Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don’t Look Now: Modern Pretty

Recently I read an interview with a comics artist—I don’t remember which artist—in a comics journal—I don’t remember which journal—and he described the production process of his latest comic—I don’t remember which comic.

Out of all that stuff I don’t remember, I do remember how he created the images.

He projected stock poses onto his Wacom display tablet then traced over the photos and added coloring and effects and whatever modifications the image needed to fit the story he was telling.

This is a very common production process nowadays in the graphic arts world.

By tracing over photos you can be sure proportions are reasonably accurate. And software like Photoshop allows you easily to make any changes you may want to “personalize” the image and make it fit your needs.

I suspect this is one reason why so many comics nowadays are so ugly and lifeless and unpleasant to even look at let alone read.

Tracing is a totally dead, mechanical process that in no way captures the life or spirit of an artist or illustrator. It may create beautiful images, but they are, at best, stylish and not art and not even entertainment.

Making changes to a photograph or a tracing of a photograph can be something like creative, but it’s not creative in the same sense as inventing and creating an image.

And this is what modern comics are.

They are something like comics.

But they are not comics in the sense of being art or entertainment.

They are at best stylish and they can be something like pretty but it is a weird, modern kind of “pretty” that, when you look closely, is so fucking ugly it takes your breath away.

Modern pretty.

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