Friday, February 29, 2008

Paintings and Maquettes and Fun - Oh my!

Another Friday, another Temple meeting! We're always getting together to have fun working in a pseudo-studio environment but this week it went a bit beyond the normal variety of inking and drawing techniques.

This Friday we had Shawn Crystal working with students on paintings for his SEQA310 Painting for Comic Covers class. It involves using a tonal drawing as the under-painting then fixing it and using a subtractive technique with darks on lights to bring out highlights and create shape and volume. While Shawn works on looking fashionable in his apron as he paints Etrigan the Demon, the student covers are being produced with Bruce Timm's Two-Face story "Two of a Kind" in mind.

As Crystal and his students are eating up the painting project, Nolan Woodard and his students work on maquettes for SEQA224 Character Design and Storyboarding for Animation. Some students are making tie-wearing apes, crazy Kinko's employees (don't ask), and a self-portrait while Nolan creates an evil scientist. Cara McGee (below) is making a zombie holding its own arm like a weapon! Once painted, a little gloss coat in the right places will make that stump of an arm really look *dry-heave* fresh.

Oh yeah, and Happy Leap Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Art Forum Challenge!

I'll let Allen's own words describe this sketch: The Art Forum provided me with the opportunity to interact with two great artists, and I got an encouraging critique from Eric Canete, who said that despite my cartoony style, I was able to build a cohesive (albeit simple) world for my characters. He also said that Doug and I are from the same planet, just different countries. We all know, however, that Doug is from another planet. LOOK OUT--DOUGDABBZILLA IS COMING!!!

Megs tells us she learned alot from Andrew Robinson's portfolio review and Eric Canete's 90-minute workshop on working smarter, not just faster; something her editor at The Connector really values (as well as all faculty)!

Eric Canete's 90-Minute Sketch demo really inspired Doug to try this 90-Minute Conan! Nice work!

Here is Dianna Bedell opening up our art forum inspired sketch challenge for the week!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mustache Men

The 2008 Atlanta Art Forum was a massive success! A big thanks goes out to our wonderful guests: Eric Canete, Andrew Robinson, Yuko Shimizu, and James Jean. They really made the event fun and informative. The Illustration Dept has posted their event report here and we'll be following suit coming up this week.

But until then here's a little video of our grad students Allen Spetnagel and Chris Schweizer hard at work having fun with their mouthbrows.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Art Spiegelman

Chris Schweizer, one of the grad students here, wrote about Art Spiegelman's visit to SCAD-ATL on his website The Curious Old Library. Here's what he had to say:

"Art Spiegelman came last week and was a really amazing guest. He did a Q&A for SCAD Students, after which he, Allen Spetnagel, and me went out to the front to smoke and chat.

(Allen Spetnagel and Mr. Spiegelman, photo by Charles Taylor)

Later that evening Spiegelman gave an amazing lecture, the details of which are too varied and long to try and do justice to here, but it was truly an eye-opening and exciting talk. One of the things that really got me going was some examples that he showed by Töpffer, who made comics in the early nineteenth century. A Swiss, I might add pridefully.

Anyway, I've always been extremely wary of claims of pre-newspaper comics. There's a school of thought that earlier examples of sequential picture narratives (such as the Bayeux Tapestry) are the first comics, but I think that this is an oversimplification - as with most art, I think that motive is everything and as such these works are NOT comics. I feel like it's an attempt to give artistic legitimacy to a medium which has always struggled for it simply by virtue of age and pedigree, and I think that's selling ourselves short - an academic equivalent to claiming that one's ancestors came over on the Mayflower, knowing full well they came through Ellis Island.

Thus I'd never read (or really looked at) Töpffer's stuff, but Speigelman showed a comic which was of men giving a series of toasts. I read it, and thought, "that's good, but you know what would make it better? Showing them drinking after the first toast, and therefore implying a drink after eah additional toast without having to show it," and then I realized that the comic I was looking at had almost the exact narrative structure of one of my own (the Goodbye Beard)! I thought I was being quite clever with mine, but apparently I was almost two hundred years late. It makes me insanely curious as to what other gems Töpffer has, what styles and syntaxes he may have invented that haven't been subsequently employed. Hmmm...

