Archive for comic book industry

Building Your Foundation for a Future in Illustration

Posted in Blog, Blogger, Blogging, Chicago Comic Book Artists, Collectibles, Collections, Collectors, Comic Book Art, Comic Book Artist, DAVE DORMAN NEWS, Entertainment, Fan Culture, Geek, Geek Culture, Illustration, Military, Nerd Culture, Painting, Pop Culture, Social Commentary, Star Wars, United States Air Force with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2012 by DaveandDeniseDorman

Dear Friends,

Last week’s post I have since removed from this blog. The post was badly worded, poorly thought out, and hastily written. And, unfortunately, it completely missed the point I intended to make. It also created a discussion completely off of my intended subject, and one that I had no interest in debating or pursuing further. I appreciate all who dropped in to read the blog and those who took the time to post some very thought-provoking comments.  I apologize to all those who took offense, and for those who missed it, let’s move on to more creative topics. (Dave waves his hand in the air cryptically and says in a low voice, “These are not the words you are looking for. Move on…”)

Next Topic: Maximizing Your Success By Learning Illustration Basics

When I was 19 and just learning my craft, one of the main things I  did was to draw…all of the time. I would sketch in bed, sketch at breakfast, practice at the drawing table, at work on break, and after dinner in front of the TV.  I had set a goal for myself to become the best illustrator I could, and  I knew I needed to work at my craft and invest as much time and work as humanly possible.

Dave Dorman Student Sketches, Circa 1979

Most artists have sketchbooks filled with the work product to prove it. Oddly enough, I have very few “sketchbooks” from that time in my life. The bound drawing paper-style sketchbook was way too restricting for me. It never laid flat, it was usually not good paper–at least not the sketchbooks I could afford as a student and military kid— and I could only review one to two open pages at a time.

Dave Dorman Student Sketch Sample #2

My solution? I discovered it was better for me to purchase packages of 5″x7″ blank index cards and use those for my work sketches. The paper was good and stiffer than sketchbook paper. It held up well for pencil, ink and watercolor. Buying a 500-sheet package was way cheaper than buying a 500-sheet sketchbook. If I was working on a series of images or thoughts, I could do them individually and lay them out like panels in front of me rather than flipping pages in a book.

Dave Dorman Student Sketches #3

As a student,  I produced literally thousands of these little sketch cards. I used them to

  • Rough out ideas
  • Work on form and structure
  • Copy other artists to see how they worked out anatomy, body structure, and the dynamic figure.

This was my ongoing training daily, practicing my craft. Without this groundwork, I could not and would not be the artist I am today. For all of you students and up-and-coming illustrators, I believe the work you put into learning the basics will pay off enormously as you build your career. There is no magic or shortcut to it. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers summarizes it in two words: 10,000 hours. I sat down one day and calculated how many hours I would have put int before I reached my first professional sale. 10,000 hours seemed about right.

Thanks for reading,

Dave.

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The Problem with Today’s Comics According to a 30-Year Comic Book Veteran Artist

Posted in Collections, Collectors, DAVE DORMAN NEWS, Entertainment, Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2011 by DaveandDeniseDorman

Dear Friends,

I read a post other day on the problem with the comics industry, which triggered me to write this blog today. I wanted to share with you what I think has retarded the growth of today’s American comic book publishing industry. Those of you who have read my autobiography Rolling Thunder: The Art of Dave Dorman know my history with comics. For those who haven’t, here’s the truncated version:

I started reading comics back in the ’60s as a kid growing up in Hawaii on Hickam Air Force Base. My older brother Jeff got me hooked on them. We lived in Foster Village, and he and I would trek to the local drug store to pick up Marvel and DC self-contained stories. I loved them. Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko…those were the halcyon days. Comics, a truly American art form, was already limiting itself by offering fans mostly super hero fantasies.

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…”I stopped reading American super hero comics in the late ’80s.” — Dave Dorman, Inkpot and Eisner Award-winning comic book artist and 30-year Veteran

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You will be surprised to learn that although I’ve painted many a cover, I stopped reading American super hero comics in the late ’80s. Why? Because that was when the publishers started hyper-serializing their storytelling. Notice the synopsis in the front of any Marvel comic today and you’ll see what I mean. When I have to read 10 years’ worth of story bible to understand what’s happening in this issue, you’ve lost me as a fan.

American comic book publishers gambled on serialized story addicts. They didn’t bank on alienating older readers and the next generation(s) of readers, but that’s what happened. And before you suggest that the super hero movies create a bump in comic book sales and therefore must be enticing a new generation of fans, do your research. Study after study has proven this untrue.

