The Merlin asked me earlier today, if I love comics and animation so much, why don't I learn to draw. Apparently one of my younger brothers is teaching himself to draw precisely because of his similar love.
My reply was something along the lines that I consider myself to paint using my words and I hadn't really thought of taking time and energy to learn a new skill from scratch - such as with drawing. But then I came online and stumbled into this post about Greg Land. It led me to this defense of Land. In it Rich of Comic by Comic uses this phrase:
I appreciate what Land can do, even if half of it is from some kind of collage.
That phrase has momentarily rocked my world. While reading the previous admonishment of Land's recycling, reusing and swiping, I'd found myself thinking that he must spend an awful amount of time collecting poses from magazines and tv-stills. I had the thought that if he used that time actually drawing, his skills and speed might improve to the point he wouldn't need to keep doing what he has been doing. But then I realized that given how long he's been allowed to pass with his lightboxing, he probably has a fair enough build up images with which to make collages.
So why aren't more people tracing off collages and creating their own comics? And is that an avenue I'd want to take in order to tell a story? Or is it better to find an artist to collaborate with if I ever decide/want my love of comics to go from appreciation to creation.
Does one need some artistic talent to trace? What if you have a good eye, as Land is thought to do via his composition? Is that enough? Does anyone have any ideas on how long it'd take to become proficient at tracing? Does it count as drawing? Could an entire comic actually be done that way? Should I get a digital camera and go out and take as many pictures of city-life as I can? Should I save interiors from a magazine? Is someone out there besides Land already doing precisely that?
What makes an artist? What constitutes vision?
I don't think I've actively thought about this in terms of drawing/visual representation before.
What's the difference, in technical terms even, between the stills that Land draws (I see them as movie stills/ movie storyboarding) and panels that speak of action. I know when I look at comics I often see the characters moving in my head. Realistically I know they're standing still, but as I read and involve myself in the story, there's movement - I read it from the panels. Where does that sense of movement come from and is that the only really important thing when it comes to drawing comics? Is it one of the most important things?
For example, with Land, I've often found myself bored with the story, because the pacing seems slow. Is that impression a result of the lack of movement?
Does it matter to most readers what the quality of art is? The defense of Land also mentioned the 'too plastic' sensation I've gotten with a lot of Land's drawings. I've mentioned before that I find photorealistic artwork staid - more slideshow than living breathing tale. But is that something that can be ignored in favour of good storytelling? Or is it not just the writing, but also the artwork that makes or breaks the tale?
I know for me, some of my absolutely favourite animated stories, are my favourites because of the combination of artwork and writing/dialogue. One of the reasons that I know I'm unlikely to appreciate certain classics of Japanese animation is because the artwork's often too blocky for me to enjoy watching it. I can't really define it at the moment but the art, background and foreground has to be all of a piece to me, and living; the creation of a world. In some animation it feels to my eyes as if the buildings and characters and rubble and sky are all different pieces instead of one whole. It's not just a flipbook level of animation with jerky movements, it's as if a different person drew the buildings, or the buildings were stock drawings added in against the cel.
Hmm, I've rambled a bit. But I think I'm asking: What makes a comic book artist an artist? Should we be thanking the inkers and colourists for making Land's compositions seem alive to some? I know when I've found a story I want to read that involves Land's artwork, I check the colourist first. The beauty of their creations may sway me.