Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flash Gordon sketch

Well, I shouldn't call it a sketch, but I did it impromptu in a span of 3 hours. Not too bad. I will admit that I am not happy with a couple renderings in the image such as the burst of light from the city, and I find Flash's torso a bit too long.

Beyond that, I am pretty happy with this drawing. I think I nailed the drawing of the Dale Arden (looks like slave Leia), the blacks, and so on. I did this after an urgent need to draw something really cool. By cool, I mean something adventurous, something daring, and something heroic.

Therefore, I read a lot of Flash Gordon. The adventure, the detailed drawings! Then I moved back to Prince Valiant. The adventure, the drawings! At the same time, I've had Indiana Jones stuck in my head. What does this all mean?

I find myself delving deeper into adventure stories recently from Prince Valiant to Flash Gordon and so on. Why? I think that a lot of my work as of late has been introspective and focused on my feelings, trying to be as honest as possible to myself. Although I wish to address my feelings as much as possible, I want to do adventure as well. Why?

These adventure stories are an escape, a fantasy, but most important: FUN! I understand more and more what Bill Watterson was drawing from when Calvin became Spaceman Spiff, Stupendous Man, or many other incarnations. All of these adventures were fun! These old tales of adventure too were never bogged down too by character development or some crazy plot line. It was action, plot-driven fantasy. I want to be these characters.

So I felt the need to draw something adventurous and exciting. And well drawn too. What is very interesting I find is the relationship between American illustration and adventure stories. As far back as Howard Pyle and Treasure Island, there is a tradition of dynamic scenes illustrating these great stories. It then continued into the 20th century. Eventually, Alex Raymond and Hal Foster pick up the reins from the American illustrators and adapt it for comics with Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and later on EC comics.

I believe that the true successors to the American illustrators of old are comic artists. It's a shame though how the stories that I love are somehow lost in translation.

I rambled again. Sketch!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learn to Fly

This is a new sketch or fully done watercolor that I have made for a new picture book idea. I don't know what necessarily prompted my idea, but a yearning to fly has sparked my imagination a bit. As a kid, I always dreamed of seeing a flying car and am still waiting for a flying car to be the standard (yes there are a couple flying car prototypes out there, but nothing actually practical). So this sketch is only the beginning.

In addition, from my trip from the SCBWI Conference in LA this year, one piece of advice that I took away was exploring mood, subtlety in my work. I admit that inner feelings have driven me to use a more subdued tone which is exciting me for some reason. So I paired down my color pallette from 8-10 colors down to 3. The results have been exciting seeing how these new limits have opened up an environment for me and being real selective about which tone, value, and hue. Hope it looks good.