Illustrator Reacts to Good and Bad Comic Book Art 4


Watching him work is both incredibly
mesmerizing… but also a bit infuriating at the same time. He’s such an incredible
artist, but all of his female characters have the exact same face. Stjepan Sejic,
Stjepan… Sejic, okay I think I got it. If you’ve never seen an episode of
‘Illustrator reacts to good and bad comic art’ I’ll leave a link to the playlist in
the description, but basically my name is Christian Pierson, I’ve been a
professional illustrator and animator for about seven years now, and basically,
in this series, I look at some art work from some top-tier industry
professionals and I talk about their process and break down what’s going
right in some of their best art and occasionally what’s going not so right
in some of their less-than-stellar work. Though, admittedly, even when I look at
some of the less than stellar stuff I’m usually defending the artists and what
they’ve done in the piece because these are all artists that are doing thousands
of drawings a year and you can’t do that without doing the occasional dud cover
or panel… unless maybe you’re this first artist who seems to do absolutely
nothing wrong ever somehow. When I look at anything Kim Jung Gi has done, the
first thing to come to my mind is just the term ‘chaotic masterpiece.’ It’s like
every single section you zoom into there’s some new event happening that
you didn’t see earlier. I love how he separated the background buildings by
doing them in a lighter washed ink and then in the foreground slash I guess
middle distance we’ve got these two characters in the middle about to clash
and you can really feel that the two sides of this battle are just about to
collide. And this piece specifically admittedly wasn’t actually comic book
work he did, it was a collaboration he did with Blizzard for World of Warcraft
but he has done lots of work for Marvel and DC and pretty much any company that
has anything to do with art wants Kim Jung Gi doing stuff for them because
he’s just such a mind-blowing artist. And a large part of that is his process
because he doesn’t do any rough drawings or construction lines. Most artists when
they’re working and starting out with a piece
they’ll start with some rougher shapes to kind of block out the pose of the
character and the composition of the image so they can decide okay I like the
layout of this image and then they’ll start building the details on top maybe
erase things out a little bit but Kim Jung Gi just starts right into inking. He
just puts pen to paper and starts and he’s using inks right off the bat so he
can’t erase anything and while he’ll sometimes say ‘oh I made a mistake here
or here’ almost nothing in his work ever actually looks like a mistake. And he’s
making these images that are so epic and huge and have so many characters and he
doesn’t have to do any layout work to start he just jumps into it. As an
illustrator myself watching him work is both incredibly mesmerizing but also a
bit infuriating at the same time because a lot of the time the appeal of watching
other artists work is you can see their process you can kind of see what they’re
thinking and learn from it, but with Kim Jung Gi, I can’t really learn that much
from watching him work because I have no idea what he’s thinking. It’s like he’s
some kind of crazy art printing machine. If there is an art god it’s probably Kim
Jun Gi. It’s so exaggerated and aggressive looking. Everything in Joe Madureira’s work
will be pushed to its limits. If you’ve got a character like Venom or the Hulk
who’s supposed to be big he’ll, make them huge. If you’ve got a character that’s
supposed to be buff and bulky he’ll make them as shredded and muscular as he can.
His style of anatomy is just it’s so cool-looking. Subjective, I know, I’m sorry,
but another thing that I really love about his work is how he’ll frame things
in his images. Even in this piece, Black Panther is framed inside Venom’s body.
Also mad props to the colourist on this piece Christian Lichtner for managing to
make a character that is predominantly all black stand
out against another character that is pretty generally drawn all black
themselves. He made him a bit more blue and used that sort of red lighting
around Black Panther to help him pop out. looking at Joe Madureira’s work on
Avenging Spider-man; he’ll use a monster’s mouth to frame characters or a
shockwave or even the ring of dying seagulls. And then also, a lot of his work
will have kind of a section of chaos, chaos, chaos… and then the main focus of
the image will be framed by a section of just textured background or kind of just
nothing. He’s really good at getting you to focus on the things that he wants you
to focus on which is an easy thing to overlook in his work because a lot of
the time when I’m even looking at his work I’m just going, “Oh, the way you do
anatomy is so cool!’ and Joe Madureira doesn’t actually do that much comic-book
work anymore, if at all, he’s actually moved on to working predominantly in
video games. He did a bunch of work on designs for the video game Darksiders
and a lot of his work on that’s really cool looking. And, more recently, he
actually co-created a video game called Battle Chasers based off an old, original
comic of his from I think the 90s. And I I mean, I would love if he came back to
working in comics, but a lot of the stuff he’s doing in video games is really
awesome looking, I recommend checking it out. Stjepan Sejic, Stjepan Sejic ( Pronounced: Styapun Shayitch) okay I think I got it. I never had to say his name out loud
before and just from looking at the spelling I never would have figured out.
