Friday, 27 August 2021

One Lovely Drawing

I hope David Apatoff will excuse me for borrowing the title from one of his recurring series, but I wanted to share this.


This panel comes from The Name of the Game (this is the italian edition, called Le Regole del Gioco) one of Will Eisner's last graphic novels and, in my opinion, one of his most accomplished.

I used to be a Will Eisner enthusiast, as all lovers of comics should be at one point in their life.

I've always been aware of his place in the history of the medium: I was introduced to his works by anthologies or articles stressing the importance of his work, but more than the praise, what captured me was the appeal of his style in The Spirit: the noirish use of shadows, the weird angles, the use of depth and layers in a single panel...

The fact that he wrote, penciled and inked his own work, the fact that he started producing personal graphic novels at a relatively advanced age, his convinction about the artistic mertis of the form, all this made him a hero in my eyes.

Whenever I would have the chance, I'd introduce Eisner's comics to friends and aquitainces

I remember how my friend Taiyo and I both smiled knowingly when the character of Hogarth shows a Spirit comic to his alien friend in Brad Bird's The Iron Giant.

I even had a very brief email exhange with him once (he gave me very simple and sensible advice, which I should have taken).

With time though, my feelings towards both his work and his persona has become a little more complex.

I started noticing some flaws in his drawings, the writing would strike me as pedantic at times, I missed the more experimental stuff he used to do with The Spirit that he abandoned in his later work.

A bit of the childish admiration I had for him was eroded when I realized the Spirit stories, although fully under his control, were the product of a studio effort that counted other writers, pencilers, inkers, colorists and letterers (although I totally get why and besides, that was the common practice for all cartoonists working for daily newspapers).

I won't discuss here other more controversial aspects about Eisner (I will in a future post), but even after all this caveats, I must say that I still go back to his work every so often (and that I second the choice to name an important award after him).

His job was personal and littered with little gems like this one.


It's a simple drawing, a panel of little importance in the narrative (although it encapsulates a few of the themes of the graphic novel), but everying about it is appealing.

The two men nicely fill the panel, leaving the right amount of 'air' to accomodate the speech balloon.

The difference of physical stature is used effectively to stage the moment.

The style of their wardrobe quickly conveys both the characters' status and time-period

I love how stylized the Sydney's face is (he's the tall one on the left) providing a nice contrast with Conrad's exaggerated facial expression on the right.

All this in a minuscule, spontaneous drawing that probably did not take long to draw and that will be quickly glanced over in the time it takes to read the short dialogue.




Friday, 6 August 2021

Zibaldone - Part 8

Things I do for other people (but really, for myself as well)








Thursday, 10 June 2021

Friday, 28 May 2021

Zibaldone (Part 6)


It's nice to be working again on something, with two of my favourite collaborators, no less: Fulvio Vanacore and Don Vitalski.

If one of the fellows in the first picture looks familiar, that is absolutely intentional.

(I think I'll soon write a post about him)



In the mentime, professor Lasson is back, but he's not having fun apparenlty.



In this new adventure he already risked getting mauled by a wild animal, drowned in a river and impaled in a booby-trab

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Jeff


Portrait of swimmer (and John Williams fan) Jeff Commings, with whom I've had the pleasure of hosting three episodes of The Baton podcast, available here:




I really look up to Jeff: besides being a professional athlete (which is already commenadble for the discipline and dedication required, let alone the stamina) and a teacher, he's incredibly polite, articulated, intelligent, brave and entreprising.

Recommended reading:




Friday, 21 May 2021

José Villarrubia: From a Colorist's Perspective




I know I just wrote only a few days ago that the less time we spend on social media, the better. I still stand by it, but I must also admit when people are using them right.

José Villarubia is one of those people.

My first encounter with this gentleman's work was on the pages of the ABC comic book line, written by Alan Moore (who else?).

