Monday, 14 February 2011

99 Thor Heads 08

It should be apparent by now I'm a fan of Olivier Coipel's Thor design -- which I think owes a tip of the hat to Walt Simonson's take.  For me certain characters only look right when they have the same facial structure as the work by the artist I most identify drawing them.  I only think a drawing of the Hulk I'm working on is on the right track if there's some resemblance to Keown's Hulk, Silvestri's Wolverine, same with Neal Adam's Superman, and a number of other iconic characters.  Luckily I have some facility with likenesses so it isn't too difficult to use the features from another artist's like a model sheet and start incorporating the character's likeness into whatever "style"  I'm applying.

In the old days -- not sure if they're wholly good or bad, really -- Marvel and DC had in-house art departments that made sure all the characters they published were on model.  This had the good effect of Superman always looking like the same Superman -- as if it was always the same actor portraying the role.  It also had the disturbing effect of putting Curt Swan-style Superman faces on Jack Kirby bodies in a Jack Kirby world.

Today we have a situation where every artist is almost left to their own devices on how a character looks outside of getting the costume generally correct.  Part of this probably has to do with character designs degrading to the point where they're almost always just a front and back view of the character showing the costume.  Couple that with the number of artists who essentially draw the same male and female figures and rely on costumes and hear colour for the reader to tell them apart.

It's be interesting to see more developed character design kits and model sheets for not only the costume but the actual proportions and facial features and see how that plays out across the field.  I think most artists would like to have that level of preproduction work on hand before drawing a book. instead of looking at previous issues and making a guess.

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