Thursday, August 02, 2007


I went down to the Comic Con for a couple of days last week. It was a pretty sweet trip, in hindsight, I wish I had stayed the whole weekend.

I saw some old friends that I hadn't seen in a while and I got to meet some new friends from the good 'ol blogs. But I didn't get to see everyone that I wanted to, so that kinda sucked.

One thing that I did find a little disheartening was the now standard over abundance of artist "sketchbooks". I don't know about you, but this guy's a little tired of them. Don't get me wrong, there are some really talented people putting these together, but I just feel like they could be concentrating that energy into a story, or something of equivalent entertainment value. Bravo to the people that put some care into making their own silkscreen prints, or even nice high quality ink-jet ones. Even when the art may not be something I'm necessarily a fan of, I applaud the effort. I'd gladly spend 20 bucks on a nice print than 10 bucks on a mediocre "sketchbook".

The other thing about these "sketchbooks" that particularly got to me this year was the content. When you study drawings by Bruce Timm, Mike Mignola, Travis Charest, Adam Hughes, Shane Glines, Jim Lee, please do us all a favor and keep those drawings to yourself. I'm all for studying artists that you may admire, but when I can recognize an entire drawing (minus the now unclothed chest) as a study (*read copy), please don't put that drawing into your "sketchbook" and sell it as your own. I couldn't believe it, but I actually saw a few incredibly familiar drawings... drawings I knew as my own, but were processed through someone else's hand and brain. Sort of frankensteined with other parts.

Or maybe it's just amazing coincidence.

Or maybe that means that I've finally arrived. Awesome..... I thought it would feel a little better.... probably just coincidence.

Oh well.

...sorry for the rant,

p.s. Potter is done. Now I have no excuse for not updating my links.


:: smo :: said...

ha! that's a killer angry wolf!

but yeah man i hear ya. i totally ambled past so many booths that had a pinup drawing emblazoned on the banner. assuming they just had mediocre sketchbooks.

there was one book i bought because it had awesome dinosaur/dragon mutants fighting knights among the girls haha!

on a whole i feel like the sketchbook is a cop out. it's a way to copyright random ideas and make a quick buck. i guess if you really want to get yourself out there but have nothing to show it's a good idea, but yeah...would it kill you to take some of those "sketches" and make a nice print or something? methinks not.

rant and disdainful wolf appreciated sir.

and it was good meeting you! now i have a face to the legend!

potato farm girl said...


SteveLambe said...


SteveLambe said...

Ha...just busting your balls, dude. Personally, I think it's all about taste. Some people would prefer to buy a book filled with random doodles, and some would rather buy a comic book or illustrated story.

A lot of professional artists work on story all year round, so the sketchbooks become a collection of all the guilty pleasures that they can't do on the job. Like Bill Presing book for example.

Young artists see it as a form of self promotion to find work in the industry. If only that one Disney scout would see my sketchesssss..

I can definitely see your point though about artists refurbishing the artists work they admire and selling it as their own. I'm totally guilty of that myself ;) A lot of those problems disappear as an artist grows and finds his/her unique voice though. Travis Charest started out as a clone of Jim Lee. Shane Glines started out as a clone of Bruce Timm.

One thing I did notice this year though was that things were a lot more commercial. People didn't seem to be doing it for the love of the art, but to make money. Buttons, t-shirts, calenders, magnets, posters, etc. Personally I'd rather see them focus that kind of energy into the quality of the work they were selling vs the amount of product they were selling.

Now who's the grumpy old man :)

Uncle Phil said...

Steve, you're right, it is all about taste. It's not the sketchbook themselves that i find most offensive, but I guess you nailed it, it's the commercializing of random doodles, guilty pleasures, and explorational studies.

Bill Presing's book is beautiful. But he says it right on the cover... it's years worth of exploration and guilty pleasures... and in his book, it's by no means random doodles. He has finished pieces of art in there. Hours of thinking for just one piece. AND on top of that, we know Bill from his Rex Steele comics, or maybe his Emmy award winning opening for the Rosie O'Donell show (*that was for you bill*).

And yeah, maybe Shane has been hugely influence by Bruce Timm, but remember he started at Spumco, and he still feverishly studies this stuff.

Travis Charest may have started as a Lee clone, but he wasn't selling sketchbooks at the con. He was selling comic books, putting his chops to the test.

I don't even know where I'm going now.. but I guess it did just feel overly commercial, and overly self important. Artists alley and the indie booths are supposed to be the calm away from the storm of the big companies. Some of the booths just seemed so over-bearing.

Joe Schmo had a table with booth babes and neon lights selling a less than great sketchbook/maquette combo and then there was the Hernandez brothers with a hand written sign selling a sketchbook that was like an art education on every page.

...sigh... I guess there will always be crap. And we need that crap to make the good stuff really worth while.

Chris Battle said...

There goes that awesome Rob Liefeld-style Wolverine w/bikini babes sketchbook idea I had planned for next year.




david gemmill said...

congratulations on that award! ;)

potato farm girl said...

Congrats!!! You drawing good, yay! Gold star!!!! :D ^u^ *o*

hobo divine said...

I love it! you are my favorite uncle!

Jav said...

I feel like a jackass.
The fact that I was selling prints along with a little book definitely does not make me feel any better or any less guilty of contributing to the saturation of the sketchbook market. I'd be a liar if i said that it didnt bother me.
Being a fan of a simple sketch, I guess I may have also thought of it as a sort of art in itself. I just have this undeniable attraction to a lot of these types of art books.
I do, however, always find that the ones with purpose or meaning have more of a draw, or a sense of purpose. It is always about the story.
You've managed to make me hate myself in a way due to the fact that we share a lot of the same views on this...
Great getting a chance to meet you by the way...
Time to go rediscover myself...
thank you

warren said...

Amen to that rant, Unc. AMEN!