“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

JUNK FOOD_update

Ah, the memories... looking for one's artistic 'style' through experimentation, trying to gain acceptance and legitimacy in the eyes of the professional comic book community, aping the hell out of the incomparable Kevin Nowlan...all 'CRAP'! That's our secret word today, kids. Scream when you read it.

Okay, I post these up because recently I've gotten e-mails (Two. I've gotten exactly two e-mails. I tried to make it and myself sound more important by using plural 'e-mails', but in all reality, just two - I'm a sack of sad) asking for tips on how to become a better artist and if I had any advice on how to proceed with an artistic approach to the 'style' of their work. So rather than e-mailing them back I thought I'd write about here. That, and I didn't draw anything new and I wanted to keep my blog updated daily so you get junk food. You know the crap routine. So read along if you want, but I suggest skipping ahead. Here we go:


Dear Sir,

I tell you now and in all honesty (and based on the images above you can see that this is true) that I have absolutely no idea how to be a better artist and how to come to a 'legitimate' style. To this day, all I do is steal from people whom I hold in the highest possible regard. The old proverb of 'imitation being the highest form of flattery' has never been more relevant than when it comes to me and my work. If it's not Jim Lee, then it's Paul Smith; if it's not Kevin Nowlan, then it's Mike Mignola; and if it's not Claire Wendling, then it's Lauren Montgomery. I steal from everybody. From tons of people along the way, little tidbits here and there, and if I payed a nickel to everyone I ever stolen from I'd be bankrupt, I steal. A lot.

I could tell you about books and anatomy guides and how you should start off with fundamentals (and that would be the right way to go - always start off with the basics), but in as far as actual 'style' is concerned there is always someone's work that you'll naturally gravitate to. And in doing so, always ask yourself why they're doing what they do. "Why." Very important question. "Why are they rendering that this way?" "Why is that thigh bigger than the other?" "Why is anyone giving this louse a job when all he's doing is ripping off Peter Chung?" Things like that. So yes, I steal. I steal a lot (and by 'steal' I OBVIOUSLY mean 'pay f*cking attention to *why* they're doing what they're doing' - if I've got to explain that to you then you need take a remedial course on how to read between the lines). But then, somewhere in all of that thievery, I accidentally learn. And that's what you see here: stolen goods, repainted, repackaged and redistributed in the black market that is my blog.

Oh, and this: You are never going to be as good as the original. That's not a bad thing, trust me. From whatever source material you're looking at, to the cortex of your eye, to the misfiring synapses in your brain, down to the length of your arm and finally to the tips of your fingers and through your pencil - whatever you looked at will now have been washed through the filtering system that is comprehension and skill. Somewhere in that translation there is 'style'. Good or bad, that's what you get.

Thank you for writing and good luck with all of your artistic endeavors. Blah, blah, blah.

Eric Canete.


I've now re-read what I just wrote and that's CRAP too. Almost legitimate sounding, but nonetheless...crap. To be taken with a grain of salt. Okay, as far as context - first two images (Avengers and Cybernary 2.0), I don't know what I did them for. Commissions, maybe? Gee, I hope not - I owe you guys back your monies. Anyway, I found that some guy online has them up as part of a 'gallery' of my works. I don't know why anyone (outside of me) would want to exhibit this experiment, but whatever - thank you sir, whoever you are. Third image (Ladytron) is a watercolor ditty I did for my friend's brand new sketchbook. It's sort of the throwing down of the metaphorical gauntlet so that every artist wouldn't draw crappy sketches thereafter. Didn't work. At the end of the convention he had over a dozen pieces of crap after the piece of crap I drew. *Sigh* Last image (X-Men) was done as a present to someone. Should've used purple instead of green.

Anyway, if you're still reading this, you're sick in the head. Crap.


Kane said...

Eliquently put sir....or not so eliquent nevertheless very true or false......ahhhh poooh I have no idea. other than the on istoled pilfered and changed completely!! either way your a good arist a better thief or is it vice versa...?-T

Megalaros said...

Sounds like we're worrying about things we cannot control. In world where everything's been done we must do the ordinary thing extraordinarily well. Nobody's gonna be a comic artist unless they've just gotta be a comic artist. Man, you're art is new, fresh and awesome and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

comicsubz said...

I really enjoy your old work as well as your new work. I am looking forward to seeing you in print again.



well, i guess i'm sick in the head

i heard someone say that the more talent an artist has the crazier they are

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!5 craps and one crap-py, does it count?

if so... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

now only if mcfarlane and you - know - who, first name starts with an "r" and the last name starts with an "l" learned to use bridgeman, what their stuff could have looked like?

yup - crap. but crap-tastic!(thumbs up)


ButterfishManiac said...

Oh Snap!!!
I rememebr that X-men pictre from your days on Sam Liu/EJ Su forum.

I liked it but then again I am still a fan of Matlock.

Lue Sang said...

Very cool images there Eric. The 'commission' pieces show where you're coming from. Very good pieces (I'd have loved one of those if I was paying for them).

Yeah man - I'm all about 'stealing' myself. I check this blog daily so rest assured I'm taking stuff from you ;)

Chin said...

Bow-wow!!! you are one of my favorite artists, provided that I feel to draw I have beside me to inspire me, Iwork its. Me full of impulse to see its work and I have taken some details of its style to utilize in my work. My blog is very young but quick I rose works of comic and digital color. See Yaa
PD:my groins is very bad

The Edge said...

Man...you just made me feel a whole lot better.

david said...

But Eric, its the most attractive pile of crap!