Added 1 new A* page:
Remember that I'm rolling out the A* subscription and e-book stuff this weekend, which involves quite a few changes to the sorta back-endish stuff on the site, so if you stop by Saturday or Sunday and things are a little weird, that's just...the magic happening. >_> I'll definitely have it all sorted out and running smoothly by Monday! Check out the new stuff once it's up--there will be "episodes & e-books" and "subscriber" links in the site's top menu. I hope you'll like it!
I had a purpose with today's warmup drawings, which was figuring out if I wanted to have the doctor facing us for page 49, or turned somehow; and, if facing, whether she should be kind of enthused or gloating a bit, or not:
The left one with her having her head turned to the left, and we're seeing her from behind mostly in shadow, seemed like the way to go, although I kept trying a few more front-facing options just to make sure.
When I started drawing the full-size page, starting with the border of the top of her head, I realized I'd drawn it way too zoomed-in to fit in her chin, to say nothing of her shoulders, but...that seemed to work out anyway. It wasn't until the page was all done and I was going to clean off my brushes and jars that I realized I hadn't even used any white ink (to fix stuff, generally ;)--first time that's happened in a while!
The Comics Journal printed a very long interview with illustrator Frank Frazetta in 1994; they've reproduced it online right here
, and if you're at all interested in Frazetta as an artist, or even just the art of illustration in the period in which he worked, which started in the '40s and went right up to his death in 2010--although health problems did slow his output significantly in recent decades--then I think you'll find it an interesting read; I realize now I've seen passages of it quoted in a lot of things, like the Frazetta art books I have, but I'd never seen the whole (huge) thing, and it sure covers a lot of ground: his early days as a staff cartoonist on Li'l Abner, his street tough days in Brooklyn, his admiration of the work of Jack Kirby and Richard Nixon, and...just about everything else. Frazetta certainly drinks his own Kool-Aid to an extent, but the guy was a deserving rock star of illustration, and his uncompromising views certainly make for an interesting interview.
There's the famous story (told by him, I mean) of how he was told to learn anatomy, and given two books on the subject to study, and he brought them back the next day, saying he didn't need them anymore--he'd copied every drawing in them overnight. That sounds like a stretch but there's no doubting that he learned his anatomy, so who's to say he *didn't* copy them completely in one evening? One of the books was George Bridgeman's Constructive Anatomy,
which seems to have been copied all over the internet--there's a pretty good .pdf version you can download here
, for instance. I like it! You can certainly see where some of Frazetta's craggy physicality came from in the rugged drawings of arm and leg muscles, in particular.
Bridgeman isn't big on some areas in that volume, like faces, but the other one, Victor Perard's Anatomy and Drawing,
covers a lot of areas Bridgeman doesn't. That book doesn't seem to be quite as public domain-y as Bridgeman's, so it's a bit harder to find, but here's one online version
. I'm not as keen on the less dynamic style, but it is clearer on things like the skeleton, and a more moderate type of figure.
Around page 3 of the interview, Frazetta gets to talking about his favorite illustrators, and Hal Foster
of Prince Valiant
is high on his list. Now, I saw plenty of Prince Valiant
in the Sunday funnies as a kid, and was never really impressed, but that wasn't Foster's work--he stopped drawing it in 1975 due to arthritis (he'd started it in '37!!). So I had to look up some of his work, of course, and it really is beautiful--such elegant linework and detail. There's a gallery with some pretty detailed scans of his work (aside from the silly artificial paper texture under them; click on the thumbnails to zoom in) over here
Oh and I found some great photos of Foster at work. He worked huge! It's a *single strip* he's working over here
. :O Man I wish I had a scanner or whatever that large so I would work that big. Here's
a closer view of him drawing, using a model ship as reference, and here's
a nice (almost certainly staged :D) shot of an older Foster kicking back, another huge strip complete on his drawing board.
I did find it interesting though that Frazetta rated Foster's work as more dynamic than Alex Raymond of Flash Gordon
fame--I wonder how much Frazetta was thinking of Raymond's Flash
artwork--which did focus more on pretty curving lines than really strong impact action--vs Raymond's later Rip Kirby
strip, which for my money exhibits some of the most stylish and powerful strip artwork ever created; check out the Rip
panel reproduced a few paragraphs down this page
, for instance. Stupendous! (And coincidentally, the head isn't all that dissimilar to the layout I needed for today's A* page! I came across it after I'd done the warmups, but before I did the final page.)
As for Frazetta's own work, there's a nice gallery here
that shows a lot of the stuff he did, not just his later Conan paintings; personally I much prefer his earlier ink and watercolor work; just check out the rendering of the women's knees under the table in the top middle illustration for "The Night They Raided Minsky's" on that page, for instance--now that's the stuff! Frazetta was really, really good as an inker; it's interesting, for instance, to see him ink someone else's work, as he did over Al Williamson's pencils in this
"Space Heroes" plate, for instance; note the big brushy passage under the guy's arm, and the inky splashes on the right and left sides of the drawing. Neat! In the interview, Frazetta even says that he did let his inking deteriorate a bit through disuse in later years, as he focused more on higher-pay painting; he mentions this
1955 Buck Rogers cover for Weird Science
magazine, issue 29, as the pinnacle of his inking technique--it isn't really my favorite of his stuff by a long shot, but it's certainly a tour-de-force of inking.
At another point in the interview he's talking about drawing muscles, and what makes a figure look powerful--how it's more triceps than biceps, for instance, and keeping the muscles tight and compact, rather than blown out like body builders. His A Fighting Man of Mars
ink wash is certainly a prime example of those ideas in action! I've linked that one before, but I just like it. :)