Anyway, afterwards we (Shawn Crystal, Doug Dabbs, me, Dr. Griffis, and some SCAD administrators) went to dinner with Mr. Spiegelman, and had a great time. At first the conversations were a little more rounded - what it's like to teach AND be a cartoonist at the same time, anecdotes, etc - but before long we got into some heavy shop talk about brush pens and fountain pens and ink and papers and all that good stuff, and I fear that we temporarily excluded the non-cartoonists at the table as a result, but all in all I think that everyone had a great evening. I know I did!"

Great report, Chris! And this coming week we'll also feature a report on the Art Forum beginning tonight and running through Saturday afternoon. Keep a eye out for it!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dusty Star Challenge!

Jackie tried to sneak one past us!

We can always count on Allen to get involved!

In rides Megs with a sketch!

Doug Dabbs gets in on the sketch action.

Cara McGee starts off this week's challenge!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blogging Works

Students! Faculty! Countrymen! Blogging works!

Upon scanning the list of referring websites to The Temple, I discovered Newsarama and SuperPunch both have linked to us after coming across Cara McGee's Iron-Man sketch in the Iron-Man Sketch Challenge. Yet another reason to get in on the sketch challenges! If what you do catches on it becomes viral giving your work more exposure across the internet. Congratulations to Cara! Here are links to those posts:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 Anthology Cover Submissions

Every year the SEQA Department publishes an anthology of excellent student, alumni, and faculty work. Well, this year's theme is "pantomime" and there is a competition for the cover! With only a couple of week's notice, the ATL campus has two covers to throw into the ring. They are packaged, built to specs, digital press-ready, wrap-around covers! Let's hope ATL wins the honor of being on the front of this year's anthology! What you see in the images below is "back cover>spine>front cover".

Olu Ajagbe's is gorgeous and leaves plenty of room for copy to be added to the back. Great way to tie into the theme: "Shhhhh! The book is about to begin."

Nolan Woodard took a stab at the cover with this sci-fi image. There's no sound in space which works well with the theme too.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Get Well, Shawn!

Hopefully our over-worked, uber-talented, Jesus-look-a-like, professor Shawn Crystal will be well enough this weekend to check online to see this... and not delete it! We had a special sketch challenge on Friday just for you, Shawn. Get well!

Jackie Lewis has her own idea as to what sickness Shawn might have. If only she were right!

A portrait of our fallen professor by Darnell Johnson!

Allen Spetnagel tells you to stay away from sweets!

Cara McGee hopes you get a break soon!

Even ANIM students like Dianna Bedell hope you get well!

Iron-Man Challenge!

Pat Quinn
Our current spotlight Doug Dabbs sends in his sketch!

Jackie Lewis
Trevor Pledger

Cara McGee explores Iron-Man's less than attractive side!

Here's Nolan Woodard getting in on the action.

Allen Spetnagel is out of the starting gates first... again!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Spotlight: Doug Dabbs

Every so often we will be focusing on a specific student doing exemplary work in a Spotlight post. We’ll also have a slideshow of their art in the right column and post a Q&A from the student. But, we thought, who should be the first? The answer was pretty easy: Doug Dabbs, the first student the ATL SEQA Department campus had and the first to spend all four years here to earn his BFA! Now as a Graduate student Doug is continuing his art evolution and brings us our first Spotlight Q&A with some exciting news about some professional work he's doing!

Q. Where are you from and what originally got you interested in sequential art?

A. I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. It was there where I originally became interested in sequential art. In the third grade, my teacher assigned us a reading assignment which we had to do a report on. I never read comics before, so I asked if I could choose a comic to read. Surprisingly, she said yes. She didn’t care what medium of literature it was, she just wanted her students to read.

Q. What books (comic or otherwise) do you regularly read and why?

A. I think I have become more picky on my reading material, because there isn’t a monthly book that I always pick up. I usually read trades by artists and writers who influence me.

