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Anime Transformation March 4, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Art History, Comics, Film, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
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Post by Sarah Ding

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Anime is a distinct art style that originated in Japan during the 20th century, in which Japanese filmmakers first became influenced by Western animation techniques. The highly successful Disney 1937 animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became a huge influence on manga artists, who simplified many of the techniques and styles of Walt Disney’s animations due to low budget and labor. Throughout time, the distinct look of anime has transformed significantly, and although there are numerous different styles of anime, they all  have common stylistic elements  typical to the anime style.

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So what exactly is the anime style? Although the features of the face and proportions of anime characters are exaggerated, they are not necessarily classified as cartoons. The most distinct feature of anime characters is their overly large eyes, in order to express their emotions through to the viewer.

However, recently anime has started to become extraordinarily more realistic in terms of the facial features. Even body proportions are beginning to fit the standard human proportions we would normally recognize. The most familiar form of anime could arguably be Sailor Moon, created by manga artist Naoko Takeuchi.

(above) Sailor Moon, A team of magical cute girls who are in reality magical warriors destined to save the Earth, and later the entire galaxy. Their features and proportions embody the look of anime girls.

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Anime might on the surface appear to all look very similar but is in fact quite varied. The anime style of Sailor Moon is remarkably different than the style the viewer sees in  Death Note, a well-known manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by manga artist Takeshi Obata.

(above) Two of the characters in Deathnote , Light Yagami, and “L” .

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The art and possibly even the story line has taken on a more realistic approach.  Here, the manga artist is deviating from the usual large eyes and small mouth characteristics that are typical of anime and drawing features more in proportion.

(above) Death Note illustrated by Takeshi Obata

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Although there will always be different variations of anime (from very generic to semi-realistic), I feel that this style in general is starting to become much more realistic by opening itself up to different influences and styles.

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Stephanie Wunderlich-Class Visit November 28, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Comics, Guest Visits, Handmade, Theatre.
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(above) Stephanie in class during her powerpoint presentation of her work.

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On Monday Nov. 8th German editorial illustrator Stephanie Wunderlich graciously came in to room 802 to speak, share her experiences,  and show some of her work to all four of the Soph. concepts classes.    Stephanie has clients both in the United States and Europe, which made for an interesting in-class discussion on the differences in art direction between the two.  Her illustration process involves  cutting and collaging paper and though Stephanie has worked all digitally at points in her career, the excitment of  traditional hand cut paper  is still the most attractive for her.

(above) The cover of  Spring #7   (right) a shot of Stephanie’s board in her studio.

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Stephanie is a regular contributor and collaborator for  Spring, a collective graphic magazine/comic published annually in Hamburg which  has contributions all by women. A few issues of this inspiring, 200 page. plus, illustrative, graphic experience  were passed around during Stephanie’s presentation.

(above) sing issues of Spring. below that is the June 08 issue of Spring /Alter Ego

(above) Stephanie holding a pop up book she designed and constructed to be used in the Play – Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht (Why the child cooks in the Polenta) – for the theatre Schausspielhaus Hamburg.  Additional pop-up spreads are on the right.

Stephanie also discussed the process behind creating illustrations/props that were used in a play in Germany. Theater  there  is subsidized    by the government and Stephanie explained that this subsidy facilitated experimental theatre.

Danke für Ihren Besuch Stephanie! (Thank you for visiting)

Jon Vermilyea Spills His Guts: Class Visit October 4, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Comics, Guest Visits, Narrative, Printmaking.
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Monday, Sept. 27th  Illustrator-self publisher-silk screener Jon Vermilyea came to class to show his work, talk about his influences, his process and to offer advice.  Our class was joined by Peter Hamlin’s concepts class and Veronica Lawlor’s drawing in motion class along with other visitors, so  a good crowd were present.  Jon brought a variety of his work and started right off with some tee shirt designs.

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A few  books Jon worked on were passed around and Jon spoke about connections he made in school and how that lead to self publishing. Jon attended SVA for cartooning. He also talked about the importance of school as a place to experiment and try different ways of working without the fear of failure.  Embracing opportunity seemed to be a theme of Jon’s presentation.

The fact that he self-published, created an animation music video  for Animal Collective (http://vimeo.com/2616231) silkscreened prints and has a tee shirt line among more traditional work like comics is fairly signifigant and one of the reasons I asked Jon to stop by.  Jon generates his own projects and I think does so with a lot of integrity .

(above) Jon walks us through his Venom cover redo.

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(above) The Animal Collective box set illustrated by Jon designed by Rob Carmichael

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(above) Jon explaining color choices on the Mothman screenprint for the Giant Robot (San Francisco) show One Hundred Beasts that ran for the book Beasts! Book 2 published by Fantagraphics.

