Wednesday, November 12, 2014

1033 - Kirby-esque Sylvia In Blue

My friend Earl and I ended up discussing what it would take to make a quick comic-book portrait of his wife Sylvia, as done in the style of legendary illustrator Jack Kirby.  

Kirby was renowned for his dynamic and fluid-looking character poses.  He knew perfectly how to balance weight with motion and action with line, and make it all look cohesive, dynamic, and appealing.  As I studied Kirby's technique, I discovered that he started his career as a low-level animator *cough* who ended up leaving the studio system because the work was too formulaic and he didn't get along with his directors *cough*cough*, and then took up illustration *cough*cough*cough* and got on with comic books and became famous for his work.  No more coughing, this is where he and I diverge.  

Kirby did hundreds of panels for romance  magazines before he got involved with Stan Lee's superheroes.  Maybe that's why Kirby developed a highly lyrical sense of composition for his work.  That, and he could work fast and draw simple, forceful characters, thanks to his training in animation. 

So, armed with this knowledge, I reverse-engineered Kirby's prototype female characters into Sylvia's portrait, and created the piece you see on today's JSVB post.

It's not Kirby in the strictest sense, but I did follow his notions of facial proportion to achieve this look.  My pencils aren't as tight as what many artists will draw, but it was a good start.  As a piece of trivia, pencils and inks in comic books will get reduced by up to 60% before publication!  That makes even a loose, sketchy penciller like me look like I've drawn a tight line every once in a while.