Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Art of William Stout

Many years ago, back in the late Seventies, I discovered the artwork of Bill Stout, probably in the Underground Comics of the time and I have followed his career ever since.

Fantastic Worlds, is a magnificent feat of publishing and I applaud the publisher and the book's designer, for making it such a beautiful object.

Here in the Great White North, it should have cost me $101 Canadian but thanks to Dobi, the owner / operator of Thunderstruck Books (formerly known as The Labyrinth, Toronto),
I also got my Club Rewards Dollars off that price and only paid $62!  I was over the moon.

It was an expensive day in town, for me but since my book buying trips have become a whole lot less frequent lately, it isn't surprising.

My weekly comic book buying habit, began around 1971 and I have managed to remain a dedicated comic book fan, ever since but lately, after almost fifty years, it has, rather suddenly, become less important to me and I can finally see, that an end to my obsession is near.

Modern comic books, just don't grab my attention, in the way that those issues from the late Sixties did and with the exception of the new Strangers in Paradise XXV, 
I don't buy a monthly comic book anymore 
and now, I have just learned that that series is only ten issues long, so in two more issues...

At that point, a decision will have to be made, I think and who knows, perhaps 2019 will be the year that I finally grow up and leave the world of comic books behind
I doubt it!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Jay Fosgitt and his Dead Duck

Many moons ago, I ran across the web site of Jay Fosgitt and his creations, Dead Duck & Zombie Chick!

Jay's cartoon style is captivating and he has been working on it since he was very young, when he was a devotee of Jim Henson and his Muppets.

Although he found an initial audience through his web comics, he was discovered by IDW, the publishers of My Little Pony and other titles.  Since then, he has been employed by Ape Entertainment, Boom, archie Comics and Marvel.

As you can see here:

Follow the link and have some fun!

I have always had a soft spot for good cartoonists and those who can write well too, so this guy is like catnip to me!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Vaughn Bode and Cartooning

Had he managed to escape the fate that befell him, Vaughn Bode would be Seventy Seven years old!

That just doesn't compute but in a time, when even the seemingly immortal Stan Lee eventually fell to the reaper and it has been seven long years, since Jeffrey Catherine Jones left us, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised!

Vaughn was a wonderful cartoonist and I have been studying his works for the past forty plus years.

Here is an example of the type of dissecting that I do:

I hope, that in some small way, I can be of help, to other students of cartooning and perhaps speed up their own understanding, of this very special area of the graphic arts. 

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Zelazny Illustrated by Vaughn Bode

Roger Zelazny is a writer, whose prose style I find very hard to read.

I find the works of Ray Bradbury to be of the same, almost poetic slant.

I like my writers to be a little less fey and a bit more concrete but hat does not mean that I have any less regard for the contributions that Bradbury and Zelazny made to the Science Fiction & Fantasy genre.

Hey, while we are on the subject, I had high hopes that I would be able to read Ursula K. Le Guin's, Earthsea cycle of stories, 
especially since they are now available in a single, HUGE volume that has been illustrated by Charles Vess.

Unfortunately, even with the assistance of Mr. Vess' artwork, I still find that it is an up hill slog, for me to read the prose!

My loss, I am sure.

Getting back to the seed that produced this posting...

The late, great Vaughn Bode, illustrated a couple of slim volumes, written by Roger Zelazny, that were eventually published by Donald M. Grant.

They were the the children's stories, 
Here There Be Dragons and Way Up High,
originally published in 1992 and then republished in 2016.

Vaughn Bode was a complex individual, who managed to draw his illustrations and comic strips, in a wonderfully cartoony manner.

Here is a taste of the art that he produced, commissioned by Zelazny himself, to illustrate the stories.

I don't own either book and I have never actually seen a copy.

If I had, I would probably have bought them, since I have an abiding fascination with the art works of Vaughn Bode.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Cartooning and Distortion in Comic Book Drawing

The panel above, illustrates a certain pet peeve of mine and that is 
the misaligning of facial features within the outline of the human head.

The panel was drawn by Daniel Boultwood, a British cartoonist and comes from his comic book 
"It Came!"

One of my all time favourite comic book makers, 
Paul Grist, who is also British, 
has often done something similar 
but without shifting the centre line of the face 
towards the revealed ear.

In Grist's case, it is more in the way he draws a turned head as a "U" shape, but with the side of the face that is turned away from the  camera, being flattened. 
Usually, His alignment, for the facial features, is pretty good.

See what I mean?

It is a subtle difference but a significant one, from my point of view.

I guess that to me, Paul Grist is employing a form of shorthand, in his describing a face,  where as Daniel Boultwood willfully distorts the description he is making, for no good reason.

My biggest criticism of the way Paul Grist draws faces, would be that they are always incredibly long!  The accepted, 
normal proportions, where the length of the nose is roughly the same as that of the ear, from lobe to tip, are also ignored but somehow that never seems to jar my viewing pleasure.

Almost the last thing, that Paul Grist had published, came out a few years ago, in 2000 AD and it was great.

For those of you who overlooked it, Demon Nic, is well worth the trouble of tracking it down.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Vaughn Bode and Cartooning Techniques

I am falling further and further behind, in my commitment to posting regularly on this Blog
and I apologize for my tardiness...
as much to myself, as to any of my supposed readers.

I annotated this page of Vaughn Bode's Cheech Wizard and I thought that perhaps my thoughts, on how he constructed the page & panels, would be of interest to other students of cartooning.

One of the biggest hurdles, that anyone who is trying to teach themselves how to draw cartoons has to get over, is the idea that composition "just happens".

Composition never just happens, it is always the product of thought and consideration that results, hopefully, in a compelling image, or images, that clearly communicate the intent of the artist.

It is hard to believe that Vaughn Bode has been dead for 43 years and that he was only 34 years old, when he died.

Everything that I have read about him, over the years, has confirmed that he was a complicated person and he could be quite abrasive.  Regardless, every time I revisit Cheech Wizard and the world that Vaughn created for those adventures, I am seventeen again and laughing, with tears streaming down my cheeks.... Howling with laughter at Cheech's Time Distortion Trick!

Thank you Mister Bode, for all the laughter.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

A new to me, Jeff Jones book cover

I have been an unabashed fan of Jeff Jones' 
artwork, ever since I ran across it, as a thirteen, or so, year old, 
and I fell in love with the images of the women that he drew and painted.

Way back then, I had no idea, that he was already having doubts about his gender and perhaps that played into the very sympathetic renditions, that he made of lovely young maidens.

The fact that he never really found the peace that he was searching for is tragic, in the only sense of the word that works for me and that he seems to have died, unsure that his life choices had been the right ones.

The artwork is still lovely to look at though and I thank him for all of the hours of contented enjoyment his works have given me.

Star Barbarians, 
Dave Van Arnam

is a cover by Jeff, that I am fairly confident, that I have never seen before and given that I have been collecting his book covers for about forty years... that is pretty remarkable.

I would lay good money, on the chance that this painting is based on a photograph, from an issue of National Geographic.
Not that I can prove it but it just "feels" that way to me.