Artists, notoriously, are poor as church mice, so the problem of getting an artist together with his biggest influence's original artwork is always going to be problematic.
Although I went to Syracuse University to look at Stan Drake's papers in the Bird Library more as a researcher (for glamourpuss) than as an artist, obviously the artist part of me "tagged along". I could comfortably afford to stay in a hotel near the campus for two or three days. Hotel rooms are not cheap. The Library has a good seven or eight years' worth of HEART OF JULIET JONES originals, dailies and Sunday pages. What I needed to do was to find the best examples of different aspects of Stan Drake's work in the shortest period of time and get them photocopied by the university up to a maximum of 100.
So there I was with piles of HOJJ dailies in a highly polished communal research room and having to look at them and assess them at an unnaturally fast pace. UNDERSTANDING STAN DRAKE in a very compressed time-frame. There was a lot more to understand in the original artwork than I could EVER have gotten from the reprint collections.
"I bet this isn't going to 'fly'" I remember thinking as I did the most obvious and sensible thing with a pile of daily strips. Tilted them to a 45 degree angle, balancing them between my abdomen and the edge of the research table. You need to look at comic art at an angle so you're looking at it "square on" to best understand it. Sure enough, that was against the rules. The artwork must be flat on the table. I've been handling artwork all my life, no danger. But...rules is rules.
It does illustrate a major problem, however: how to make comic art accessible to another artist in its most useful form: at an angle.
You also really need to be ALONE with the artwork and your own thoughts and observations -- and that's always going to be problematic as well. I wouldn't describe the Heritage Auctions showroom at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion in NYC as noisy and distracting per se (that was the only place where I've actually seen and held and observed closely two Alex Raymond RIP KIRBY originals back in 2013), but relative to what your "artist self" needs to actually LEARN from original artwork, as opposed to what your pure "fan self" can derive in the "Oh, COOL!" scheme of things, it was definitely not ideal. The University research room was closer to idea but only somewhat closer.
Somewhat closer -- when you're the guy who has to set up where and how your artwork can be viewed in perpetuity -- just isn't going to cut it.
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