Thursday, January 17, 2008

Finally!


After weeks of frustration, I finally managed to figure out my female protoganist, Dana. As I said, I had what I wanted in my head but as is often the case, there was a disconnect between my brain and my drawing hand. So I did the BAD THING. I found an actress that closely resembled what I was looking for and tracked down a ton of reference photos. And this is the result. I usually hate it when artists use actors as their inspiration for character designs because it's usually so obvious it's distracting. But I was out of options. What amazes me most is how closely the actress resembles the image I had in my mind. The character is actually based (very loosely) on a girl I knew in high school but I only have one yearbook photo of her and, as weird as it sounds, she didn't have the right "look". After several days of running through actresses in my head, I'd pretty much given up on finding the right one. Then, by accident, while looking for something completely unrelated, I stumbled across a bunch of photos of this particular person and the lightbulb went off. She was perfect. Ten points to the first person to guess who the actress is.

I didn't quite finish this sketch to my satisfaction. I was taking advantage of Suzanne's going out with friends downtown. I seem to do my best drawing and writing at my desk at work as I tend to get lazy when I get home. I'd been working on this for about a half hour when she got back, unexpectedly early. So this is as far as I got.

I think the hair is too much. The actress actually has a lot more. But, I feel like the character would have a little less and not quite so...done up. I also didn't quite get the mouth right. She looks a little too mature here as she's supposed to be in her mid-teens. I was especially worried about the nose. I didn't want her to have a cute little button nose that everybody draws. I want her to have some character in her face and part of that includes a more prominent(?) proboscis. Not big, just different. The problem is that photography is more forgiving of this sort of thing. When you're drawing someone, any deviation from the ideal comes across as caricature. But I think I managed to give her the nose I wanted without making her look like Barbara Streisand.

I should have some time tomorrow night for another go at it.

Meantime, I've really been enjoying looking through the ESSENTIAL CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 4 I picked up yesterday. With the exception of a beautiful Alan Weiss fill-in, the entire volume is chock full of Sal Buscema and Frank Robbins art. Buscema has long been my favorite artist. The dependable simplicity of his artwork makes even the most ridiculous story readable. But Robbins has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, I really didn't like his work. I found it grotesque and distracting. But, like "the Kramer", I couldn't take my eyes off it. Those wonky poses and the faces with crazy eyes and Sly Stallone lips...mesmerising. As my palate matured, I gained an appreciation for his work and he's since become one of my absolute favorites. Unfortunately, he was often paired with unsuitable inkers (like the much-maligned Vince Coletta). Which makes two of his issues in this volume such a special treat. In those issues, Robbins actually inked himself and the result is glorious to behold. I could stare at those pages for hours. All those gorgeous, lush inks slathered all over the page...oh, man. Despite the intrusive "corrections" by Art Director (and otherwise terrific artist) John Romita, who redrew a few of Robbins' faces, this volume is emblematic of what I loved about comics in the Seventies. Pick it up if you get the chance. You won't regret it.


UPDATE:

I was robbed! Remember my American Gotham? Check this out:

http://www.cuttergallery.com/

Go to "prints" and click on "Paul Slater".

Just kidding. He probably did his first. Still...damn.

9 comments:

Leaf said...

Eh. Your older stuff was better. Muhahahahaha.

Seriously though, very nice headshot, my friend. She kinda looks like Gina Gershon to me.

May pick up that Cap Essential, if and when I finally get to Velocity. This week has not done me right.

Matt Wieringo said...

Not a bad guess, but nope. Not Gina.

PJ said...

That Allan Weiss issue (featuring Deadly Nightshade’s first appearance) was a standout in my teenage mind because Weiss drew such a beautiful woman. In particular, I remember one panel with Nightshade crying that was just wonderful.

The Sal Buscema run (with Steve Engelhart) on Cap made it my favorite title at that time. That all those issues mysteriously went missing during a move back in the early 80s was a big tragedy back then.

Sal’s work while very blocky worked really well on that title. The story too was quite relevant to the events of the day and the mood of the country. It’s also during a high point in Sal’s career where he was doing a ton of work for Marvel. I always found the combination of Sal’s pencils with Klaus Janson’s inks some of the best work of its day (although they never work on Cap together).

I was thumbing through an Avengers Essential (Vol 3) recently and I was surprised at how many faces I could pull out of the books having been redrawn by John Romita. I know it was a common practice but, I never noticed it when I was reading the books.

I’ve even got this Gene Colan Daredevil page, with a big patch on it where the face was redrawn. I guess it happened to everyone.

I never got into Robbins and truthfully I dropped the title because of him. Looking back at his work, I have a greater appreciation for his storytelling and panel breakdowns but, I still can’t say I’m crazy about the art. It’s not bad, I just don’t think he was suited to superhero comics is all.

renecarol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
emilio said...

Matt-
1st off, I'm glad you were finally able to resolve that frustration and figure out your 'Dana' character.

Drawing looks good.

Looks kinda familiar, but can't quite guess who the actress is.
Of course, if/when you tell us, it'll be like "oh, yeah!"

renecarol said...

I changed my mind. It looks like Mandy Musgrave. Well it looks like her eyes, nose, and mouth. But together it doesn't really look completely like her. Which is why I think it looks 'wrong' in my head. Still too much eye makeup though.

Matt Wieringo said...

Nope. Not Mandy.

McGill said...

LOL...Leaf, I thought the same thing when I saw her...just couldn't think of her name nor the spelling...

That is a nice sketch...how did you come up with that way to draw hair...badasss...

McGill said...

How about Deborah Van Valkenburgh?

I'm a "Warriors" fan, but that sketch looks more "Too Close for Comfort" days...
As a kid, I loved that show...don't ask why(coughlydiacornellcough), but it was my first look at what a pro artist worked with...but we all know Ted just played one, but it was my first look at an artist table...
Rambling, etc...