuming, the pencils have to be as detailed as possible, essentially having the penciller go over his pencils a second time to "ink" with his pencil.
For example, take a look at John Byrne's pencils. They're kinda rough, but just enough information is given that in the hands of a competent inker, the page will come out great. Even Gil Kane pencilled roughly. Take John Romita, Jr., for example. He can pencil two books (at the least) every month and never fall behind schedule. He doesn't obsess on every little detail. But he's still one of today's kick@$$ artists.
On a side note, one of my favorite inkers is Kevin Nowlan. He injects his own style when he inks somebody else, but enough of the penciller's style comes through the art that you still recognize who did the pencils.
You know who's the most amazing penciller of all? Mark Bagley. Man, that guy stays on schedule no matter what. And his art is so full of energy.
Sigh. I've gotta admit, I've fallen into the trap of making my art photo-realistic, too. Lately I've been so obsessed about it that I spend too much time looking for photo references before I draw. Like this pin-up here, for example...
The Paranormals © copyright Carlo Borromeo and Reno Maniquis.
That's why for the PROJECT HERO thing I'm doing for Vin Simbulan, I'm trying to get back to basics. No photo reference, except for backgrounds and other everyday objects. Wish me luck!
Man, this post just went on and on and even I don't know what the single thought behind it was. Must be tired...