Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Photorealism: "It's A High Wire Act"

Glamourpuss #13 (May 2010)
Art by Dave Sim

(from the 100 Hours Tour: TCJ, 31 January 2008)
Photorealism is a high wire act. Raymond, according to his long-time assistant (in Tom Roberts' new book) used to spend three days penciling a week of dailies and a day and a half inking them. It's very difficult to sit there and work on every little detail of the face and the eyes, labouring over it to get it right. There's the photo, there's the face. Erase and draw, erase and draw, erase and draw. And then when it comes time to ink you have to just go in splish splash swoop slash. Otherwise it doesn't look right -- it doesn't look as if Al Williamson did it. It's too tight, too laboured over. That's where the thin brush comes in. Deep breath and swoop using your whole arm, no time to stop and think. 100% confidence or as close to 100% as you can get. That's why you need to work on a strip for years before you genuinely develop that confidence. I'm using too many lines for classic Raymond School but I've only done 30 pages. You have to do 100s of strips to actually develop the confidence. Hal Foster admitted that he envied Raymond's brush line and admitted he couldn't get to that level. Considering the time Foster put into learning to draw that's quite an admission.

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