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Steven Queen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 February 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 906
Posted: 08 June 2023 at 2:34pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

They tried doing more comic art in a painterly/fully-shaded style (like the above) with Epic and Heavy Metal back in the 70's and 80's.  It didn't really catch on.

It was probably because it is far too labor intensive for a monthly, bi-monthly or even long-ish series of panels. 

Even with digital painting making this far far easier than it used to be, and the rise in prominence of The Colorist as a digital painter, it is still done with a relatively light touch in modern comics.

The gist is this:  is it IMPOSSIBLY hard to create consistent and appealing illumination from imagination panel after panel.  That's why CG was needed to unlocked that possibility.  When a human tries it, you get a very mixed bag that falls into that proverbial Uncanny Valley.

It works better for covers and such (low output), and requires lots of physical models etc.  like Alex Ross generally has to use.

Artists are forced to step back from photorealism at some level and make stylistic choices.  One of those choices is line-art versus painting (B&W vs. color too).

In the realm of line-art, graphite pencils allow a bit of wiggle room (compared to ink) that lets it teeter towards painterly techniques (smudging, levels of gray, etc.), but ink is the harshest of mediums---being essentially binary.  Each and every grey-tone is a decision point that requires a contemplation of how to fill/hatch it.  Like many, I have always held the layout-penciler as my hero, but have in recent years come to have equal respect for the inker (or disrespect, as the case might be --- looking at you Vince Colletta!).

There is an aesthetic to line-art that can push its beauty above that of painting (e.g. Gustave Dore's etchings, Franklin Booth's landscapes, Frazetta's Tarzan, or Wrightson's Frankenstein).  It is an abstraction of reality with its own harmony.  These days I find B&W line-art---with it's gorgeous contour hatching---far more appealing to my eye than painted pieces.  With the advent of cameras, CGI, Photoshop and the like, digital painting has devalued photorealism in art.  It's ubiquitous.  Too cheap and easy.  Conversely, I think it has elevated the skill-set necessary to produce great inked line-art because it is so rare and difficult.

This is an unlikely venue for appreciation of painted comics in the style of Iam's.  Most of us are here because we love a certain aesthetic---line-art and Mr. Byrne's line-choices.  When those are both obscured, our interest generally fades.

Like Mark, I agree that your traditional inking is much more impressive.  In truth, I am no longer impressed by digital painted "realism" across the board (amateur to pro).  It is so common now, and the bar is so low (what is hard in ink is easy in paint, and visa versa), it's become banal.

When Ross originally did it, it was at least relatively new to comics and executed at a very high, classically trained, skill level---be even he has recently tried reverting to line-art and flatter colors in his Fantastic Four: Full Circle.



Edited by Steven Queen on 08 June 2023 at 2:37pm
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Eric Ladd
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Joined: 16 August 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 4506
Posted: 08 June 2023 at 3:59pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Off topic Joe Jusko has been doing painted covers for a release of all the Tarzan books for ERB press. Check those out for realistic painting Steven. 

Edited by Eric Ladd on 08 June 2023 at 4:00pm
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iam bennu
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Joined: 05 June 2023
Location: United States
Posts: 16
Posted: 08 June 2023 at 4:37pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I agree. It is certainly a task. I have found digital shortcuts to help. With my own work I am able to, like Disney cells. to reuse pieces modifying them for speed. In inking John, I have come to a point of getting back to my inking roots. it is what comics are for. I am thinking to use my painting for covers and splashes..
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Steven Queen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 February 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 906
Posted: 08 June 2023 at 5:55pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

@Eric:  Those are not bad.  Truly, I've seen far worse but...

a) I'd still I'd take Frazetta's B&W inks over those x1000. 
b) They fall into the uncanny valley of illustrative photorealism---plausible without being perfectly correct and without the polish and stylistic flourishes of "beyond photorealism" e.g. Frazetta's Conan covers.  Halfway to nowhere.
c) If I was flipping through cover art, I might linger but I would not stop.  There is a lot of content out there at that level.

Similarly, Boris Vallejo comes to mind as a great technical painter whose painted art always did nothing for me.  Too static.  Too posed.  The Jim Lee of painting. :)


Edited by Steven Queen on 08 June 2023 at 6:02pm
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Marc Thompson
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Posted: 10 June 2023 at 11:12pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

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Edited by Marc Thompson on 25 June 2023 at 2:17pm
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Marc Thompson
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Posted: 11 June 2023 at 3:28am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

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Edited by Marc Thompson on 25 June 2023 at 2:17pm
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Steven Queen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 February 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 906
Posted: 11 June 2023 at 12:43pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Well done Marc!  I like the choice of colors as well.
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Marc Thompson
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Posted: 11 June 2023 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Thank you. I chose my palette based on X-men 136, my favorite issue. While I was inking this, I noticed that Xavier in center-bottom looks like a classic Curt Swan face. I wonder if that was an intentional choice.
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John Byrne

Grumpy Old Guy

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 132725
Posted: 13 June 2023 at 1:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Iam Bennu - That is the worst “inking” my art has suffered since Rudy Nebres massacred “Dark Asylum”, my first official job for Marvel.

Had I done layouts or even bare-bones breakdowns, your handling might be acceptable. But I did finished pencils, and that is what I expect to see reflected in the final form.

To be brutally honest, for you to actually post these page in my Forum is downright insulting.

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iam bennu
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Joined: 05 June 2023
Location: United States
Posts: 16
Posted: 13 June 2023 at 2:03pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I take and appreciate your brutally honest. Thank you for responding. I come from a painting, graphic poster art background and have been trying to put it all together. My comic art was formed on your work, so I had to know. 

Again, thank you for all the moments and be well.
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Marc Thompson
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Posted: 13 June 2023 at 8:05pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

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Edited by Marc Thompson on 25 June 2023 at 2:18pm
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Paul Wills
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Joined: 18 August 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 869
Posted: 15 June 2023 at 3:20pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Nice job, Mark!
Here's my recent - Issue 6 page 5. I use mostly pen and brush



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