Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eight Variations on a series of shapes.

Thanks for everyone's patience! .. missed last week  posts, so hopefully THIS one'll make up for it... !


Here's a link to what Jon thinks is my strongest chickens page yet...

I actually prefer the one NEXT week page (which may be going up today) called "Anatomy of a sexists drawing" because I'm proud of the fact it's possibly the most ugly-honest Chickens page I've done so far. In fact i challenged Wayshak to try to paint something as unfinished-ugly as this, so he may kick my ass and do it, well see.


After hanging out last week alex and skinner last week..  finished an interview together.. and put on freaky masks afterwords for no apparent reason...

...i got TOTALLY INSPIRED and by it all... and wanna try some collaborations with Alex, Skinner, Dave Correia too, these guys do the same thing for me Wayshak does.. wake me up! Make me not take crap, myself, my life... for granted. Any excuse to brush off the barnacles  and shake off the moss, eh?

Well, a little moss is cool, but still..


Meanwhile (comic book cliche' there)... here's a few mixed panels from The Hollows, first and second issues.

Kinda can feel it the whole Hollows issue coming together.  I did used some black border, a few digital darkening tricks,

...but over-all it feels rather moody, rougher ( which is what i wanted) and hand-drawn and organic to me. Above is  a more finished version of that page i posted before.

The Hollows are less zombie or vampire like.. and more ghostly which i think seems to suits this book better. This sucker should be out for Christmas.

 I like the winged dude and the little girl, but the little pink guy, urp is my favorite so far.

I think it's cool to just a snippit of a panel, a teaser... then later see the whole image in the printed book.

Ops, grabbed this instead... obviously an aliens page.. oh what the heck... may as well leave it up. This 8 page stories came out in Dark horse presents, but it'll be collected in a trade later so you may just wanna wait for that.


Here's one of the few MCP covers i really enjoyed at the time, and still DO like.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit this page with eight different versions of it in a new larger painting..

I did in a series of drastically different styles. It's not trying to seriously compete with the old cover... more of a wink to the old classic one i did.  

I won't publish it, i just did it for a gallery piece. Just a goofy-assed experiment. Interesting when you break it down, how simple a composition really is.. it could have been drawn any any style. 

Course no way Marvel would have published it in a comic if i gone THIS crazy way back then.  

This feels really feeing in a way for me.. can't explain WHY really.. 

I've yet to mount them to a canvas yet, but here they are.  Sort of a meditation on what makes the 101 cover work, (if it does work)... as a composition... is just a series of shapes and colors. 

There's no denying my art IS startlingly different now,  

Or is it?  Some people tell me it's often less detailed,  or sometimes messier or simpler. 


Btw, quick aside: check this out... recognize this? turn it sideways... and you'll see it's painted OVER that old mother child drawing i did last month? 


Here's a version on black britsol. 

anyway.... but, on a good day, hopefully my current my art sometimes possessing a subtlety ( my asian or trees stuff) or abstract quality ( fashion or, well.. abstracts! ) stuff that i wasn't... ABLE. or even WILLING to even try back then, 

..let alone to pull off. 

Not a legal way, but in a philosophic or conceptual wa  these make me ask myself, how can a series of of shapes and colors BE an intellectual property? 

Does a yellow circular body and boxy knees make wolverine? Maxx, legs, the trout all too have that sam kieth 'hunched over back' i always draw... don't they? 

I always felt this way about the sandman, he's just ANY guy in a dark robe with black hair, is't he? It was neil's stories that brought him to life. 

When fans say they want me to draw the Maxx again, they're just saying they want a "Purple hunched over shape" which their mind recognizes as "Maxx"... instead than wolverines' yellow shape, which is the same one as Maxx's shape, just in a different color. 

Course i know... emotionally... i get there IS more to it than that.

I understand that, that like Neil did, in my own humble way, i too filled in a whole story, characters, struggled and dramas that brought that purple shape to LIFE. 

However,  i still maintain it was YOU, MY readers' imagination that brought anything i created to life.  My reader's creativity that did the 'heavy lifting', not just my pencil or brush.  

And if you strip it down... doesn't it seem almost it's like zero-girl? .. everything almost IS just series of friendly.. or unfriendly.. shapes. 

When alex/skinner dropped by... i was able to see some of my old art... through their un-jaded eyes.. it reminded me how accepting you ALL are... so good and nurturing of my old and new stuff. 

