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Thread: Nature of Nature's Art

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis

    Nature of Nature's Art

    A thread about my favorite webcomic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox, on a Different Forum
    Also, may I ask why this is your favourite webcomic?

    I'll make a more serious attempt to answer the question.

    I do not know another artist who can draw animals so well and so quickly. We get two pages a week -- which, by the way, are two to three times the size of a normal comics-book page -- with interesting layouts, expressive characters, vivid colors and well-developed symbolism. Not only that, the anatomy of these animals surpasses most artists who draw from references -- which Mr. Braun, I think, does not. Most animal artists end up specializing in one kind of animal, with their others noticeably worse, but in this case the mustelids, canids, felids, and rodents all look good. (Okay, when humans and ungulates show up they tend to look wonky.) My single favorite drawing of a fox occurs in the print version of Wild Style, which was not an arc, but rather him doing joke-a-day gag humor for a month.

    The stories sound simple when summarized, but most of the arcs are every bit as detailed and involuted as the plot of Watchmen. The characterization is the best I've found in comics, web or print. When an arc starts, you may think you know what cliche or archetype a character fulfills, but by the time the story ends that character will have changed drastically, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In the early days, the comic billed itself as a series of Kung Fu stories involving animals, and that held true up until arcs four and five. But if it were compared to Kung Fu movies, this would be one of the more esoteric ones, like Master Killer or Hero. The animals possess their own version of augmented reality, and the most powerful martial artists have the powers you'd expect to see from a classic D&D illusionist.

    The visual pacing of each story is occasionally broken by magnificent, oversized pages. The most ridiculous of these is page 292 of Solar System, which is about 12000x8000 pixels (no, I did not include an extra zero) and whose original has been replaced by a Java applet a fan made for just that one page. These oversized pages are a rare treat, and usually represent a moment of profound victory or decision for the protagonists. As for the narrative tone...

    ...I can say more, but this is already enough for a nice encomium.
    To add to the above, here are brief descriptions of the completed arcs:

    10%+: A young maned wolf develops a technique that enhances his abilities, but risks brain damage... and must apply this technique against his own mentor.

    Lycosa: A parable about not letting the future supplant the past, in which a wolf spider confronts a society of charismatic futurists.

    Solar System: A crew consisting of a human, an ape, a dog, a mouse and a gerbil have finished rehabilitating a space shuttle, only to find it must serve a larger purpose than first intended. The solar system is a large place, and has not yet yielded all its secrets.

    Wild Style: A hundred gag comics. The product of a successful Kickstarter, the author repudiated this style of humor entirely in the afterword of the print edition, and made a resolution to never do it again.

    Secretary: This arc is special, departing from all the others in tone and theme. It contains the most powerful use of infinite canvas that I know.

    Syconium: An exploration of art, sexuality and their interrelated power, this arc caused utter havoc among the NofNA fanbase. I disagree with this arc's stated thesis, and yet I have never identified with a character as much as I identified with this arc's heroine.

    The latest arc is called Emancipation. I'll let a recent comic page explain its themes:


  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: In my room
    To be frank I'm not taken by the pixelated style, off colors, weird font choices, cats with grammar errors or if I'd even agree that this person draws great animals. This looks like bad furry art and it's not an outlier. The story seems to be quite involved and might hold one's attention if they get into it, but the art style throws me off fast. Oh well, it's not for me.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    This looks like bad furry art and it's not an outlier.
    It's an outlier. But yeah, many people find the pixelated artwork unapproachable.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    All I know is that we will never have another Bernie Wrightson. The days of his caliber of illustration are over. Nobody pays enough for this. This is true art.


  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    The days of his caliber of illustration are over.
    If you mean in traditional media, you may be right. But if you include digital illustration, you are wrong. Abaddon of Kill Six Billion Demons and Ashley Cope of Unsounded are at or near Wrightson's level.

    Zachary Braun (NofNA's creator) is immensely talented, but has glaring weaknesses too. The worst blind spot is his human faces, which are ugly. But I'd rather have art with high highs and low lows, than art that's uniform but average.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 24th Apr 2021 at 19:00.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I don't know how to say this but... no. Those are nowhere near Wrightson's degree of talent. Abaddon could well do illustrations on a level with Heavy Metal magazine's mid level artists but that isn't even approaching Wrightson. Maybe Paul Kirchner... or Philippe Druillet on a bad day. There is someone she is exactly like but I can't think of the name. Certainly not Luis Royo or Richard Corbin. Maybe it is Druillet.



