Monday, November 16, 2009

inspiration from Seth: Happydale page 46

After Happydale was published, DC Comics sent Seth back his original drawings. He was so excited to have his own first comic book out in print. He was living here in San Diego at the time, and asked me if there was a page from Happydale that I would like. I went all through the pages, searching for an interesting one with a sort of human scale, that I could relate to. I am not sure really, why I chose this one. I guess I liked the guys hanging out at the local diner, doing regular things in their loopy Happydalian sort of way.

This picture hangs above my drawing table, where I look at it every day as I sit down to draw. It inspires me in many ways. First there is the fact that each of the characters is entirely recognizable, not only from his oddnesses, but from his facial features. I'd know Stretch's face even if he didn't have all the loose skin hanging from it, and Dino's even without the costume.
Next there is the fully realized setting. The decorative brickwork and the things on the shelf are only seen in a few panels, and have nothing to do with the story, but they are part of the whole ambience, and so Seth drew them in. It is as though this was a real place that Seth had been to, even if only in his imagination, and he could see in his mind's eye all the little bits that decorate the walls and shelves.
The other thing that inspires me is the realness of the facial and body language of the participants. The busboy clears the next table and someone lugs a box outside while our guys are bickering at their table and Dino is returning from the men's room. Sherman the waiter comes by with his tray and a half smile while Stretch works on his drink and Dino on his joint.
Seth doesn't point in an exaggerated way at any of these elements; they are just everyday parts of the page. The care and precision that has gone into all of it shows me just how very much I still have to learn. But the fact that Seth did learn it means that it can be done.
I am inspired daily.

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