These younger artists, and YOU guys/gals on the blog ... all help me see it's any dichotomy is mostly in my OWN head. All 'sam stuff' is all my art work IS as a continuous universe, which, duh... it totally is. 

So of all of these... all 8 new ones and the old classic MCP cover, which one is MY personal fav? 

Hard to choose just one?  

....but THIS is probably the closest to my heart, 

and my obsessive japanese brush painting sensibilities these days. 


ant said...

All looking good, The "wolverine" you picked as your fav, looks like an elephant, was that intentional, or is it me? It's definitely an elephant.

Aaron Desira said...

Hey Sam,

There is a nine inch nails album called beside you in time. I discovered you when I was a kid watching the mtv oddities, my dad who is not creative, loved the animated maxx. I know its stupid to say and I hope you dont find it creepy but I feel lucky and get a great feeling of worth to be beside you in time ( I mean, beside your sharing of your art, not you the person, Whom I dont know :P)Not just you, but alot of artists of today, and sure salvidor dali is great even though he is long gone but theres nothin like seeing the creation and the changing minds of the living artists out there. Those abstracts of wolverine cover ( which I agree, is wicked good job) the shapes in my mind showed me a baby elephant walking away from the viewer. Abstracts are freaky like that. It must go right back to when we saw shapes in a bush at night and wondered wether to run or not. Also loving how raw and the random musings on the chickens pages, theres something of a perfection in the way you you use text in comics, I cant explain it. Anyway, I'm making bumper stickers. Wish me luck, haha.

take it easy dude

Aaron Desira said...

haha ant. Seconded

Derek Oberg said...

Wow, I love these. Was the girl's face in the black one (2nd on first row) something that you painted over? It works out very well. I think I'm partial to the entire bottom row as well.

Rafael Only said...

Hi, Sam!

It was totally worth to wait to this post!
I really dig the orange and blue MCP cover version, and the one with spirals over Wolverine too.
And yes... this conversation you propose about the shapes really reminds me about Zero Girl's philosophical background too.
And I loved the 'Alien' page close up!
Nice to see you!

Marcus Collar said...

this nails it right here:

"When fans say they want me to draw the Maxx again, they're just saying they want a "Purple hunched over shape" which their mind recognizes as "Maxx" "

it's weird when Dave wasn't in the Maxx eventually as the stories progressed and we got to see other outbacks besides Julie, I remeber you saying something in the response to a letter to the effect........ that it's not the music or art it's where we are at, at the time we internalize those experiences

I eventually would just pour through the letters in the maxx and see how hard it was to get folks away from the color Purple. But yeah we don't really need a MAxx sequel we all just need to buy the graphic novels or find the originals and read them until the edges are worn...

I'd say Maxx was easily just one cool little corner of the WORLDS OF SAM KIETH!!!

Marcus Collar said...

oh and yeah I kinda want to see the original cover loosely layered over each of the fine art variants...oh and I think the one with the swirly yellow pattern is the best reminds me of Lola's bathtub I think it was lola?

ok sir so cool to see you and your new crew with masks on and that little DOG!!! "hey look at that DAWG"(imagine Jersey accent)

jennifer kraska said...

Dog looks unimpressed by the whole thing.

My favs are the yellow swirls one and the orange and blue one ( orange and blue are very attractive to me for some reason)

Very cool that you got to see your work through others eyes. I envy that. Also think that it is awesome that you can gain inspiration from it. It's hard to create in a vacuum.

Be well Sam.


Oh, soooo looking forward to seeing Hollows, it feels really cool. I know what I'm asking Santa for!

Cloud9 said...

Thanks Sam
Bravo on the body of work recently. I'll be sure to pick up the DHP issues. TPB aside, I'm a sucker for OP's.

Distrakt said...


adrian from Poland :P said...

Hi Sam,
Are You sure that ALIENS story will be collected in tpb? How many pages will it contain? 64? Is it enough for tpb?
I'd love to buy it in a prestige format just like your 'Blood Hungry' but honestly it doesn't matter if it's one shot, tpb, hc or whatever. I'm buying it anyway :)

John Pannozzi said...

Hey, Sam, will the rest of the Trout-A-Verse stories ever come out? Not to put pressure on you, but it's been nearly five years since the end of My Inner Bimbo, and I'd like to see the remaining six stories come out in a reasonable amount of time (i.e., before my death). But having any stuff come out from you at all is a gift, and I love your art more than almost anyone else in the American comic book industry, so, keep on drawing.

