This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

September 18, 2014

Studying the great masters of comics

Like anyone who professes to be an artist, I have studied the great masters. And yes, that includes Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the rest of the artists named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I often refer to the great masters of comics when I tell people who inspired me.

My very first inspiration, when I was about eight, was Bob Kane. If you've never heard of him, it's not surprising, as his fame didn't seem to follow his greatest creation, Batman. To this day, there's a touch of Bob Kane in my style, especially when I draw someone smiling. If you look at very old Batman comics, you will see the distinctive Batman Bob Kane smile.

Jack Kirby
But to me, no other artist ever came close to Jack Kirby. As good as any other artist was, he was definitely the King. His exaggerated sense of movement, and the way that he drew muscles that seemed to have no connection to reality, both inspired me, and caused a problem for me when I started studying drawing in college. My figures *in repose* tended to look like they were about to jump through a window, and I had to spend a lot of time learning actually anatomy, bone and muscle structure. From Kirby I learned forced perspective, and dynamic juxtaposition. I wish that I could say there's a touch of Kirby in my work, but I'm just not that good.

When I glance at modern comics (which I only do in passing now in bookstores), I see the style of Jim Steranko. I was young when he burst onto the scene, and he changed everything. In addition to the way that he drew, I was amazed at the way that he composed pages. It was the beginning of understanding Graphic Design for me.

Jim Steranko

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