Thanks again for stopping by Jon it was great.  Here is a link to Jon’s site www.jonvermilyea.com/

Jon Vermilyea Class Visit September 22, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Comics, Guest Visits, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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Here is a link to Jon’s web site to see more of his work-   http://www.jonvermilyea.com/

Inkstuds: The Radio Show about Comics December 31, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Artists, Comics, Graphic Novels, Visual Narrative, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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Despite the porn sounding name if you go to the Inkstuds site you will not find pictures of Jack Kirby giving you the full monty.  What you will find is a radio show out of Vancouver hosted by Robin McConnell thoughtfully discussing the art, creators, the industry, inspiration, history  and influence of comics.

McConnell’s show which has been “on the air” for the past 4 years offers an incredible range of interviewees  including ;  Ralph Steadman, Seth, Tony Millionaire, Joe Sacco,  James Jean, Barron Storey, Rutu Modan, Scott McCloud, Art Spiegleman on Chris Ware, Rick Geary…the list goes on.   I highly recommend  tuning in to the show and hearing the intelligent discussion that takes place.

Film & Graphic Novels, Twin Sons of Different Mothers December 8, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Books, Comics, Film, Story Boards, Visual Narrative.
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Since the advent of photography there has been a cross fertilization between the camera and the canvas. Early silent filmmakers were inspired by Gustave Dorés book illustrations (L’inferno 1911 by Francesco Bertolini). Film pioneer George Melies was influenced by illustrator Henri de Montaut’s work for Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, inspiration has see-sawed back and forth many times. Film noir influenced pulp images and early comics. Presently we’re seeing the trend of graphic novels being adapted to film. it makes perfect sense, The mediums are closely related and share a common visual vocabulary. Animation has long bridged (and blurred) the line between film and drawing.

Any one  interested in visual story telling; Comic books, graphic novels, story boards should include in their education a critical eye on film and a reading of  books that describe the visual narrative tools of film.  How to compose shots, visual sequence and how it affects a narrative, point of view, this is all the common vocabulary of telling a story visually whether it be in print or film.

Below are a few film books that I think bear looking at for your narrative education. Especially for those of you interested in storyboards. It then becomes extremely important to understand and speak in the language of film photography.

Setting Up Your Shots: Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know By Jeremy Vineyard

This is a basic book that describes different shots in film with an accompanying illustration and a suggestion of a film that employs an example of the shot. It’s written by a non-professional which has  strengths and weaknesses.

I like the book because it is so basic and written for someone who knows nothing about film. It will get you thinking along film lines very quickly. I have read criticism of the book that the names of shots in some cases is inaccurate and some of the examples of where you can see the shot are general which can be frustrating.

(Above) Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen:  by Stephen Katz

(Above) Master Shots: 100 Advanced Camera Techniques to Get an Expensive Look on Your Low-Budget Movie by Christopher Kenworthy.  Master Shots has an example of the shot in a film and different views of the shot using poser figures.

(Above) Storyboard Design Course: Principles, Practice, and Techniques by Giuseppe Cristiano

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The above is by no means all the books out there just a couple to start you thinking from the film side vs. the graphic novel/comic book side.

(Above) Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner is a fantastic book my a master story teller. One of the things that impresses me about this book is that Eisner addresses the concept of time in the narrative. How to depict a finite amount of time passing which i think is very much akin to film.

In the above panel Eisner has linked 2 simultaneous actions, the dripping faucet in the extreme foreground and the character entering.  The slow drip is the reference point for time. Looking at only 3 panels you can tell it has taken the character a long time to enter. That’s an understanding of visual narrative.  There is a wonderful Hamlet soliloquy drawn by Eisner in the book as well as other gems  that really show why he is considered  a master storyteller.   The book I’d say is an absolute to pick up.

Pinocchio…”I’ll be back” May 11, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Comics, Graphic Novels, Pinocchio, Puppets, Summer Reading Project, Uncategorized, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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Like the Terminator he seems to reference, Pinocchio is back, this time channeled through well known French comix artist Winshluss. His retelling of the classic children’s story was awarded the Fauve d’or (best comic book prize/ Gold Fauvre) at the 37th Angoulême International Comics Festival in France this year. Winshluss, is the pen name of Vincent Parannaud who might also be familiar to some as co-director with Marjane Satrapi on her animated film Persepolis.

