Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Monday, November 06, 2006

PROCESS: How To Draw Like Leonard Kirk 

Let's just take a Monday morning to consider that pencil fiend Leonard Kirk. First, the Wizard Roundtable gave AGENTS OF ATLAS some love, and their favorite line of Book 4 is actually one LEONARD suggested to put in!


Then Ray at Silver Bullet Comic Books rightly hailed Leonard for giving the returning Namora a very majestic bearing.


And if you really want a look inside his head, Leonard just spoke to Jen Contino at the Pulse, and you see those sweet pencils in all their glory. By the way, go leave some comments there if you're registered.


Now I'd like to say a little something about collaboration and how something like Agents of Atlas works. Because you could get the highest paid artists in comics to work on your projects, people reserved for the biggest titles, but you can't make them be into it. And from day one, Leonard and I have essentially been running around like some Rosy Grier/Ray Milland Two-Headed Man with this book, very much on the same page and just having a blast with the subject matter. It's a lot of over-the-top stuff, but what makes it work is the subtle approach.

I used to get scripts from other writers to draw, and I'm in a studio full of artists and I see the kinds of things other writers call for. "SPLASH- Hero X is standing there in front of the group. And he is PISSED." After I re-attach my jaw from the giant yawn that just induced, I wonder how someone could waste a splash page on a character looking pissed, and then I think of the things I ask of artists I work with. Then I thank the Young Ancient One for Leonard who doesn't bat an eye at requests like the next panel descriptions. He goes the extra mile- here's page 11 from Book 3, where the gang go to the diner, and thanks to Bob Grayson, psychic holograms make them look not as unusual as they normally do. In fact, you get to see what Gorilla Man Ken Hale would look like as a normal man, but look at how he staged it. I described this...

Panel 1/ Waitress is pouring coffee into Jimmy's cup. We probably only see her arm, and part of her body. Everyone looks like normal people, sitting in a rounded booth. Gorilla Man, as Ken, has taken his plate of overeasy eggs on toast. After this panel we see them as they are.

GORILLA MAN/KEN: Prices went up since ‘59. I’ll get the bill.

WAITRESS: Here, hon.

JIMMY: Thank you, ma'am.

And Leonard comes back with this.

See the extra thinking he's putting in there? Even though he looks human, Ken is still moving like a gorilla! It's such a nice subtle bit when even drawing a convincing breakfast table is pretty tough. I wouldn't even complain that he made all the eggs sunny-side up! Now here's the part of the page I love the most. Again, my babble:

Panel 2/ Bob has a plate of scrambled eggs.

JIMMY: Okay, now that M-11 isn't around... Ken. How did he ....

GORILLA MAN: I'm out in the forest on a recon mission for SHIELD and bam! The robot's standing there!
2: I'm like, hey, where have you been?

Panel 3/ Bob pours milk on his plate. Gorilla Man is stiffening up and making a blank-eyed imitation of a robot.



Now think about what he pulled off there: A GORILLA DOING AN IMITATION OF A ROBOT. I don't think I can stress that enough- most people can't give you a passable gorilla, much less a gorilla imitating an android. This series has just been hundreds of panels like that which make me giddy to open my Kirk emails. Every couple of weeks I thank editor Mark Paniccia for asking Leonard to draw this series. Thanks to him our team is so well defined that readers already have a strong sense of each's character, and the group dynamics aren't cliche. They feel like real people you might know, and it's made this project one of the most enjoyable of my career. Now the gasbagging about me and how I great I am will resume, but for today, I wanted to salute Leonard Kirk- watch him carefully.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com
Site Meter