At the behest of my supervisor I have done something I have honestly never even considered before, and that is copying other people’s work.. what a shame it never occurred to me before. You can learn a lot by looking at another persons art and attempting to recreate it, more than just by looking alone.
The following images are from page 13 of Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets. Firstly I have included a direct copy from the book, followed by my own hand-copy. I was surprised at the amount of background rendering involved, which was not as evident when I read the pages originally. I believe this serves to push the figures into the foreground, and also to provide a setting of greater realism. However I need to do some research into this technique, particularly into European artists such as Herge (TinTin) and Albert Udzero (Asterix and Obelix).
The pages below are from page 113 of Art Speigelman’s Maus 1. Here I began to also copy the lettering, but after inking the first captions I decided against it, and that this will only be a visual analysis of the art style. I discovered similarities between Thompson (above) and Speigelman’s visual sensibilities. Both favour a stylistic representation of characters, and both make use of highly rendered backgrounds. What at first I took as crude drawings within Maus I have since found to be highly intricate works; something I may not have gained an appreciation for without ‘walking in his shoes’ as it were.
Following is a page I have copied from Chester Brown’s text I never liked you (2002). The first thing I noticed as I attempted to mimic his line work was how fine his handling of line and form is. What at first appears simple and almost crude is actually an impressive display of sensitivity. I found it difficult to exercise the same degree of control as Chester obviously possesses, and realised that it is not easy to have such extreme rein over the expressions and moods of one’s illustrated characters. He uses extremely fine etching and draws mainly around the edges of his characters, giving minimal attention to unimportant details such as hair. However his thought process about facial structure is evident, and his background rendering is high in detail. Most hatching in performed in a diagonal stroke; he will often use hatching to provide a ‘halo’ for his scenes. This is used to convey a sensation of shock or surprise, or to accentuate the gravity of the moment.