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Winshluss has created a wonderfully dark, comic noir interpretation of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s story. The artwork is primarily done in pen and ink, and watercolor but switches to paint for larger splash panels. He references a terrific range of illustrative styles and history in the story from late 18th century pen and ink, to early French film pioneer Georges Méliès , through early Disney (don’t ask what indignities Snow White endures within these pages), and underground comix.

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Disney’s 1940 animated Pinoccho seems to have become the definitive version here in the U.S., Winshluss work is much closer to Collodi than Disney in spirit. Like Collodi’s originally serialized story of the wooden marionette, Winshluss updated version  was first published as serialized  chapters in Ferraille Illustré, a French comics journal. Winshluss’ graphic novel is an adult noir movie that at times is both comedy and tragedy. The narrative begins with a shooting, and then flashes back to Pinocchio’s creation (he is now a robot like android) and his subsequent adventures. Collodi’s original story, which is also darker (Pinocchio is hung, Jiminy Cricket is killed…) than Disney’s version and was first intended as an adult story. Both versions portray Pinocchio going from one manipulative situation to another. Winshluss has also injected politics into his story which also played a part in Collodi’s original.

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The Angoulême site described the book as an “Opera”, which it is in it’s visual lushness and drama. For the most part the book is wordless, with multiple character’s points of view all adding to the sum of Pinocchio’s story. Jiminy Cafard (Cafard translates as cockaroach as well as hypocrite and a feeling of severe depression), Pinochio’s companion provides the most talking in the book which seems appropriate, and provides comic relief.

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Most of his appearances are rendered in black and white. As of now Winshluss’ Pinocchio is only available in French (which won’t stop you from enjoying it even if you’re not a French speaker) and through overseas online merchants . Hopefully it will be distributed in the states in the near future.

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All images © Winshluss and or Les Requins Marteaux

An Ergot Is A Kind of Fungus April 4, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Comics, Student Post.
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By Mark Lev

In 2000, Sammy Harkham,  a cartoonist and a bookstore retailer based in Los Angeles,CA, started a comics anthology called Kramers Ergot. The first 2 editions had just four artists, including Harkham, (Harkham also has an ongoing comic book called “Crickets”) but each issue that followed grew significantly with additional contributors. The current issue is number 7.

kecover1The book grew into what is now a compilation of the best underground comics artists working today, in a giant-format (16”x21”), with each contributor complete given complete freedom to do whatever they want. The result is as diverse and interesting as you’d expect, with work ranging from meticulous narrative to complete abstraction. The book is beautiful, weird, sometimes overwhelmingly dense, but is generally visual storytelling at its best. The large format is about the same as early 20th century ‘broadsheets’, which gave the comics space and freedom to use the potential of the whole paper; the drawings are saturated both visually and content-wise. In fact, the amount and quality of content makes one [almost] feel OK about the book’s $125 price tag…

Contributors to the book range from the famous (Daniel Clowes, Matt Groening, Kim Deitch, Chris Ware, Seth, etc…) to the not so well known. Most comics are a single page, but some range from 1-4 pages. Ware contributes a two-page comic about a sleeping baby printed at life-size. Matt Groening contributes an homage to “The Road to Success” .  Clowes includes a one-page, more-noir-than-usual comic called Sawdust. Many other, less well-known artists get to experiment with the book’s generous dimensions, being as lucid or as incoherent as they need. The anthology has been compared to Art Spiegelman’s RAW magazine from the 80s, and in many ways is just as important. If you’re into comics, this is a must read.

ke1(Top left) Richard Sala   (Top right) Matt Groening,  (Bottom) Canadian artist Shary Boyle

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(Above Left) (Above right ) Matt Furie

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(Above Top left) French artist Blexbolex

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Sammy Harkham , Kiel Phegley is the interviewer. You can read the full interview on Kiel Phegley’s blog, Four Color Forum.

KP: So I was wondering to start, for you is there any kind of guiding editorial principal behind the book beyond “these are cartoonists I love,” or did you just want a forum to bring artists you knew under one banner?

SH: It is pretty much that. It’s comics that I love. And a lot of it is work that isn’t coming out regularly from other places and to do something which presents the work in as great a way as possible. For me, that means giving artists space. If they want to do something in color, they can do it in color. The average issue is slightly larger than a comic book. Just wanting to present the work in a way that’s really unobtrusive…respectful but also making it so it has the energy of comics. I don’t have introductions to each cartoonist. I don’t have an editor’s forward or any of that stuff. I don’t even have page numbers because I want to whole to have a very visceral kind of punch the same way picking up comics when you’re younger has – of discovering something amazing whether it’s Faust or X-Men or Dan Clowes. There’s that energy of picking something up that you respond to that you’ve never seen before and just having your eyeballs melt. I didn’t really feel like there was an anthology like that. And so the goals of each issue slightly change, but I’d say the foundation of it is always that.

