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Ashley Wood

Ashley Wood

A few years ago, about the same time I was leaving SWAMP, I randomly came across a webpage that showcased the artwork of Popbot. I had never heard of Ashley Wood, but I was immediately impressed by his painting style; his ability to quickly render a scene with clarity and emotion, in a different way than the clean precision of someone like Jean Giraud or François Schuiten. In fact, my first point of familiarity with the work was not other comic book artists (although I wasn’t yet familiar with Bill Sienkiewicz or Enki Bilal) but painters I studied long ago: Gustav Klimt, Egon Shiele, Edgar Degas, Francis Bacon. I was a bit put off by the story at the time, but over the past couple of years I have grown to like the content in an indescribable way – there is definitely more going on beyond the surface of sassy cats, bumbling robots and sexy women. Popbot lives on today in the form of collectable robot toys, which I’ll probably throw down some cash for at some point. It was really awesome when I learned one of my former students is actually working on this project with threeA. Meanwhile, I just received the entire Automatic Kafka series in the post -looking forward to reading through this. On a youtube video Wood was saying Automatic Kafka, while perhaps the least successful financially, was his favourite to work on.

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  • Tatum O’Neil – Paper Moon
  • Tatum O’Neil – Paper Moon

Tatum O’Neil – Paper Moon

A quick sketch of Tatum O’Neil from Paper Moon. A great film from 1973 – O’Neil became the youngest to win an academy award at the age of 10 for her role as Addie Loggins. The other page shows a couple of quick studies of Jodie Foster from the Paper Moon TV series (from ’74). I was researching this show as a reference for a character in a graphic novel I’m developing.

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François Boucq

Another recent discovery in the way of amazing French illustrators/comic book artists: François Boucq. I picked up a copy of Les pionniers de l’aventure humaine last month from eBay; now I wonder if I am going to have to take up French! In the meantime I can study these amazing panels during my studio breaks. This little paperback contains a treasure trove of lessons in colour, line, composition, character expression, etc. While there are plenty of interviews online (in French) it is hard to find much in the way of the artist at work. This clip reveals a glimpse of the ease with which subtle forms spring forth from Boucq’s brush.

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  • OINB studies
  • OINB studies
  • OINB studies
  • OINB studies

OINB studies

Studies from Orange is the New Black. This show is great – a reminder about the knife-edge balance between realism and crafted fiction. Instead of simply taking us into a glimpse of prison-society, the drama is tweaked by the protagonist being a very unlikely inmate. And some great acting by Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Adrienne C. Moore, Lea DeLaria and Samira Wiley (among others – but those are my favourite in the show).