His style is so unique it almost looks like he’s a concept artist more so than
a comic book artist. The things about his work that I personally think stand out
the most are how he uses texture, the way he does expressions and how he draws his
female characters. That’s something I really like about his work. A lot of
comic book artists will lean more into the sexuality of the female characters
instead of making them look like superheroes who are ready for a fight
and step … sorry Stjepan Sejic absolutely dress
female characters as if they mean business. They’re ready for a scrap. But
what was really cool about his work is, I actually like looking at a lot of his
rough work more so than his finished stuff. A lot of his tests are where he’s
just warming up that he’s posted online it’s just all so cool looking. He
has such a unique way of doing his rough drawings that I think is just really
nice. The thing that caught me most about this one is this creature in the
background the detailing and the sort of moist texture on its teeth and
lips and that in contrast to the texture of Aquaman scales and Aquaman’s facial
hair. I think this image really does a good job showing off how Stjepan Sejic
does textures. I have so much respect for this Spider-man art.
Todd McFarlane has influenced the way that Spiderman looks and moves more than
anyone, besides obviously Stan Lee and Steve Ditko who created him in the 60s.
But when Todd McFarlane took on Spider-man in 1988 he totally changed
the dynamism of Spider-man’s poses. Before that, this is kind of how
Spider-man was drawn. He still moved in a pretty dynamic, interesting way because
web-swinging is different from how any other comic character moves, but Todd
McFarlane took the idea that Spider-man’s bones are supposed to be
more elastic he and he’s supposed to be very flexible and he just pushed it to
its limits. He made Spider-man bend and twist in
impossible ways but it works so well for a character like Spider-man because he’s
supposed to be able to move in impossible ways. And he also did other
things like he changed how Spider-man’s webbing looked, both in terms of the
webbing on the suit and the webbing that Spiderman shoot. The webbing that he
shoots became very crazy and spaghetti gangly and I that’s one of the parts of
his art that I love the most. And then in terms of the webbing on the suit he made
it much more detailed and… just a lot more webbing. My personal taste… I don’t
love how MacFarlane draws Spider-man just because I personally like slightly
cartoony art and when more detailing is done in the colouring stage than in the
inking and McFarlane’s Spider-man work is very Ink heavy, but again that’s
purely personal taste, not a comment on the quality because I am so happy with
what McFarlane did for Spider-man in the 80s. And for anyone that doesn’t know
Todd McFarlane’s work, he’s done a lot of other big stuff in comics. He co-created
venom and he created Spawn who’s arguably the most famous Image Comics
character. He doesn’t do that much comic book art anymore. Now-a-days, he’s actually
in the process right now of directing a Spawn movie. There was one in the 90s that
personally I haven’t seen I’ve heard mixed things about it, but it’s cool that the
actual creator of the character is going to be directing the movie. Although I
don’t think he’s ever directed a movie before so who knows how that could go.
Also Todd McFarlane Canadian-born. Alright, the next artist we’re gonna talk
about… it’s gonna be a little bit weirder because this is an artist that I
personally really, really love, but I’m going to talk specifically about a
problem with their work. And it’s something that a lot of artists, even
big-name professionals, can struggle with and that’s a thing called ‘Same Face.’ J Scott Campbell has so much incredible
artwork. I personally love so many of his covers and there are so many things to
praise about his work. But one thing that’s very easy to spot when looking at
any of his covers with multiple female characters is that they all have the
exact same face. And this Mighty Avengers cover is a good example because besides
the hair and the color of the skin all of the characters have the same face
just looking in a different direction. They all have the sort of ski slope nose,
same head shape, same sort of lips and mouth, same sort of teeth even their eyes
all are a bit bigger and have that kind of black eyeliner on them. And he’s
actually managed to make it sort of his brand a lot of people love how he draws
his female characters. I mean, it is very visually appealing. it’s almost like he’s
drawing his own original character in the cosplay of other famous comic book
characters and people love it and they want to see it, but he also doesn’t do
very much interior comic-book work anymore.
Most of the stuff he does is things like variant covers and posters. A lot of
aspiring comic book artists and illustrators will try replicating the
work of artists that they really love and a lot of people including myself
love J Scott Campbell’s work, but aspiring artists shouldn’t take the
lesson away from his work that it’s okay to draw all of your characters with the
same face and same body shape because, especially if you’re looking to do
interiors, that is going to be very confusing from a storytelling standpoint.
