Continued from the last post:
This is a series of posts outlining my artist influences over the years. So far I've covered two. Moving onto the next...
Yes, the guy who created Hellboy. For those who've only watched the movies....forget them. They capture some of the ideas and themes of the comic, but they're really inferior in comparison. The comic deals with so many different ideas, especially with plenty of literary, biblical, mythological, historical, and folklore references and connections, that no movie could really contain.
Mike Mignola is one of those artist who is completely and utterly distinguishable. He is absolutely his own style, imitated often, but never quite equaled. The way he uses shadow and graphic elements to create atmosphere and depth, is wonderful, everything he draws feels like is has weight. The way he tells a story and the way he focuses on the smaller details, like a bird chirping, or a closeup of a statue in the background to create dramatic tension is something I've tried to incorporate into my own storytelling. He works a style consisting of line and heavy shadow, and it works, amazingly well.
Again, Mike Mignola's stories tend to deal with that darker side, with the idea that you are what you are, and your path can only be changed so much, but eventually you will have to face down that beast inside. The idea of redemption is something also present in Mignola's work and it's something that I've been interested in as well.
Ok, this was bound to show up, Frank Miller, back before he became Hollywood famous, was incredible. The Dark Knight Returns (written and illustrated by Frank Miller, in 1986) effectively turned comics into an 'adult' medium.
While his recent stuff has been....well let's just be nice and say, kind of crappy. Back when he did Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, Frank Miller was awesome. Both books feature totally different styles however, and they suit their different genres perfectly. Sin City is stark black & white noir, while Dark Knight Returns is this detailed look at what happens when our heroes get old and the world around them is falling apart.
Frank Miller's art has really been one of the biggest steady influences on my art. The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City books follow me around wherever I go, so much so that I actually refuse to allow my copy of Dark Knight Returns to leave my room, it's the one book that I won't let anyone borrow.
I think it's really how he draws people that I've always liked, the way he exaggerates forms, where they have their clear realistic underpinnings, but they're more than what is real, not in that whole muscular to the point of insanity way, but his heroes seem larger than life, even when they're beaten and broken, dead even. Also the way he writes, while he is consistently becoming more and more of a parody of himself, he used to write books that weren't filled with camp.