    No that's not it. Still not up to his level. Somebody help me out. Who the hell is it I'm thinking of?
    Last edited by Tocky; 24th Apr 2021 at 21:45.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Giraud?



    Ha. It even says Caliber comics.

    He was of the famous Moebius strip.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    I don't know how to say this but... no. Those are nowhere near Wrightson's degree of talent.
    I can accept "not at." But "nowhere near"?! Really? How many goddamn tiers of ability are there? If Wrightson is at the top, Abaddon and Cope are at least one tier down.

    Now, the important question arises. How much effort did you put into the comparison? I didn't put much effort into mine, but I put in more than the minimum.

    *sigh* As they say in Latin, de gustibus ad faucem.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 25th Apr 2021 at 01:22.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I don't see any artwork in this thread that seems to know where their light sources are.
    Last edited by Pyrian; 25th Apr 2021 at 05:19. Reason: Yes, missing verb

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    ...Missing verb?

    Anyway, in NofNA's Secretary arc, there's a powerful page whose light source, which the main character calls "the black rainbow," dominates the entire composition.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    I don't see any artwork in this thread that seems to know where their light sources are.
    In Wrightson's work it is upper right. One can almost feel the scant warmth of an out of frame window or lamp high in a castle. Also there could be light on the right, though not as bright, from a window there.

    In Druillet's it is right and forward diagonally though not well defined so therefore a sun that is around five O'clock.

    With Giraud the whole scene is washed out and not nearly his best work. It was unfair of me to post that one. However there could be two light sources both, behind the subject and high overhead, if those are shadows and not reflections.

    Here is a more representative work of his better efforts-



    I'm sorry I could not find a smaller one but in this one the two light sources and the reflected light are most obvious.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    If you like shadows from one light source there are those of Wrightson's as well. In life there is always reflected light however.



    There may be some emotional reaction by me as to his talent since he is a childhood favorite. I do love his style though.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Sanjulian is also a childhood favorite. He did the first Vampirella cover as well as many Conan comics. Few pay the value of this sort of work. At his best he is Frazetta level and beyond. Sorry if I keep mentioning levels. Art is like music and should never be subjected to objective comparison.


  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    To be honest I'd rather look at the pixelated wolves than that overly detailed laboratory. But I confess that I've never been able to get into comics. I just don't seem to have the patience to linger on any frame and I end up skimming through it probably in the wrong order and missing the nuances. That's my problem, I know. I did come across Jean Girard this year randomly on Instagram, and I love his art. It's calming but very evocative.

    One of my favourite web comics is Cat and Girl even though I admit I don't get every strip. Maybe I like the challenge.
    Last edited by Aja; 25th Apr 2021 at 19:22. Reason: to tell you about cat and girl

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I'm the opposite obviously. The more detail and nuance the better. You don't want to know what I think of cubism. I once heard Wrightson's art described as "ragged" and that suited his depiction of Swamp thing quite well. There was a golden period in the mid seventies when story and art were often good though the stories were by medium much restricted.


  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    In Wrightson's work it is upper right.
    It wasn't a question. It's not that I don't know where the light is coming from. Each object has a clear lighting situation attached to it, they're just inconsistent, even when adjacent. One gross offender is the vertical beam and rope-hung flask, touching each other in the open middle of the scene, lit from opposite directions. And wtf is lighting up the chin of the corpse? I could go on. There's a lot of detail and the clear priority was highlighting said detail.

    Now look at the face/ufos piece. Try and reconcile the lighting with the shadows of the ufos. No matter how you try to figure it, they don't remotely match.

    The bubble ship is better. I'd give it an A for effort. It breaks down if you examine the reflectivity, but it's not egregious like Wrightson's stuff, it's clear Giraud cares here.

    I wouldn't normally be this critical, but you jumped into an unrelated thread to post THIS guy's work as the unchallengeable epitome of awesome artwork that doesn't even get made anymore and it's... Not that.

  17. #17
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    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    It wasn't a question. It's not that I don't know where the light is coming from. Each object has a clear lighting situation attached to it, they're just inconsistent, even when adjacent. One gross offender is the vertical beam and rope-hung flask, touching each other in the open middle of the scene, lit from opposite directions. And wtf is lighting up the chin of the corpse? I could go on. There's a lot of detail and the clear priority was highlighting said detail.
    I guess you didn't notice the piece of window on the left. Notice the shadows on the chair? That would go with a light source from that direction like another window farther along the wall more in line with the other window as well. Maybe one more in line with a setting sun. Multiple light sources are tricky. The UFO one looks fine to me. It is emerging out of shadow into light with that light being filtered through globe glass and also the source of light from the instrument panel. Also there is reflected light on the rear of it. There is a lot going on. I suppose one could avoid all that with just flat images with no definition and if you like that better then fine. To each his own.

