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For me it's all about drumming up feelings.  Those feelings I got when I first discovered comic books and comic book magazines like Savage Sword of Conan, Eerie and other Warren publications.  It was a strange, mysterious black and white world.  I didn't know what was next.  It's hard to explain.  I would turn the page and discover a new style, a new way of looking at drawing.  As much as I loved the House Styles of Marvel and DC Comics - I also fell in love with the work of those famous late 60's, 70's and early 80's illustrators that weren't doing superhero comics. 

So when I'm drawing, I'm trying to recreate that experience for myself.  Most of that comes down to my inking.  I study a lot of exceptional artists like Williamson, Frazetta, Klaus Janson, Jorge Zaffino, Alex Nino and Toppi. I love that old skool look. I love evidence of the inking tools like the brush and the pen nib.  I don't want my work to look like "a computer drew it" - which is what artists sometimes hear every now and again.  If it's too clean, it lacks humanity, poetry and playfulness.  Where is the mystery if you know or can guess how an artist will handle the lines and tones that create a particular form?  An arm, a face, a rock or a tree?

In my early days I wanted desperately to display a precise and clean line.  Ultimately, I believe that because of the practice and precision of goals like that I developed solid control of most inking tools.  Brushes, pen nibs and rapidiographs.  But when I left the comic book field and pursued design and advertising - I relied less and less on the finished look I crafted for superhero comics.  I found myself drawing more and more like the artistic heroes I had as, basically, a child.  I liked John Buscema's Conan.  I liked it when he inked himself or when Tony DeZuniga did finishes on him.  Bold lines and plenty of Zip-a-Tone.  I also poured through the Ballantine Frazetta books and studied his work endlessly.  That lead me to Al Williamson.  I was introduced to Alex Nino later on [ before I was even a teenager ].  Later I was shown Toppi and my father introduced me to the advertising illustration of Bob Peak.  As a fan of Klaus Janson I was naturally a fan of Jorge Zaffino's powerful and dramatic inking style.  Reckless, strong and uncompromising. 

So, years later, when I returned to comic books I struggled.  My first attempts looked like cousins of my earlier work.  I was very dissatisfied.  I quickly discovered that I could draw in the style I developed outside of the comic book world and it wouldn't be disregarded.  Instead, I was nudged to go further by artists I respected like Dave Johnson.  Today I'm still trying to narrow down a specific look.  But I never want my work to be mistaken by anyone that maybe a computer program was used.  My goal is to reawaken the fan in me.  I hope to keep things interesting so that anyone reading the comics I draw looks and wonders a bit. 

Blah, blah, blah.  Ramblings of a never satisfied artist.   
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rkhjet Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's appreciated when an artist gives you a peak into their creative mindset. Thanks.
weaponsmaster Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Professional General Artist
if you're struggling, I wonder what that bodes for the rest of us? :/
Seven057 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
very cool. thank you!
JasonTormos Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014   Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing!! :)
MadTwinsArt Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thank you for sharing thoughts and feelings.
augustustodopoderoso Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
What Sean, said. But I also love you use of ziptones; so my love is bigger ;P
Thanks for sharing, Dan
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
Great stuff. Love your style. Your line work as well.
johnsonverse Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
Excellent post. 
Inkpulp Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
Thanks for posting this, Dan! It really spoke to me and what I'm going through right now. 
popmhan Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Dude, you're an inspiration to anyone who remotely studies art. I've always been a huge fan of your work (your inks, before you came back and blew everyone's socks off with your drawing abilities). I'm always excited to see new work from you and how much further you pushed the bar.
That said, I don't believe you wrote this. Robo-Dan, computer-man wrote this.   :P
TessFowler Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
  Chris described you and Andrew and Eric and Dave etc. like quick draw gun slingers. Fast and dirty. I like that description very much. The raw power and playfulness is something I admire greatly.

I'll just be over here twirling my guns, trying not to shoot my own toes off. 
Nisachar Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist

Well said. 

When I finally decided that I want to work in comics something that I had put off for a long time I re discovered a lot of artists I had dismissed as a teenager. I finally saw the power and the sublime sense in their works even if it wasn’t all flash and thunder. Trends come and go but good work stands the test of time.

Jack Kirby is one of them. Neal Adams is right. You need balls to draw like Kirby. I might as well add Gene Colan to that list.

BTW your work does evoke those B&W legendary masters you mention.  And ‘never satisfied artist’ is good. Always.

Looking forward to more !

FMCuonzo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I love the turn you work has taken from your earlier comic days.  Such an inspiration.
MARR-PHEOS Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
inspiring stuff man.
oO-Monkey-Oo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist
Man, if it is at all any help toward your rediscovery and continuing creativity then know that your style, your flow, everything about your artwork takes ME back to when I started reading and loving comics. You have that raw, natural feel. The gritty, hand-crafted quality that comes with genuine talent. Deviating was the balance you needed to find the center of your own style, once you broke out of the limitations of what you thought you should do. Something like that. Keep it up and thanks for inspiring!
BalanComics Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
"Evoking feelings" is a great way to put it.  That's definitely what I want my comic art to do.  Thanks for the peek inside your head!
Lightning-Powered Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
You succeed.
Ignifero Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
hey, great words, and you don't look like a computer artist at all!!
MarkIrwin Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
i like pop tarts. they inspire me sometimes. thanks for doing the same.:)
BroHawk Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Oh!So my nudging didn't help?
I see how it is!
I was hyping your art long before you even came to the WB.
Tsk! Maaaan.....

