Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vertigo Pop Tokyo 4, page 4

I posted this image a year and a half ago, on 8/9/07, with a brief commentary. I see that my comments have gotten longer as time goes on. Ever since I found the page where Seth wrote his hints to artists, I have been looking beneath the surface of his drawings for not just the content but the structure of the images and pages.
As fun and interesting as the content is, it turns out to be even more interesting (to me) to see how he put everything together. Especially in this Vertigo Pop series, where there are no superheroes or monsters, but everything happens in a more or less recognizable context, it is the structure of the pages that makes them truly amazing and memorable.

Somewhere in James Gurney's wonderful blog, (I can't find the place right now) he talks about the fact that artists who have worked on a figure have a tendency to put that figure out in the open with nothing in front to cover it up. Seth didn't seem to have that problem. Or, more likely, he overcame it--as good artists must do--in order to make his work better. He loved to draw crowds, groups of people all mashed together, sometimes in a frenetic jumble, as here. Each of the people in this page is memorable, but none of them is positioned just to show off the artist's skill. They are assembled to make a picture that has movement, excitement, and vigor. However, that does not mean that the figures are just thrown together as they would be in real life. In real life not all the faces show, not everyone is concentrating; someone would be picking her nose or scratching. This is carefully posed for maximum thrust. Smaller, lower positions in front, Mizumi reaching up with her gun in back, all faces showing. Still, I think it has an exaggerated but unposed look.

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