Click here to expand/collapse the rest of Doug Dabbs' Q&A.

Q. Who are your major influences?

A. Man, this could be a long one, but I’ll try to keep it under a hundred. Just to name a few (in no particular order) – Domingo Mandrafina, Juanjo Guarnido, David Mazzucchelli, Sean Phillips, Jorge Zaffino, Rodolphe Guenoden, Mike Mignola, John Paul Leon, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Frank Miller, Alex Toth, Benoît Springer, and some guy named Jack Kirby.

Q. Do you have a specific process in your work and, if so, what is it?

A. Typically, I start with breakdowns, which focuses on the composition, pacing, and design. I don’t really concentrate on the drawing aspect, which if you ever see them you can tell. When that is done, I scan the breakdowns and print them out on a fresh page to pencil over. When the pencils are done, I scan those in, digitally remove the breakdown images and print out the pencils as blue line with black borders. I print out my pencils because the paper handles the ink much better when there is no graphite obstructing the ink. When the inks are done I scan those in, digitally remove the blue pencils, tighten up the ink and Bam! a comic page. Actually, this is the short version of my process and many people do things differently.

Q. What tools do you prefer to use in your work and why?

A. For penciling I use a blue Col-Erase color pencil. It erases easy and has a great feel to it. For brushes I use the Pentel Color brush, and the Pentel Pocket brush. I fill both of them up with Holbein Black India Ink, not the Special Black. The regular ink is a bit thinner and can go through the brushes better without drying.

Q. Do you have any professional work that has been published? And are you working on anything currently?

A. I have worked for Desperado publishing as a Production Assistant. On the business side of comics, I helped design several of their books. I also received a production credit for their The Art of P. Craig Russel art book, where I touched up the art and prepared it for print. As of right now, I just received the opportunity to do a fill in issue for Oni Press’ Resurrection. I will be handling the pencils and inks, and it’s scheduled to be out sometime in June.

Q. Are you working on any personal projects and, if so, what are they?

A. Making my life work.

Q. How do you juggle your work load between college and your freelance life?

A. You just make it happen. I know that’s a hack answer, but it’s true. If want something bad enough, you have to make it happen. I’m married and I work as well, so you just have to use your time wisely. You can’t feel bad for yourself; someone out there always has it tougher than you. If there was a formula to making everything work, there would be a lot more successful people out there.

Q. Who would you love to work with one day and why?

A. There are a lot of people. The most mainstream right now is Ed Brubaker. Everything he does is great. If I learned to speak Spanish, then Carlos Trillo. Hey, if I’m shooting high I’ll just throw in Alan Moore and Frank Miller as well.

Q. Where do you hope to see yourself professionally in five to ten years?

A. Teaching. I would really love to teach art to college students. It seems very rewarding and you can really make a difference to a lot of people. On the side I could be doing my own book or collaborating with someone. That way I could have freedom on my art and not have to worry about a month to month comic schedule.

A small sampling of Doug's work:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Painting Demo by Olu

Last Friday we met as usual for our sketch jam and challenge but grad student Olu Ajagbe graced us with a quick painting demonstration too. The turn out was fantastic and Olu really showed off his talent!

Here's Olu relaxing after showing the department his painting process.

Shawn Crystal and students look on as the 300 inspired demo comes to life. And keep in mind, no one is required to come! Our students enjoy hanging out and learning from one another on their own time. It's a great department!

And here are the reference photo, pencil sketch, and quick painting Olu used and created during the demo.

Finally, a more refined painting Olu did before the demo so we could all see the technique pushed further when he's not limited by time. Nice work, Olu!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Blade Runner Challenge!

Robin Holstein

Poor Cara McGee. She's missed out but still tries the challenge! We'll all just have to watch the movie one day!

Jackie Lewis, our cheerleader!

Lovely Dove from Savannah campus.

Megan Glasscock chimes in with a sketch of Deckard!

Allen kicks this off once again!