Especially when you cut to a close-up of a character it’ll likely be very
difficult for your audience to tell who’s who if all your characters have
the same face. But I can’t talk about J Scott Campbell and not go over one of my
favourite covers of his, which was pretty recent. It was a variant cover he did for
the 300th issue of Spawn. This is another one where I love the use of framing in
it because, not only is the stonework and the stained glass window framing Spawn
and bringing us down to him, but even his cape; that crazy red swirling cape that
Spawn always has, is being used and sort of doing that toilet bowl effect that I
mentioned and twirling us in down towards the main focus the main
character it’s just so cool-looking. So, again, I want to make sure to
emphasize I think J Scott Campbell is an incredible artist,
but just because drawing the same face and same body shape over and over and
over again has worked out for him does not mean it’s gonna work out for you. Now
I realize there’s not really much quote unquote “bad comic art” in this episode so
to make sure I’m not lying him title and people get their fix, here’s a really
weird drawing of Ms. Marvel that J Scott Campbell did a while back for an
Avengers vs. X-men cover that I’ve always found it a bit odd looking and out of
character for him. Ms Marvel’s got kind of a weirdly long neck and her chin
and jaw are doing something a little bit weird and her body is a little bit more
twisted then he’ll usually do. But what can you say, even the best will do some weird
images now and then. Let’s go back to talking about some really great stuff. This art is just so soothing and calming
to look at. The way he does landscapes and environments is just gorgeous.
It’s very easy for a lot of comic artists to get hung up specifically on
how they draw characters and not work that much on environment so when I see
an artist that’s just this fantastic at rendering out landscapes it’s just so
impressive to see. Now I’m not super familiar with Takehiko Inoue’s work.
I haven’t read Vagabond before but I’ve been recommended it by so many people
and I get it now. It’s so detailed and it’s got this realism to it that is just
so much more impressive when you think about the fact that he’s using just inks
and I watched this interview where he was talking about how he really likes
using a brush pen because he likes how unpredictable it can be which is just
crazy to think about because looking at all of this it all looks so deliberate.
This image specifically I love because
it’s so detailed and there’s crashing water against these rocks that all have
lots of texture to them going up to a character that’s pretty detailed himself
but surrounded by just blank white. And he feels so serene in in an image that
has so much detail and busyness below it but that character just sitting on his
own with all the calm space around him… I, to be honest before I started recording
I just sat here staring at this one. It almost feels like meditating looking at
a lot of his work and from what I’ve looked at there’s a lot of really
fantastic looking battle sequences in this series but I was just so drawn to
these calm beautiful landscape and environment shots. I remember the first
time I saw Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth’s art. It was in the story
‘The Wake’ which was written by Scott Snyder (not Zack Snyder) and is fantastic both for the
writing and the art and I just fell in love with it so much. It was the first
super stylized art that I really fell in love with in comics. And these two paired
together… their skills and style complement each other so perfectly.
They’re one of the best pairings I’ve seen in the comic book industry. Sean
Murphy’s art is very streaky and has textured inks and his characters are
very angular and Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are have this watercolor
texture to them and they’re… a lot of the time they’re very desaturated and using a limited color range. But then other times he’ll just go full blown vibrant and
somehow it just always works with Murphy’s art. They’re just so in sync
artistically. They’re currently working on a sequel to Batman White Knight and they
worked on a series that Mark Miller wrote called Chrononauts, which I hadn’t
actually heard of before this, but I’m gonna have to go read it now. But, anyway,
something I’ve noticed specifically about Sean Murphy’s art, that I just noticed
while I was looking at stuff for this video, is he really likes these big
pillars of black in his image and he likes his work to be
very vertical. Like your eye is going down through the image and I
specifically love that in this art of Gordon which you can see the colors…
there’s just this really vibrant dark red to it and I love that
Hollingsworth’s done this this colored streak of smoke cutting through the
black so it’s not too plain there’s some extra texture to it. And then you’ll see,
I assume this was Sean Murphy, around the bat-signal
there’s a texture in this ink that’s supposed to be like I guess a bit of a
cloud or something, that looks like he just pressed his thumb or fingerprint
into it. And that’s just such a cool weird thing
to see an art like this. These two really are just a stylistic dynamic duo. If you
want a place to jump in on their work I highly recommend ‘The Wake.’ I’ve loved a
lot of their stuff, but that one, the story, the art… fantastic! All right
everybody that’s all for this episode, I’m really sorry I haven’t talked about
Junji Ito or Frank Miller yet, both of those artists are very fascinating
individuals and I want to do more research on them before I actually talk
about them, but anyway, if you’ve got more artists you’d like to recommend please
leave them in the comments. If you haven’t seen the other episodes go back
and check those out. These are so much fun for me to make I put one I would
every two weeks and be sure to check out a whole bunch of my other art,
illustration, tutorial, animation videos, all that kind of fun stuff. And besides
that thank you all so much for watching I’m Christian Pearson this is PopCross
Studios; home of the nerdiest art videos on YouTube and I will see you all on the
next one. Videos on Saturdays and Monday’s by the way, okay everybody good
bye!

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