You'll have to forgive me but most of these references are to 80's and early 90's comics.
Dan Jurgens is at his best when he as Jerry Ordway inking him - he catches some stuff Breeding doesn't and isn't as heavy handed.
I'm getting into just about everything Tim Truman has done recently.
I don't much care for Mike Grell as an artist but he can write a hell of a crime comic.
Really starting to like Rick Bruchett and how simple and slightly exagerated his stuff is, especially when he inks himself.
Mike Zeck is pretty cool, though I guess half of Secret Wars layouts were dictated by shooter but I thought that large scale comic was handled excellently by him.
Dael Keown is someone that I thought was cool when I was a kid with his super polished veiny mega muscle characters at image and top cow but I really think his best work was on his early Hulk stuff.
Alan Davis' ealy style had little black placement and I used to have a whole trade of something he did with a short haired Phoenix, Captain Britan etc that I didn't care for. But after Clandestine he started some heavy black placement and I think his stuff has gotten even more beautiful as he's aged. Mark Farmer always does bang up work with him and his diagonal action panels really are amazing, from his layouts down to their gestures and poses.
You can't hear enough about Jon Buscema but I really didn't know his work specifically since so many tried to imitate him but his downturned mouths are a pretty dead giveaway, though I think he's at his best when he is inking himself or like anyone Al Williamson was inking him. The quality of his finished work varies greatly based on who was finishing/inking/embellishing over him, from Ernie Chan to Alfredo Alcalla to others he probably worked with just about everybody and did a lot, though I've seen some of the layouts he was giving out and how loose they were. Its amazing he was able to keep the volume of his work still feeling fresh and not to repetitive.
Whilace Portacio is another guy you have to find in the right time period his work is all over the place, from terrible to amazing and it seems it changed about every 3-5 years. Though my favorite period was his stuff on X-men (around the time Marrow was created) and Avenger Forever when Liquid coloring really came in big.
Also apparently the Kubert brothers were just stepping out of the shadow of their father in the 80's but I saw them do everything from coloring to inking to penciling etc on various books, mostly DC at the time. Really liked Adams work on Johnny Quest though you can tell by the brushy inks it was very heavily influenced by his father at the time, who I also love. Joe's layouts always amaze me how he's able to fill the page in an interesting way, like it'd be hard to find a boring Joe Kubert page and at the same time he leaves things fairly rough and undetailed. He puts just enough detail in to let you know he knows what he's drawing and you can identify it but not enough that he couldn't ink it with a brush.
Steve Lightle is someone I need to find some more stuff from but I saw a 1/2 isue of Marvel Comic Presents Ghost Rider/Wolverine that blew me away.
Also made a big fool of myself on Deviantart confusing trying to praise both Tom Palmer and Bill Reinhold on their respective pages on the same day and mixing eachothers work up with one another and being called out on it by them - yikes! Speaking of which I appologize about all the name misspellings on here, this is half an "inspiration Journal" for me so I don't forget some of these guys and 1/2 wanting to let you guys find out about them. Though I've heard these names 1,000 times I never made the connections so I'm probably the last to know, but now I know.
Lastly the IF anthology from Alterna is just about out, though it feels like I did those pages a year ago or more - will have a story called "Signs of Life" in it, alongside artwork from Novo Malgapo - who I liked a great deal.
Well it took me quite a while but I did it. 124pgs of penciled artwork plus a few redraws. About the equivalent of a 6 issue arc on a regular book with a monthly deadline. I only got off by about 2 weeks across the entire book, and that was partially for being hospitalized for a health issue part way through. I'll be slowly posting artwork over the next few days on deviantart.
We did end up redesigning the villain about halfway through the book after I'd already drawn him a handful of times, but that is probably for the best since I'm really proud of how he turned out. Though he doesn't get too much screen time I think he makes an impact when he gets his 5 minutes of fame.
I think my favorite pages were the ones where I got to add something to the storytelling, or pages with just some nice figure work or faces/hands. I flew through a lot of comic books looking for ideas on blocking and acting and layouts etc. I came to know a lot of artists I didn't before, I'll post some of those names later.
I also bought quite a few comics while on the book to keep me seeing fresh artwork and keep ideas flowing- though I seem to be expanding my collection horizontally, more from the same time period then in linear chronological order. I've found my favorite thing to find for cheap is the old Conan comic magazines from the mid to late 80's.
I tried to keep my exposure to certain artists limited because of how quickly they influence my style, like Klaus Janson's pencils or Walt Simonson. When I was stuck and couldn't come up with poses flashing through a few Rick Leonardi comics loosened me back up into a gestural figure drawing mode that helped a lot.
I tried a few things, like circular panels, that I've never done before. Other that the predesigned main cast and monsters everything else was basically on the fly. Though as I went on it became increasingly important to look back on how I drew it before to keep it the same in current pages.
Al Sirois, the inker and writer, helped me get started doing some layouts for me after I sent some to him that didn't give with him. The first few pages were mostly characterless and that was tough for me. Nearly my entire interest in drawing lies in drawing people and it probably shows. Even so, I doubbled my efforts when drawing those first few pages to try and cover that fact. Al also helped design the submersible that shows up later in the book.
While doing the book I was able to do a few pages for Dream State which I should be getting back to soon, and some commissions via the internet since I didn't make it to any conventions this year. I also did a pitch packet for another guy (5pgs, a cover and a promo piece penciled and inked and tweaked with the coloring) and did the Outcast Angels cover.