I'm just glad you are FINALLY doin your own thing.
Keep kickin a$$ and leave a little for the rest of us to
kick from time to time.;)
ACZamudio Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional
You're one of my biggest idols lately, same with Toppi, so it's been really nice to read this. I think when I met you, I mentioned that I was trying to get out of digital artwork and go more traditional, and your style is one thing that really inspired me to make the change. Your style is a testament to how great traditional inking can look, I think. I'll have to check up on the names of the folks you mentioned whom I don't know yet. Thanks a bunch for sharing.
TimTownsend Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
I like your style, brother. Always have. :)
aNg76 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Wow incredible journal!
Jerome-K-Moore Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Wow! ...  So--- Did you-- like-- use a computer for these artistic expressions?  ;)
MikeMarsArt Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Loved this! Keep on rocking Dan
johnchalos Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
TRACER70 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
where the F**k is the "Like and Thumbs up" button !?!?!

Well said sir, well said.............
rogercruz Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Amazing journal, Dan.
I grew up with the same influences. John Buscema, Zuniga, Klaus Janson, etc..
But I'm still looking for my style after so many misconceptions.

You've found a style that is totally awesome!


dwaynebiddixart Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I have talked with some people about this very thing. My pencils are so loose and free but then i ink my work it's very controlled and exact. It sucks the life and personality out of the work. I am trying my best to learn to let go and have as much fun and freedom in the inking stage as in the drawing stage. But it's harder to do than I would care to admit it.
BryanBaugh Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Great Journal, man. I feel much the same way. ...Tho, my favorite black and white artist on those old Conan magazines was Alfredo Alcala!

As far as the whole topic about art that looks so perfect "it looks like a computer drew it"...

I have to draw digitally (with Cintiq) for my day-job (drawing storyboards for TV animation).
But when it comes to drawing my comic book projects and illustrations - I am still, primarily, an old-fashioned, traditional ink-brush guy. Then I only use digital tools for adding color and lettering. I fully admit Photoshop is great for those tasks. But yeah, I try to keep the actual drawing part (which is 99% of the job) as traditional pencil & ink as possible. As you say, the "imperfect" quality is what keeps it looking organic and natural!

Matter of fact I wrote a whole diatribe about "traditional vs. digital" back in 2007, when digital tools like the Cintiq were just starting to emerge in a big way, and some of my fellow illustrators were calling me a luddite for sticking with old traditional tools... See the Artist's Comments on my "Wolfman In Winter - inks" illustration, if you care to read it:…

And as far as the other topic you raise, about art style, when drawing for comics/ dropping out of comics - 

I get the feeling comics publishers want that "too perfect" style. Personally, I can't get much work in comics these days. Every once in a while I'll get a little horror comic gig, but most editors and art directors reject my stuff for being "too cartoony" (yeah, that's my sob story)... So I just keep working in animation and drawing and self-publishing my own comics on the side, as a fun hobby. I figure, as long as I am having fun and able to make a living drawing, I can't really complain.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on your thoughts.
Again, great Journal.

cduck Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
You said it man. It really is about reconnecting with that first time you turned the page to see those images that inspired you. Such a great way to put it. It's chasing the dragon for that chemical release all over again. Only this time the pen is in your hand. It can be just as surprising and satisfying.
ashigaru Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
THIS. Really loving the look you're getting with your art now; it's got life and bounce and a humanity to it that screams Dan Panosian! Strong work, and easily recognizable as all you. Sure, you've got influences; but you're the one that's choosing what to be influenced by, and you're making it your own!
damianodan Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Well said! I totally agree with every point you made about art looking like it was actually hand drawn and not computer generated. There's nothing more engaging than seeing all the scratchy linework and bold brush strokes or dry brush finishes. Its the only way you can look at a page and feel it has a life and is a reflection of the artists mindset. I'm a fan of all the artists you mentioned and are great example of the point you're trying to make. For me I'll also look at early Sam Kieth and his great imaginitive page layouts. In the end I guess you have to draw for yourself and hope the rest of the world agrees. Cheers!
tgau Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
We cross a threshold when we learn how the magic trick is done.  We trade wonder for knowledge.  We trade magic for mechanics.  And it's hard to go back.  All art is this way.  Visual art, music, writing, dance, theater.  It's harder and harder to mine the wonder, the more you know.  But....and here's the good part....the really good stuff is way down deep.  Keep digging.  Take bigger risks.
There's nothing wrong with being unsatisfied.  It's the first step toward new growth. 
JCoelho Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional
Thanks for the insight Dan!

This makes a lot of sense.
pjperez Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Blah blah indeed. Just kidding, it's good to know we all go through this.
Bbedlam Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think it's good that you're never satisfied. It means you're striving to do something new and different (and hopefully better).  It's a good lesson for all artists. 
JoelGomez Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Good stuff, Dan.
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