I'm working on finishing up my image collection, and I went looking through what got me into this whole mess, what I was looking at when I first started putting pencil to paper, and attempting to scratch out a picture.
So what I'd like to do is just post about the artists that really influenced me throughout the years, and present it as a time line, what inspired me and why. Here goes....
I'd like to begin with Derek Yangier. My first memory of drawing were pictures of Transformers.
Yes, the robots that turned into vehicles and stuff. I have fond memories of them. But what I really remember is my Grandpa taking me to the comic book store to buy my first comics, he wasn't so much person, but he was a draftsman, and I think maybe the mechanical nature of Transformers maybe convinced him to buy me more Transformers comics. Either way, Transformers comics, were what got me into drawing, I wanted to create my own adventures for these characters and try to learn how to draw like the guys who did the comics did.
Derek Yangier was the original artist on the Transformers comics from the early 90s, I remember looking at his art before I could even read, I'd have to wait for my mom to read the comics for me, but the pictures were all that really mattered (at least that's what my memory tells me, I'd have to look up dates to confirm this, despite looks, I was able to read at a regular age...). I was just enthralled by the way he rendered these machines, with this bulky energy, and the way he used shadows to create dramatic scenes. Somehow in the excess that permeated comic books in the 90s, the Transformers comics (while they gave in to some extent) were tackling mature subjects, dealing with betrayal, death, morality, hopelessness. Yangier's art seemed to reflect this more mature feeling, with each character showing the scars of years of battle.
See covers like the one above, those were the things I was looking at, Megatron is holding a guy's disembodied head. I couldn't have been older than 8 when I saw that, that's what I grew up on.
I feel like, maybe that has something to say about my current fascination with the darker side of man, and the things that drive us to the edge. It also marked the beginning of my fascination with comic books and telling stories through a visual medium. Thank you Grandpa.
Next up: Joe Kubert.
Joe Kubert, again, an artist I sort of grew up with. My first time seeing his art was when I was in middle school. Joe Kubert, for those who either don't know or don't care, is an artist who began working the the 40s, drawing war related comics specifically Sgt. Rock, a character who has continued into today, with Kubert illustrating a few new stories featuring the character. Lately he's done a number of books dealing with the Holocaust, Jewish gangsters in Depression era New York, and Fax from Sarajevo (which dealt with things in...Sarajevo, I haven't read it yet, but it's serious).
Anyway, Joe Kubert lives in Dover, NJ, and has a fully accredited college where the old Dover High School used to be. Dover just so happens to be located right next to my hometown, and the Joe Kubert School holds Saturday morning sketch classes for those that aren't of college age yet. I attened those class throughout middle school and high school, I think that's where I learned a lot of what I know, I never took any art classes in my regular school till my senior year, so what I learned, was learned there.
While I didn't actually begin reading any Kubert books till high school, he clearly had a huge influence on my own art education. When I finally began looking at his work, I figured out why it is that he's got his own school. The man is really a master of his craft. I've tried to pick up on how he uses line and brushwork to evoke emotion and mood. His storytelling is always very clean and easily understood, and the way he inks his work has this wonderful loose quality, that just oozes style. I've often found myself trying to incorporate his use of brushwork into my own pieces.