One cannot ignore the opening editorial plea by Mike Manley that in the world of declining paper magazine sales that it would help if a few more specialist shops were encouraged to stock ‘Draw!’ to boost sales. He has a point because, no matter how much information there is on the Internet, it doesn’t mean the people, that’s budding artists, who would find this magazine useful are likely to find it. Seeing and looking into a physical copy in a genre shop is still more likely to swing a sale. Mind you, if you can’t do that, but are a fan of comicbook art and like to see the stages of development, then ‘Draw!’ then buy off TwoMorrows Publishing direct and spread the word to those who would find it handy.
A good chunk of this issue is devoted to Manley interviewing comicbook artist Howard Porter. Interview is perhaps to hard a definition as a lot of it is comparing notes as Manley himself comes from the same stock. So you hear a lot of chat on everything from computers and their software to the long unsociable hours for deadlines. Their comments on the use of Manga Studio 5 and its relative cheapness (I pulled a copy off the UK river site for about £20), induced me to have a look at it once I realised it could extend beyond comic art. Although I’ve only briefly looked at Manga Studio 5 as I type this and finding many of the commands are similar to Painter and he might have been using an earlier version, I get the impression that one of the snap commands was on if it was making one of his lines straighter than he wanted.
Don’t think using a computer and a digital pad to draw on doesn’t give you back problems and if comic art is going to be your career, make sure you get a decent comfortable chair and try to take a break at least once an hour to stretch your compressed muscles. They both iterate that a decent night’s sleep will restore you and speed you up the next day. Something that Porter says about his computer crashing occasionally did make me stop to think. Although he uses a Mac, where I use a PC, the one thing he doesn’t give in his description is how much RAM his computer is packing and how many other programs are running which also fills the memory up. On top of that, digital drawing files takes up a lot of memory and might overlap with said programs, hence slowing or crashing, and I suspect a lot of his problems are likely to be tied to that. As the same is likely to apply to other digital comicbook artists, is to literally double the size of the RAM because the software needs space (sic) to manipulate the imagery and would stop the occasional crash. It’s a shame that, at least on a PC, that there isn’t something showing how much RAM, with other computer monitoring as with pre-W10, is in use at any one time.
Jerry Ordway shows how he recreated Detective Comics # 69’s cover using marker pens to create the colour. If nothing else, it’s a strong reminder that it is often the artist not the tools that maketh the picture.
The other big chunk of this issue is devoted to comicbook artist Jamal Igle. As with the Porter interview, it is mostly informal chatter about how he got his career started and a very short deadline and no sleep before his normal job and his current work on ‘Molly Danger’. It’s interesting both Manley and Igle both learnt something from Andrew Loomis’ books. From there, a look at how to get a Kickstarter project done with comics, ensure you have a fan base first before trying this at home. There’s even a discussion about the nature of colour and being seen outside of your apparent community. I do have to say, forgetting Ingle’s name, and no photo here, I would be hard pressed to know what colour he was but then, I go by the final product far more than name.
For those of you who want to improve your artistic skills, we have a masterclass by Bret Blevins showing how to create a cover designs to impress the employer and hence the reader. Always bear in mind that the editor is your client and needs a choice to pick from several choices as to what he or she wants on the cover. Blevins showing how to interpret the idea in a variety of ways should give you food for thought. Although he doesn’t say it, I would also add to this excellent article not to second guess what an editor wants although working out why a particular choice was made over any personal preference you have should understand the reasoning.
If you’re seeking a career in comicbook art or just want to improve your overall skills, then ‘Draw!’ should be on your reading list. There are a lot of tips given and even if you know some of them, being reminded to use them is never something to overlook.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6882. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: http://www.twomorrows.com/ and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=133&products_id=1214