It’s time for an all new installment of The Rack, and aside from pointing out the freshness of that totally rad Dickie Bennett skate logo or a super cool guest star turn from Hip Hop Impresario Adam WarRock, I figured I’d shed some light on the blatantly obvious and drastic change in my art style, for those who are interested in such things.
So I moved to Brooklyn recently, and in doing so, I switched my LCS from funloving but monolithic Midtown Comics to the truly fantastic Bergen Street Comics. And one of the best things about Bergen is that next to register they have a bunch of great alternative comics they’re showcasing. So I’m at the counter, the great Tucker Stone is gathering up my books, and this one comic catches my eye. Birds by Gustavo Duarte. I picked it up, understandably transfixed by the style of it, and went home.
This was Wednesday so I already had this strip loosely laid out and most of Eugene and Lydia pencilled (you can see that they’re still holding on bravely to the style I established over the past, oh, five years). At about 8:15 that night, though, I opened up Birds and really took it in and something just happened. Cartooning just kind of made more sense to me.
I’ve been looking at powerhouses like Jon Morris for years and wondering how they could just so easily and effortlessly draw these incredible and alive lines. I took a single art class in college and was taught that you should always draw with your arm, not your wrist and I’d nod and draw that way on a big piece of newsprint for figure drawing but then go back to picking away at lines an inch at a time when I sat down to draw my own stuff.
But something about Duarte’s stuff, I can’t really say what it is, showed me a way to draw with my whole arm, to allow the lines to dictate where the art would go, not try and fit this arm into that torso so it all made sense.
I still have a long ways to go and this could all backfire and/or disappear in the coming weeks, but I have that copy of Birds sitting on my desk at all times, ready to remind me what’s possible, and what I’m finally capable of.