Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith

Some time ago, I posted a couple of paper figures of Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn, the writer and artist of the Sixth Gun (I would have drawn colorist Bill Crabtree, too, but we've never met and I don't know what he looks like!).  Well, these were only two of a much larger batch of paper figures that I was intending to post weeks ago... and I got too busy to finish them.  Well, I'm still busy, but they're all drawn, and I can spare the five-ten minutes it takes to color them if I only do one a day.  So that's how I'm gonna do it.  I'm not posting the print file until the whole thing is done, but I'll post up the drawings over the next week or so.

So, here's the first (if you don't count Cullen and Brian) in the CARTOONISTS I LIKE set!  I had a few rules for myself when making these:

1. I only allowed myself to do people whose work I was a fan of before I ever met them.  There are way too many people whose comics I've come to know through knowing them first, and I figured that it would be weird to draw some of my friends and not others (not to say that some of the ones I've drawn haven't become friends in recent years, and that those are friendships that I treasure, only that I was a fan of the ones I'm doing here before I had the chance to make any of their acquaintances).

2. I'm somewhat loose in my definition of cartoonist.  Many of these folks are cartoonists, but some are writers or artists who rarely if ever dabble in the other field.

I think that's it.  Anyway, here's a couple to start you off.  These guys are first up because, of this whole bunch, these are the ones with whose work I was first familiar, and who are in many ways responsible for me doing comics, at least in the way that I do them.

Stan Sakai is the creator of the long-running (almost thirty years!!!) comics series Usagi Yojimbo, an epic story set in feudal Japan and using animals as its cast.  I can never say enough good things about Usagi.  If you're interested, I had the good fortune to get to interview Stan as part of the Comics Journal's "Conversations" series a few years ago, and you can read it here. Currently, Stan is taking a break from Usagi to draw the story of the 47 Ronin.

Jeff Smith is the creator of a few comics now, but the one that first grabbed my attention (and everyone else's was the comic/fantasy BONE. Jeff's aesthetic was a huge influence on me when I started out, and I still read and reread his work whenever I get the chance.  He recently completed his second big creator-owned series RASL, a science-fiction noir story.

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