The pages for the Endless Incident as with most major projects I assume were a challenge. There were a lot of talking scenes in a circular conference room and trying to not repeat the same angles was really tough. I do think my favorite thing to do is break a single background into multiple panels with characters either moving through it or breaking that scene into smaller panels that appear, together, somewhat like a splash page or large panel. Leaving space for dialog was also tricky with a team of characters. Felt like drawing the x-men or avengers or something at times.
The writer as fast to respond to questions which helped and I turned in pages once a week. I did pretty well as far as back and hand pain considering I gave away my drawing table before moving and have instead been working at a table or on the couch with a large piece of cardboard as a backer. And I did eventually figure out when to switch my tools which I hadn't really done before, though I still only use a mechanical pencil or regular pencil, an mars-steadler white eraser and an eraser pencil. I occasionally used a ruler for panel boarders but generally just eyeballed it in and Al made sure to straighten them up in the inks.
I'll be interested to see how they look when published and see certain pages side by side and secondly what they look like digitally chopped up since they will also be used for a game in a comixology-like interface. I started trying to keep the "widescreen" panel format about the same ratio of a screen without any panels that were too tall or wide. But I quickly ran out of ideas and was also trying to keep it interesting for myself and reading in print, so I strayed from that the further it went. I tried to keep one panel a page or so boarderless. And had to kick myself a few time to pull back and not just stick to headshots/busts- luckily the design of the characters kept them distinct even to the point that I could cut to sillhouette and still tell them all apart, which was a great help. Sometimes they were in their "space suits" and not their "costumes/armor" but again they all had different haircuts etc and so it was really easy to keep them seperate.
I've rescently been flying threw a ton of comics as I'm drawing - here are some of the guys that are making me excited to draw.
Brian Stefleeze - always helps me find directionin my own color work when I'm stuck.
Claudio Castellini - Amazing hands, faces and angles. Very dynamic and interesting focus on ribcages.
Rodolfo Damaggio - went on to do storyboards but if you're lucky enough to find his comics they read so easily and feel like a film without feeling slavish imitations of another artform.
Eduardo Barreto - reminds me quite a bit of Jose Luise Garcia Lopez.
Steve Epting - 90's Avengers is great stuff - amazing team shot splash pages.
Alan Davis - couldn't stand him when I first saw his work but I think his stuff from the last decade is about as good as it gets. Amazing layouts, awesome smooth rendering - with help from his inker Mark Farmer - and it all has a certain texture - like pre-Bryan Hytch.
Tom Raney - on Avengers Academy has been pretty good.
The ones I've mentioned before but can't stop going back to - Lee Weeks, Ron Garney - can't beat their layouts and solid figure construction - and Andy/Adam Kubert.
Butch Guice - his work on dc/marvel all access seems to be my favorite stuff of his. So much acting with hands and faces in every panel. I tried resurection man which came right after but it doesn't look like they could keep an inker on him and it didn't quite work for me.
Al Wiliamson - seems to improve and make me love anything he touches - besides Spider-girl.
Paul Neary - Can't stand his vertigo/dc work but can't get enough of the cover art he did for Marvel video games and comics, even Ninja Turtles.
I finally got about 15pgs of sequentials and a color cover up on Deviantart to show. More to come.
These were not used but are kind of cool to see anyway.
I'm about 1/3 of the way through penciling a 120pg graphic novel. Which is going well and I'll be posting pictures soon. Just finished first new Outcast Angels work as well - first color images for that series. More to come, stay tuned.
Pages 3-5 of the actual pages (from comixology's preview) turned out like this, just to compare.
Here's my thumbs for the Red Sonja contest. Lots of diving into battle behind a shield. The one similar to the one I chose, I abandoned because I think I saw one like it in a Conan mag by Simonson or Frank Thorne. Sonja looks so much like the girl from New Teen Titans.
I ended up having to add her scales, change her boots and gloves etc. I was inspired to try this full pencil shaded version after seeing the process for Jenny Frison of Revival. Red Sonja Cover Entry by xaqBazit on deviantART and this was a design for a mural at a local gym that I was supposed to do. But I landed a big penciling gig today, so I wanted to get these odds and ends up before I got busy again. Also posted a handful of unused/wip art on the From Blood facebook group.
I remember as a young boy the first artist I knew by name was a painter named John Gurche because I liked his paintings of dinosaurs and they were featured in a Kids magazine I was reading. Then the Hildibrant brothers as I was collecting their Marvel Cards and the Shadows of the Empire cards they did.
Some artist I've really loved over the last few years I don't think I've mentioned yet are listed below. In fact most of my collecting these days have been centered around these artists now and anything and everything they've done.
Danijel Zezelj - I haave no idea how this artist goes about their work. It almost looks like sillhouettes that are cut back into with whiteout - very distinct and interesting.
Kyle Baker in his late 80's/early 90's style on the Shadow or the Dick Tracy movie adaptation - his more cartoony stuff and new Tank Girl does nothing for me.
Shawn McManus on Dr. Fate 80's
Marshall Rogers on Batman
And I've really enjoyed these messy covers by Frank Terran
Hugh Flemming - I find him even more interesting than Dave Doorman/Drew Struzan - he has a much more ground level approach to his angles that make even the most photoreferenced Star Wars cover seem like a brand new deleted scene etc.
And for some reason I've come to learn that while I've known his work all my life from art in the Chris Hart how to books Gray Marrow's art is so flat it drives me nuts. I saw a story he did for Dark Horse for the Aliens franchise that was just not his thing.