Achilles Heels

All artists have their weaknesses, they follow them around from year to year, tripping them up in ways that they’ve tripped them up since they were formative little artlettes doodling in their maths books.

These are distinct from an artist just being bad at drawing a thing, being bad just requires practice, then you’re good. A weakness is something you can never seem to get right and so start to avoid them where possible.

I have a serious number of them, and I’ve conquered a few. The conquering of them is sometimes a question of recognising that they are achilles heels – and not skating past them as fast as you dare (is that a mixed metaphor? I feel it is).

The second way of conquering is to draw the damn things over and over and over again. Repeat and repeat and repeat. It’s pretty boring as an exercise though, so if you can somehow start to increase the number of times those weak points turn up in your comic art they can quickly become strengths.

In the past I’d’ve said big weakness of mine was vehicles, well, thank god for 3d software. It’s still a weakness, but for the most part I’m able to setup some vehicles in trace over them and turn them into convincing art. Problem solved. And in fact, just tracing over vehicles day in day out has meant I know have a decent handle on drawing them, and will sometimes just draw the damn things as it’s still quicker to do that than to do a 3d traceover.

Mike Mignola has said in the past one of his big weakness was drawing in perspective and so, he said, he just stopped using perspective, and that’s done him no harm whatsoever.

No Vanishing Points here.

For me, the current weaknesses that keep me awake at night (and again distinct from just being a thing I’m not good at yet) are tiny faces, tiny people in the background, mingling with their tiny stupid faces and their eyes – THEIR EYES. TINY TINY FACE WITH TINY TINY EYES.

Do I do dots? Proper faces with eyebrows and eyelids, and NO – THEY’RE TOO SMALL! BUT I MUST DRAW EYES… or must I?

Oh god. Well, another restless night then.

The Small Faces

Drawing these digitally is harder still, because you can get zoomed right in, shrink your pen and start drawing little features with little eyes and nostrils and nose hairs and pimples and wotnot, but who the hell is gonna be able to see them?

the New Small Faces

Anyway, that’s a problem for me which I’m working on, I promise.

It does tend to exacerbate my tendacy towards cartoony too, so you can end up with a lot of dots for eyes and little round headed tin tin like characters, but it’s not always appropos.

A similair weakness for me is buildings in perspective. In 2000ad I never bother – why would you? those buildings are sorts of crazy shapes, but I think, If I’m ever asked to draw spider-man, I suspect I might have to pull a Mignola and just not bother using perspective.