Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On not using references: Big in Japan issue 1 page 18

Yesterday I was talking about the fact that toward the end of his career Seth stopped using reference material at all. He wanted to draw entirely from his imagination.
So this series is done without use of any books to refer to. It is, of course, a good story for that--wild, crazy, and full of monster-silliness. Though it IS set in the real (though with its own weirdness) city of Tokyo.
Seth knew the inside of a public restroom well enough for the first frame; the inside of a Japanese apartment well enough for the second one; the front of the museum he made up; and the other two frames are dominated by the monsters themselves.

Seth had the capacity of picturing a scene, and then turning it around in his head, so that he could see it in his mind's eye from all sides. This is a skill that he developed on his own. He could probably picture a scene pretty well anyway, but he worked on turning it around mentally, so that he could draw it from any point of view. There are computer programs that do it for you, but as far as I know Seth never had one; it was faster and more convenient for him to be able to do it himself.

This sort of skill really helps with perspective, because when you draw by the laws of perspective, you have to be able to recognize visually that you have it right. It's similar to understanding mathematical equations. You may not have done the arithmetic exactly right, but if you have an understanding of about what the answer should be, you will recognize if your figuring is off by too much.

In any case, this is a funny page. A page of comic relief. Nothing big is happening; the monsters are making many small, annoying entrees into the city around the museum. Each frame is a separate vignette where people are encountering monsters where they didn't want them.

1 comment:

j_ay said...

Suuuuuuuuuuch a gReAt page