Here’s what I’m spending my entertainment fund on these days (and every Wednesday):

Hellboy — by a friend, Mike Mignola — mini-serialized — no 100-issue story arc here, folks!

B.P.R.D. — again, by Mike Mignola

Lieutenant Blueberry — by Moebius/Jean Giraud

Akiraby Katsuhiro Otomo

All works by creators Francois Schuiten and Enki Bilal

The Tin Tin series —by Belgian artist Georges Rémi who wrote under the pen name of Herge’.

The Asterix seriesby  Rene’ Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo (who also took over writing the series after Goscinny’s death in 1977

The Blacksad series by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

These foreign books, while often a series, tend to be more self-contained and easily read individually without requiring the new reader to have info on previous story lines or character development. International comics are often more accessible to the general market than our American comics. We need to change what we’re doing here. I’m pleased to see indie publishers like Archaia publishing foreign books here to deliver the fans something eclectic and interesting.

Let me know what you’re reading. Tell me what I’m missing. I’m listening.

Dave.

Like Father, Like Son…?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2010 by DaveandDeniseDorman

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great Passover and Easter holiday. We celebrate Easter,  and this year our son was the right age to appreciate it.  It was also my wife Denise’ s birthday, and I’m working on an art deadline, so it was quite the jam-packed weekend. I did manage to  catch “How to Train Your Dragon” with our son and we both give it high marks – be sure to catch it. The animation is wonderful.

I see my quote was posted in BusinessWeek today regarding how the iPad will affect the comic book industry. In my humble view, it will grow our audience for a new set of serialized storytelling fans who are not collectors, so a new audience is always a good thing for our industry. Here’s that BusinessWeek link for you: http://bit.ly/aK3O4k my quote is on page 2 of 2. A special thanks to Charlie Athanas for finding it for me – our Google Alerts always show up way too late. Of course, special thanks goes to my publicist Denise Dorman at WriteBrain Media for putting it together for me.

For those of you who follow child development, you might have some insight to share with me.  I think that my son may have inherited some creative talent from Denise and me. He has an attention to detail and an ability to draw from memory, rather than copying, that I find remarkable. I just hope that I’m not seeing his artwork through “daddy goggles,” but here it is, and keep in mind, he just turned 5:

Dave Dorman's Son's Artwork

Perry the Parrot

A 5-Year-Old's Perspective on SpongeBob

Dave Dorman's Son Draws the World of SpongeBob

You can see here where he started to draw Mr. Krabs on the far right, and then bailed at the last moment, losing his confidence. I was particularly impressed with how he drew Squidward and Gary, and even remembered the antenna on Patrick Star’s little rock house.

In other news, if any of you are watching Celebrity Apprentice, like me, you must be left puzzling over how anyone ever voted such a smarmy and witless wonder as Rod Blagojevich into the Governor’s office here in Illinois, where I’m now living.  For the record, I didn’t vote for him. Basic skills, like typing, using a computer and text messaging, should be an assumption, not a struggle for someone in the Governor’s role.  It is frustrating to us watching how far clueless narcissism can go toward convincing people of someone’s competence.  Perhaps the next IL governor’s race should be voted on after watching all of the contenders in a similar reality TV program. At the very least, I want the next governor to know how to use a computer. It’s no wonder our state is bankrupt. I’m sure he couldn’t even open an Excel file, let alone analyze  it. This brings me to my next topic, which is, at some point, I’m going to apply to go on Celebrity Apprentice. This season, there are folks on there who, frankly, are not household names to everyone, yet they’re famous within their own niches. That pretty much sums up my fame, so I think I should qualify. I am an Eisner Award winner, which is the Oscars of the comic book industry – similar to a gold medal in the Olympics.  Like those Olympiads, I committed to my Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 + hours of hardcore training. I would certainly have nailed it as project leader  on any of this season’s creative tasks…

My wife Denise and I did record Episode 1 of our podcast, “Wednesday is Comic Book Day” with special guest Scott Hampton, and once I know when it’s on iTunes and posted on Farpoint Media, I will let you all know here on my blog.  I thank producer Denise Gideon and tech advisor Andrea Smith, two new media experts who do a superb job of leading the reluctant Luddites into the digital age.

There’s a major storm brewing here, so I will sign off now before the power goes out – it’s flickering and I don’t want to lose this post.

Thanks for reading,

Dave.