So I asked a few friends of mine, mostly people I’ve collaborated with, to send me a single image and a short bit of text about one thing that inspires them. It’s a simple question, but I think gives an interesting peek inside how artist’s see the world:
(artist on Lucifer, Giant Robot Warriors, Local, and our upcoming The New York Four)
click to see bigger
“Picture of Our Naval Forces in the Yellow Sea Firing at and Sinking Chinese Warships”
Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1894
Some of the most influential work for me has been the the Japenese Woodblock prints documenting the events of The Sino-Japanese War (1894-95)and The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). They excell at depicting high-intensity battlefield pandemonium that has inspired the controlled chaos I try to achieve in my own work
One of the best artists at this time, Kobayashi Kiyochika did this awe-inspiring print of a sinking Chinese cruiser plunging to the bottom of the ocean taking the drowning sailers with it.
“Throwing Off Asia”…
“Kiyochika’s doomed vessel is already underwater, plunging to the bottom with tiny drowned figures floating suspended in the brine. Standing in almost giddy contrast to this is a startling depiction of sailors cheering the sinking of a Chinese warship on the deck of their small torpedo boat. Amid turbulent waves, they are already drinking in celebration and obviously getting sloshed in more ways than one.”
(artist of Teenagers From Mars, Repo, Filler, Dead West, our The Couriers series, and more)
This is a page from Daredevil #232 by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. This page really struck me as a child, because it’s quiet and over-the-top intense at the same time. This page, along with the whole “Born Again” storyline, really changed the way I looked at comics. It showed me that you could do a mainstream superhero comic and not have to be guys beating on each other while wearing spandex. The coloring on this page is really great too, simple and vivid.
(artist on American Virgin, Dracula, East Coast Rising, and our Jennie One and Demo)
Franklin Booth was a master of composition and control, doing with a pen what others did with scratchboard. Just looking at his work makes me want to dive into my bottle of ink.
(artist on Northlanders)
Ok , My reference past and now, in order, from left to right:
- Mignola and his Hellboy
- Hayao Miyazaki specially Mononoke pricess
- Benoit Springer , a French artist
- Alberto Breccia
- Andrea Pazienza , a Italian artist
- Calvin and hobbes
- Corrado Mastantuono , another Italian artist
- Kiss, rock and roll
- Aftherhours , Italian Indy band
- uncle Stephen
- J.R. Landsdale
-Alien , Blade Runner and the shi -fi 80th
And again again again…
Because in my 30 years old, they have accompanied me, always.
(commercial illustrator, also drawn some Batman, Harley Quinn, my own DMZ, and his upcoming Pigeons from Hell and Fluorescent Black)
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi ( Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock artist, 1839-1892) would have to be the one who kick started everything. Lucian Freud (German Painter, 1922 – )would be a close second.
A Yoshitoshi show called BEAUTY AND VIOLENCE came thrugh KC,MO while I was at college and I was hooked. It took me a bit longer to pick up a brush but from then on I just wanted to make pictures and tell stories somehow. That same set of years I saw Akira for the first time and as many Terry Gilliam films as I could get my hands on. Exposure to all of these guys was a huge clash to my Disney/Hannah Barbera upbringing but a welcomed eye-opener none the less. I never grew up reading comics, but looking back I realized Caniff and Bernet stuff was always around somehow, I just never really payed attention to it back then. I thought I was going into art school to work for disney. Ottomo and Yoshitoshi changed a lot.
Artist wise I was surrounded by some amazingly talented friends and room mates back then as well and have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of great artists in the industry along the way. I owe a great deal to Mike Hiddleston and Jim Mahfoods bookshelves for exposing me to mainstream comics and Paul CHatem who introduced me to indi and alternative artists back in the day. Been trying to tell stories out of school ever since…
(artist on, amond others, The Escapist, Queen and Country, One Bad Day, Degrassi: Extra Credit, the upcoming Emiko Superstar, and our Pounded)
My So-Called Life is a tv show that only lasted a single season but I think it left a significant impression on me. I was a teenager at the time and it was the most realistic depiction of teenage life I’d ever seen. I think what inspired me most was its accurate depiction of how awkward life can be, for both teenagers and adults. Portraying those awkward moments is something I strive for in my comics. Even when I’m only handling the artwork I try to put in that subtle kind of acting that makes it feel more real. I think the Minx graphic novel I’m drawing right now (Emiko Superstar) will be the best example of that. Partly because the story is about an awkward teen coming out of her shell and partly because, well, I’m getting better at it.
(web cartoonist at Act-I-Vate and artist on our Dogs Day End)
I keep a file of every Kollwitz drawing or print that I have found. Her work reminds me that every spark of life found in art is observed and taken from experience. The way she describes form with her materials is a testament to how hard and long she spent looking at her world.
I’m a sucker for a bit of plain old drawing skill… Barron Storey 1970′s TIME magazine cover. Beautiful.
(artist on Supermarket, DMZ, Fallen Angel, and the upcoming 99 Days)
Comics: I’m gonna focus on art, i can’t help it.
100 Bullets. I just re-read my older, and read the latest trades. that book is just too good. the covers by Dave Johnson are incredible. there’s Risso’s art, which kind of blows my mind. the crispness, thedepth, the expressions of faces and hands, it’s all very inspiring.
Hellboy: Darkness Calls. Duncan Fregredo (sp?) does an amazing job on this. it could be my favorite visual interpretation of Hellboy outside of Mike Mignola. That Dave Stewart’s not bad too =)
Umbrella Academy and The Last Call, are two recent favorites as well. Gabriel Ba, and Vasilis Lolos respectively. although very different, they both bring an energy and design sense to the table that i love. very, very inspiring.
also, anything by Gipi.
Movies: No Country For Old Men: this one blew me away. being an adopted Texan, i loved seeing that nightmare western gothic vibe brought to life and mixed generously with some crime/noir. also, Javier Bardem plays the scariest villain since Bill The Butcher, who was the scariest villain since Darth Vader. no kidding.
Iron and Wine: The Shepherd’s Dog.
Dan Deacon: Spider Man of the Rings.
Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express — The first of many films that showed me how wonderful and interesting relationships can be, especially the strange and dysfunctional ones.