KP: What struck me outside the general size of the book and how that affected the style of the strips on a practical level was…you know, I interviewed Art Spiegelman a few weeks ago and with that I re-read In The Shadow of No Towers, and while there he’s working in a larger, board book format, he very much said, “I’m going to do a kind of homage to classic newspaper strips.” He’s using the same character types and cartooning styles in some places. But Kramers 7 doesn’t do that as much, despite the fact that the Nemo book is the keystone everyone talking about it points to.

142161SH: [With past issues of Kramers] sometimes people were so inclined to say, “This isn’t comics.” And to me, it’s straight up comics. And with this new issue, I thought that in deciding that it’s all going to be comics – no art, no sketchbooks, only comics – I knew that it was making that connection between this work where some of it is looked at as kind of far out and saying, “No. It has a connection to something like Windsor McCay or Popeye.” And there is that element of wanting to connect it and have a through line from then until now.

(above) Sammy Harkham, at Desert Island in Williamsburg, Brooklyn were an all-day booksigning for Kramers Ergot 7 was held in 2008.  Harkham is also the cover artist.  (from http://www.artloversnewyork.com/artlovers/report/2008-12-10.html)

Contributors to Kramers Ergot No. 7  are: Rick Altergott, Gabrielle Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Blanquet, Blex Bolex, Conrad Botes, Shary Boyle, Mat Brinkman, John Brodowski, Ivan Breunetti, C.F., Chris Cilla, Jacob Ciocci, Dan Clowes, Martin Cendreda, Joe Daly, Kim Deitch, Matt Furie, Tom Gauld, Leif Goldberg, Matt Groening, John Hankiewicz, Sammy Harkham, Eric Haven, David Heatley, Tim Hensley, Jaime Hernandez, Walt Holcombe, Kevin Huizenga, J. Bradley Johnson, Ben Jones & PShaw, Ben Kathchor, Ted May, Geoff Mcfetridge, James Mcshane, Jerry Moriarty, Anders Nilsen, John Pham, Aapo Rapi, Ron Rege Jr, Xavier Robel, Helge Reumann, Florent Ruppert & Jerome Mulot, Johnny Ryan, Richard Sala, Souther Salazar, Frank Santoro, Seth, Shoboshobo, Josh Simmons, Anna Sommer, Will Sweeeney, Matthew Thurber, Adrian Tomine, Carol Tyler, Chris Ware, and Dan Zettwoch.

All copyrights for images in this post are either  © 2008 Buenaventura Press, or the individual artist.

The Lexicon of Comicana September 3, 2008

Posted by leskanturek in Books, Comics, Uncategorized.
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Did you know there are names for all those shorthand marks that cartoonists employ to show say motion in an object or person, or the misc. symbols that convey a character is cursing up a blue streak?

Cartoonist Mort Walker who draws Beetle Baily, and Hi and Lois among other strips, has also published a lexicon that attaches names to all the visual symbols that cartoonists employ to indicate motion or dizzyness, to name a few.

The misc. type characters that are used to denote a character spewing curses are called Grawlixes according to Mort. So, read the lexicon, impress your professors, and come off as the erudite art scholar you knew you always were.

Frankenstein on Comic Book Covers August 27, 2008

Posted by leskanturek in Class Topics, Comics, Frankenstein, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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The story/myth of Frankenstein has been universally lauded, perpetuated, and reinterpreted in any art form you can name, that of course include comic books. As I mentioned in another post the beauty of Mary Shelly’s story lies in it’s fluidity. It’s acceptable for Frankenstein (the creature) to be a victim and monster , or in the case of comics, both hero and villian. Below is a small cross section of covers I’ve found on the web. Let me know of any other notable ones you’ve found and I’ll add them.

A few interesting thoughts; comics already have many Frankenstein-esque characters, I’m thinking mostly Marvel here. The Hulk (he is Jekyll and Hyde too), Ben Grim/ The Thing, The Vision, to name a few. All these characters question their place in humanity and have bouts of “if I can’t be a part of society, I’ll destroy it”. Their creation was, like Frankenstein facilitated by science. The actual Frankenstein monster then occupies a special place. In some stories it’s the old guard meeting the new, sometimes it’s just overlapping continuity, ie; what would happen if Captain America went to Transylvania? Recently the creature emerges in comics as full blown hero, again adding to the Frankenstein myth.

Please note that I have tried to select only comic books and have not included graphic novels(other than the Classics Illustrated. The graphic novels are another ball of wax and very, very worthy of discussion.