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words by publicinsomniac

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Submitted on
March 6


5,156 (3 today)
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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  Student
very cool. thank you!
JasonTormos Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014   Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing!! :)
Vikrapuff Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
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
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