Monday, October 10, 2011

Anatomy of a Bimbo (...comic, that is. )

Below is a page from it My Inner Bimbo, a book most of you have heard me talk about. In this page, the bimbo transforms from a sex fantasy, into a pink seal, and finally to death itself.  

But before we get into all of that heavy crap...

Here's something FUN and a piece of art I love: Farnese Hercules. It's a pretty famous greek sculpture, and the roman copy of it is even better.  Interesting how different it looks in dramatic relief lighting vs flat lighting. A whole different mood, huh?

I was so impressed by this work, i decided to payed homage to it in My Inner Bimbo comic.

At the time i was pretty proud of this page. I dug the original page out today to look at again. Yeah, I know it's technically not as realistic as the sculpture, but obviously not supposed to be. You can see i also wanted to see how far i could push that arm hugging the object he's leaning against into a big circular half moon by getting rid of the muscle contour lines altogether.

This morning, since I have a ton of work-for-hire deadlines ... i of course brazenly decided to do take an hour, and pump out some more studies of it. I wondered how different it would look today? Had i changed since i drew it all of 8 years ago?

Obviously I'm knee-deep in the brown paper mixed media stuff, different colored pencils and brushes, but what i was trying to get at is different textures, sharp 'cubist ' angles vs. the more soft lush swirls i tried... which don't think i caught the first time around. What do you guys think? Too different to really compare?

Illustration isn't what i have to offer, there's tons of figure artists who can draw circles around me. So, since i consider myself mainly a cartoonist, (or as Mike Dringberg once called me, a 'stylist', which applies to me pretty well too.)

... i went back to pushing that tricep to ridiculous proportions again... * sigh * ... just cant help it!

Below is another pencil version of Lo's face... which i used in the Bimbo comic... vs. the Sketchbook cover I did a colored version of. The nose got a little bigger in the color one, i never noticed that before.

A friend of mine is plowing through the bimbo comic, and had some interesting things to say about my styles on it - Don't feel guilty if you haven't gotten to it yet, it's probably the least read book i've drawn. Another reason it was 'critically acclaimed', but sold so poorly was... I easily spent about one year drawing each issue, - so it was LATE as hell!

This spread below (the first is raw pencil work, the second has some tones and monkeying in photoshop i added)... but this splash pretty much shows a good cross section of the whole books styles ranges. Like Brian Dixon and Frank Patriot say, all different thicknesses, textures of line.

It's also a homage, nod to this amazing victorian painting by John White Alexander, called Repose.  It seemed fitting since the themes in bimbo were all about stripping down the idealized view of female beauty. Plus that swooping gown and black stripe is such a killer visual! Course my modest effort pales compared to the original.

But despite nods to other artists I admire ... and many awkward artistic moments i bimbo, actually... pound for pound... art wise, it's probably the most diverse work I've done so far.

Plus it says the most about me as an artists (let alone personally) than anything i've done so far too.

Above is a page where the main character a man named Lo stays up all night, considering suicide. Thus, his Bimbo ( which is inside of him) also stays up considering the same thing, and a cat urges her on. Pretty dark stuff in real life, but this comic was my way of dealing with it, in a story. Fortunately those days are in the past now.

Here's another example: Technically, I sometimes i cringe over much of the fumbling photoshop layers above... weirdly i'm both ashamed of these, yet proud that, clumsy as the layers are... that's pretty much where i was back then.

Lost of us old farts are pretty lame with using photoshop. Myself included. It seems younger people just intuitively take to is more smoothly.

Here's a few examples of what i mean, the 'raw' page as i call it, no layers. Then a wet in wet i did by hand and dropped over the boards in photoshop, for better and worse.

If i remember right, it's supposed to be a sword wrapped in a blanket Hercules is leaning against.  In the comic i played off this by giving Lo a surreal blunderbuss flint lock gun.  Then later i modified the same art so the bimbo was leaning against her seal.

Ojo: Bitmap vs. Halftone.
Lastly, I forgot we bitmapped the first issue of Ojo art. Bitmapping converts all the art to sharp line blacks or white art. But my work seems to breath easier and look better in Halftone (or Grayscale, which is the example on the right.)

What do you guys think? I agree Bitmap does sharpens the blacks and line work better. But see how the brush lines on Annie's arm.. and the pillow... show up better in Grayscale?

Seems like there's an overall 'warmer' feel to Grayscale, or is that just me?