Your biggest fan,
John P.

cody said...

Awesome post love the covers there all so different and rad the wolverine with yellow and brown swirly one especially, can not wait for hollows, but really excited to hear that your doing this for a gallery and you didn't mention you bein in juxtapozed so cool, congrats!

Peter Marquardt said...

Dear Sam, I've just recently remembered that I really liked The Maxx as animated series on MTV back in the day. I wasn't into comics then, but I am now, and I'd very much love to read what there is of The Maxx in comic form. Unfortunately they seem to be hard to come by, Vol. 1 going somewhere for 142 euros even. I know that other works you contributed to have been published digitally via comixology. What do I have to do to persuade you to publish The Maxx digitally via Comixology, too?

AnkHknA said...

Hey Sam. These are very very cool. Thank you for sharing with us all your different methods, mediums, the tools you use, the ideas and sketches. with each new one posted, i get excited about whatever is forthcoming for our eyes to drool over (or maybe it's just my keyboard that gets drooled, lol).

i also wanted to thank you personally for signing some of my Maxx comics way back when (in 1998). i wrote to thank you and i think i remarked on the index card you sent, obliging to sign them, asking if you wrote the note or someone else,and for that i tried to apologize later in an email as i felt like a jackass about that.So,for that, i am sorry. & i read in the F.I.Q. about "going back home" or something of the like when asked about doing The Maxx again. It's interesting, as i recently plled out all my Maxx comics,set them up on one of my book cases, and am currently reading the whole series starting with Darker Image 1. Anyhoo. Apologies for such a long ramble here. i just wanted to say Your art,Your stories (especially The Maxx), helped me through lots of difficult times way back when,and i continue to cherish each and every piece of your art and story in my collection. i absolutely love OJO & Zero Girl. i need "Bimbo",and am curious about the rest of the "Trout-A-Verse" series.Any news on them? Again.. thank you for doing what you do, and for keeping yourself a bit anonymous. it keeps the focus on the art, which, personally, i feel are the makings of a true artist (no different than the way the band Tool have gone about their "business"). Cheers!
93 93/93

ZombievsRobot said...

The idea of you (favorite artist for many years) collaborating with two of my absolute faves of the last few years just destroys my brain.

Anonymous said...

I know this is out of place, but I can't find any other way to contact you.

The Maxx on Comixology? Any news? Please.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam. I've followed and bought most of your comics from the time you did Aliens, to Sandman, to the MCP covers, to The Maxx, and everything after up until the Batman/Lobo thing. I for one miss some of the style your art had back then, especially during your time at Marvel Comics. I don't know what it is, but maybe deadlines and mean editors somehow causes an artist to just "work" harder. I feel the same way about Todd Mcfarlane and his run on Amazing Spiderman and The Hulk. His stuff today just doesn't have that excitement it use to have. Your Wolverine will always remain one of the best renditions ever. It was different and fun. Your details were refreshing. A lot of what you do today has a more painterly quality which is great when you are presenting work in watercolor, ink wash, or any other paint medium... but it seems like you've gotten really lazy when it comes to penciling and inking. You can see your own progression over the years as you've left out hands, fingers, even facial details... You mention that people just want to see a shape but that's because you are an artist and see things in shapes (wasn't that the concept for Zero Girl?) The only comic artist I've seen who has been around as long as you have and is still paying attention to details is Jim Lee. He's got a different style from you but I think it's also one reason he's become such a success and your fan base is dwindling down... which I find sad, because Sam if anyone, you've got so much talent. I love that you finally put this blog up. I hope to see more and more of your stuff out there and wish you the best!

charlie said...

Hey Sam,
The concept of color and shape and their psychological effect at the bare minimum is really interesting, and how you've gone about it here with the Wolverine cover, is perfect. There's a book by Molly Bang, How Pictures Work, that delves into exploring how our core emotions and what we subconsciously know to be true effects how we look/see pictures, drawings, images, etc.

I know you posted this a year ago, but thought you might enjoy checkin' out that book when you have some free time if you're interested in exploring it more. Real quick read.

Love your work, and what you and Wayshak have happening with ChickensRevolt! I can't say I've been a loyal pawn as long as I've been aware of your work, but The Maxx blew me away at six years old, staying up late watching Mtv back in '93. Now I'm in school for Illustration twenty years later. Thank you.

Charlie Schwab