Monday, January 01, 2007

Then and Now

My dear mom was cleaning out the cabinets in my sister's room, and found a trove of old art from yours truly. It's amazing to see how much I've evolved, for better or worse.

Take this page, for instance, from a four-page sequential sample I made for DC, sent out in 2003 (click the image to enlarge). I used the script of Neil Gaiman's Calliope, included in one of the Sandman trades, so those who've read that story might find something familiar in what I did. Yes, I harbored a fantasy of doing something for Vertigo, even if my style was screaming pop.

This is one of the few times I've tried to make my pencils as tight as possible, paying attention to both the visual requirements and the possible placement of balloons and captions. I was particularly happy with the sample, but I guess DC didn't find it good enough.

Rewind to 2000. Before I published One Night In Purgatory, I was toying with a story that involved superheroes, a murder mystery, homosexuality, personal drama and political intrigue. Idolatry was supposed to have been my first graphic novel--I even had a nice tagline, something like "Question your Faith"--but I shelved the project for good because it was far too ambitious for whatever storytelling skills I had at the time.

The page shown shows a tussle between the good guys and the bad guys, with the central character--a male prostitute--witnessing the chaos. (We really gotta have a male prostitute in there somehow.) Notice how my artwork didn't have a lot of depth, which I tried to compensate by using highly contrasting countour lines to define the shapes. Looking at this piece now, I realize that despite how clean the page looks, it still looks flat.

But if you want a solid representation of flatness in comic art, check out my 1993 debut. Flashpoint was backed by a major company and sold in the few bookstores that the company owned. (I won't mention the name of the company to protect their reputation.) During that time, three years after I graduated college, Image-style art was in vogue, and I was getting into the art of Adam Hughes. So there's some sort of hybrid going on that was still pretty raw. Computer coloring then was a luxury, hence the poorly-coordinated watercolors.

It took me a while to find my "voice" in terms of art, and I think my lack of formal education and constant training lent to the lag. Until now, my style is still influenced by my mood. Maybe that's a good thing, in that my work looks raw and natural. But if I still want to get into the major US companies, I might need another decade to meet their standards.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I have most (if not all) issues of "Flashpoint" and I was thinking of reviving it as a web manga of sorts. :)

Tobie said...

Thanks to your comics, I got you as a friend. :-)

Tobie said...

Thanks to your comics, I got you as a friend. :-)


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