He is an exeptionally talented artist, photographer and colorist and particularly in this last capacity he has made an incredible contribution to the field with his facebook posts about colors in comics.

I hope he'll manage to organize these into a lecture or an extensive article someday. For the time being, you can enjoy his insights via his Facebook photo album

From a Colorist's Perspective



In many of these posts he also tackles the issue of recoloring older comic books, which is a fascinating subject to me but also criminally neglected.

Well, ok, it's not a crime to ignore the subject, but how come there is a seizable awareness about the importance of preservation and presentation of film and music (with discussions about formats, supports, mastering techniques, accuracy) but almost none about comics?

¡Que viva José! then, who delivered possibly the first serious contribution to the field of comic book coloring studies.

Make sure you read his notes and all the comments, where the discussion gets juicy.


Thursday, 20 May 2021

Zibaldone (part 5)

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Zibaldone (Part 4)

This is actually a published work.

Portrait of Jos De Saeger, flemish politician.


While this next piece is an attempt to portray Sandy De Crescent (of whom very few pictures are publicly available and none of them is recent).

If you know her name, it's because you are either a relative, or you are a professional musician working in Los Angeles, or because (like me) you are a soundtrack fan, of the kind that read all the credits in the album sleeve or in the end credits of movie.

Ms. De Crescent is best known as an orechestra contractor, meaning she is the one responsible of putting together a studio orchestra lmade of freelancers.

If you are interested in the subject, check out her interview at thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com





Monday, 17 May 2021

Zibaldone (part 3)

Today's piece is a portrait of conductor Brett Mitchell.

Brett currently serves music director of the Colorado Symphony, and his resume is pretty impressive.

What put him on my radar was a podcast about the music of Star Wars, I've written about here.

Maurizio, who is currenlty doing a splendid job at thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com, got in touch with him, so we decided to present him with this tittle loving tribute.

Here's a couople of lovely video's of Brett playing John Williams on the piano





Sunday, 16 May 2021

Zibaldone (Part 2)

"Zibaldone" is a term made famous by italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, who used it to name a collection of written notes, thoughts and reflections, kept for several years. It means "heap of things" and I like to use it as a placeholder for all my scribbles who I can't bother to better categorize.

The term was also used in the weekly (now monthly) sport magazine Guerin Sportivo for the 2-page spread dedicated to cartoons satyrizing the world of sports (it was the only section I used to read).

Thorugh the years I had different ideas about what this blog should be about, resisting the idea to turn it into a dump of personal art and thoughts because

1) I'm not particularly gifted as a writer,
2) nor as an artist;
3) I don't like vanity projects;
4) social media profiles seem better suited to that kind of simple 'content sharing'.

In a universe where I have little else to do, I'd love to produce longer pieces on topics that matter (at least to me) and leave a meaningful contribution, like i did here, here and here), but unforntunately I cannot afford that kind of time to spare.

But I don't want to discontinue this blog either, on the contrary : I'd like to revitalize it.

But lacking more substantial content, I think I'll go for the Zibaldone approach.

I do have heaps of pieces I wouldn't mind to share, and I'm not interested in using social media like Instagram or Facebook to do it  for a number of reasons among which:

1) The 'like' mechanism turns everything shared in a cry for attention while encouraging lazy interactions (rather than engage in commentary, people simply click on one option: Like, Love, Haha etc... also conforming to a very limited range of possible categories in reaction to something

2) Posting on social media platforms increase only the value of the company, but does not get me any piece of the pie. I suppose what I get in return are the services they offer, but although my personal contribution to the creation of value for Facebook or Instagram or whatever is of course absolutely marginal, still: I'm making money for them with my work.

3) Being active on social media is an invitation to other people to spend time there, which we all should do less.

ERGO

I'll just dump stuff here.
I hope you don't mind.

These are studies for a character in a story I'm currently working on. It's set in a Borneo-like environment, so I drew inspiration from this documentary:



and this is a piece of the final art