Bonus: Answers to Comments: (these comments are 'decorated' with the last 6 pages of my Inner Bimbo comic - - i tried to juxtipose images from the book, so the focus isn't pretty pictures, but instead just snapshots of Lo's life... it'll seem a little random bit it makes since when you read the whole comic - hint hint!)

.. yeah Cody, everyone mentions my trees and plants. I should do a book of plants/trees... weird monsters... Indy girls... course that stuff sorta pops up in everything i do anyways, eh? Cool that Frank and others are always looking out for known or lesser known artists, i am too!

Without Berni Wrightson or Mark Bode I'd have never found Graham Ingels or a underground guys like Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Skip Williams, Robert Armstrong.

I'm always on the look out for inspiration anywhere. I know not everyone will be into who I like, but the imaginary line between lo and high art is at it's worst damaging and ludicrous. But Once you pass through the door of illustration, there's a ton of cool crap bouncing around what's classified as post modern or conceptual art too... at least from what little I've seen.

I don't think I could have drawn the Maxx series if it weren't for everything from Graffiti artists like Ces53, Shepard Fairy, Tod Hanson, (yeah, some of these guys came *after* the maxx, but i jumped forward in time to get inspired by them), many of whom also swallowed up Bode's style..

..or classic outsider collage dudes like Filipe Jesus Consalvos from the 1930s or Paul Klee, or a couple of new artists I've discovered like Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and one of my favorites is a painter named Ainslie Roberts who paints mostly aboriginal art

And to close here's a animated short Tony White did about my favorite Japanese painter Hokusai. Who's famous Wave Painting I managed to work into the climax of the Bimbo book...

Yikes - enough art-talk-crap already! ...back to real life, eh? 


the danman can said...

Sam - curious what your thoughts are on Tamara de Lempicka.

jennifer kraska said...

Yay art talk crap!!
I prefer the halftone IMHO.

Joanie Koontz said...

My Inner Bimbo is my favorite comic book of all time. To me, it's a perfect example of a story that couldn't have been expressed using any other form of art. It embraces WHY comics are made in the first place. I'm considering getting something from it incorporated into a tattoo, but i haven't perfected any ideas yet.

Frank Patriot said...

Glad you mentioned Crumb. Although I'm not a fan of the subject matter he covers sometimes, I love his honesty. He is the reason I draw some of my people with 'mickey mouse' eyes (that look like a black pac man.) I did buy his book where he draws the Old Testament. I found it kinda funny that someone who is is a far cry from being 'religious' would be so faithful to the original text without inserting his views in there. Also, its awesome to know you redraw certain pieces of classical art in a 'comic' style, Sam. I do that too, just to see if I can do it (its an exercise in humility most times). So far, i've only been able to capture Pollock pretty well (lame joke). Thanks for mentioning more artists I've not heard of before. I'll check them out.

champloo said...

Hi sam, first i must apologize for my english, but here are the questions:
in the pictures where you are drawing with your left hand, the pencils are covered with some kind of sponge... why is that?
and second, the drawing of the statue with that super exagerated arm is awesome for so many reasons!! that was the kind of things in your drawings that made me stay when i was like 10 years old staring at them trying to understand why they look so fabulous to me...
thanks for sharing so much of your stuff!!

Sam said...

Thanks so much for breaking things down like this! It's been a while since I've read My Inner Bimbo, but am I correct that you put some song lyrics in it? You may have used multiple songs for all I know, but I remember noticing the lyrics to "Heart, Liver, Lungs" by The Bananas. I don't have the comic or the CD near me so I could be wrong about the song, but am I right or even close?

Anonymous said...

A little comment regarding what you said about MY INNER BIMBO: "'s probably the least read book i've drawn. Another reason it was 'critically acclaimed', but sold so poorly was... I easily spent about one year drawing each issue,..."

I would mention that it might have sold poorly because it simply didn't exist in the market for anyone to know about. I heard that you were doing a comic called MY INNER BIMBO, but no amount of internet searching over the years lead me find any way to find it, let alone purchase it. I thought it might have been one of those things that gets announced but never gets off the ground (sort of like IDW's Art of Sam Kieth book). I was finally, delightfully surprised when I found it listed as a compiled book some time ago.

It was a really great book with a lot of art allusions in it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it was really densely packed with lots of little panels. If you ever have it printed again, consider an oversized printing.

With this new blog of yours (that you've been updating regularly) I'm sure you'll find more readers coming back to you again because they'll know what projects you're working on.

-Paul O'Keefe

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