    Mostly I saw this as a way to show my favorites and keep the thread from dying.

    One thing to remember is that glass is reflective and the flask could well be taking up the chin light which is from the left window on it's underside whereas the beam is non reflective and showing the light from the hanging light on the upper right. Often when an artwork is done, even by illustrators, they use objects as models for this sort of thing and observe how the multiple light sources light each thing. Crystal balls are an interesting thing to recreate on paper. When there is no light source on them the thing behind them is seen as it is. If it is at the top then that is where it shows. But when there is a strong light source and a measure of distance to the next object they show upside down. And of course when it is an empty glass globe then the refection does not do that. At any rate, it's difficult when one goes for realism as far as right goes and having a model is often the best way.

    Also I didn't mean it as a crack to say art like that is just not done these days. Art like that takes time and nobody pays for the sort of time it takes these days. There are few mags like Creeps which do still. It must be difficult to do in pixels though and they are not online comics which are often done for the story rather than the art. For instance Cat and girl has some interesting concepts and thought provoking ones but the artwork is not there for anything but as an assist to conveying the story.

    Of course this- http://rezq.space/ is an interesting one to keep up with.
    Last edited by Tocky; 25th Apr 2021 at 21:59.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: In my room
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    THAT IS SOME HIGHFALUTIN CONCEPTS

    I like it.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Somehow I figured you'd like it, Kolya

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I was kind of hoping this would turn into a comic art SHOWING page. Or just art in general. Maybe I'll start one of those. Anyway, since I mentioned Frazetta, and for many he is the epitome of comic art, I would be remiss if I didn't show his work. This one has been used on a few covers including Creepy 92.


  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    I was kind of hoping this would turn into a comic art SHOWING page.
    These are indeed good, the last one looking like something from the Romantic era. However, I'd rather you made a new thread and let this one stay more on topic.

    Anyway, when I asked you how much effort you put into the comparison, I meant, how much effort did you put into looking at the work of Abaddon and Cope?

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Also, please start using the inline image tags (imghide) when showing such large images. For example:
    A tiger and an ape discuss philosophy.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox View Post
    These are indeed good, the last one looking like something from the Romantic era. However, I'd rather you made a new thread and let this one stay more on topic.
    No problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox View Post
    Anyway, when I asked you how much effort you put into the comparison, I meant, how much effort did you put into looking at the work of Abaddon and Cope?
    Did I google them and dig through their inventory? No. I used your link to see what you thought was their best work. I would rather you have done like I did and NOT made it where I have to click a tag. That makes it easier to just look at something without effort being made on the part of the viewer as you yourself did originally. Are you still not using the fit to phone setting? It helps a lot. What I'm doing is making it easier if you have that. Nothing about the forum is easy if you don't. I think it is in settings but I don't recall how it is listed when actually ON the phone. Mostly I'm on one computer or other. I click insert image here and on the image in another window right click the image then save on the copy image address to take to the TTLG page. As I understand it that places the burden on the original site instead of this one.

    All moot now though. Your page. Carry on.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    I'm on a PC, silly.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2000
    Just to add to Tocky’s ramblings..I think Wrightson is great (check out ‘The Cult’ 4 part Batman comic if you haven’t already, it’s fantastic) but I do think there are people just as good as him knocking about today/recently. One is Moebius/Jean Giraud, and the pic here does not represent his best work. Check out ‘The eyes of the cat” or the ‘edena’ or incal comics, or ‘40 days in the desert’. Giger said about him ‘he could draw like a machine, it was astounding’.

    I think Syd Mead is as good, albeit very different. I think Alan Lee is just as good, albeit very different. I think Giger was as good, albeit very different. Ok so 3 of these are dead, and the other is in his seventies. So it might look like I’m talking crap, but I would argue..there’s plenty of incredible artist’s on Instagram right now. I don’t follow too many 2d/illustrator types, but there’s loads of awesome sculptors and ceramic artist’s on there. I’m sure there are plenty of brilliant 2d people if you dig a little.

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