Friday, October 12, 2007

All-Star Sketchbook

These are what I look out for in a comic, starting with the most important:

1. The story/script. I appreciate awesome writing and great storylines. Whether they be infused with humour, pathos, great one-liners, superb action sequences, witty doesn't matter to me as long as there are strong elements of storytelling and writing inherent in story arc or script.

2. The character/s involved. I'd sooner pick up a comic featuring Spider-man or Captain America than I would, say, Booster Gold or Northstar. I have favourite characters and I have characters I really don't care about. There are exceptions to the rule though: I purchase Moon Knight. While he's an obscure character and one would classify him as a B or even C-lister from the Marvel pantheon, the comic has been infused with strong writing and fantastic art, making it a must buy for me...initially anyway as I'm thinking of dropping the book now to save costs. And I purchased some issues which had the storyline of the Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding, not because those characters are fan favourites but because they're more "special event" issues.

3. The creators involved in the creation of the comic. Anything written by Alan Moore, Brian Bendis, Brian K. Vaughan, Mark Millar and Ed Brubaker gets automatic attention from me, even though I don't purchase all of the titles they write (for instance, I don't purchase Brubaker's Uncanny X-Men and I don't buy everything ever written by Alan Moore). I'd also sooner pay more attention to anything drawn/painted by Alex Ross, Jim Lee, Joe Madureira, John Romita Jr. There are some comics I will definitely pick up based on the creative teams.

4. The artwork. I really enjoy good art and there ARE some comics I pick up based on artwork alone, like a lot of Alex Ross and Jim Lee's stuff (I'd say almost ALL stuff done by them especially in recent years), but it's not the be-all-and-end-all criterion for me. I don't mind wonderfully scripted comics with bad artwork, though I must say good art just makes everything so much better to look at and the story to flow a lot better.

I think that's probably the perfect segue into the article from Wizard Universe I'm posting up now. Check out these sketches/preliminary pencils from some of the artists featured in the upcoming The 3 minute sketchbook. Absolutely stunning!

Wizard editor Brian Cunningham shows off superstar samples from Hero Initiative's upcoming 3-Minute Sketchbook!

Posted October 11, 2007 9:30 AM

What can you do in three minutes’ time?

Brush your teeth? Take a leak? Figure out if you really wanna watch the rest of “America’s Got Talent”? If you’re like me, you’ll come to appreciate that brief timespan. But first, a story.

Last January, I approached Hero Initiative head honcho Jim McLauchlin with a desire to contribute to his charity, which helps veteran comic book creators in financial need. He put me right to work coordinating a sketchbook of drawings by more than 100 comic book artists.

It couldn’t have been easier, since Michael Finn had done the lion’s share of the work. A lifelong comics fan, Michael traveled to conventions gathering all of these sketches with one ingenious caveat: Each sketch must be completed in three minutes or less!

Michael offered his sketch collection to the Hero Initiative, which published the art in a book, to be released in October. (They also auctioned off the original art—check eBay for whatever’s left!) That’s where I came in, putting it all together into a 112-page collection appropriately titled The 3-Minute Sketchbook. What you see on these pages is only a sampling of the gold that Michael mined. Artists from all generations contributed, including Arthur Adams, Jim Cheung, Alan Davis, Juan Doe, Gene Ha, Bob Layton, George PĂ©rez, Joe Quesada, and even guys like Brad Meltzer and Tom Brevoort! And there’s a lot more where that came from. After you check out the impressive work here, give to a good cause and ask your retailer to reserve a copy of The 3-Minute Sketchbook, or order it from for only $12.99.

In fact, with a click of a mouse, you can probably do it all in…well, you know how long.

Steve McNiven

Civil War artist McNiven confesses that this color sketch of Aunt Petunia’s favorite blue-eyed nephew actually took four minutes. “But,” he says, “they were Canadian minutes!”

Mike Perkins

It didn’t take much cajoling for Perkins to donate his three minutes. “It’s fantastic what the Hero Initiative does,” Perkins says. “Whenever I get the chance, I always sign at their booth. I didn’t mind getting involved in this at all. It was a character I love and it was a good discipline lesson, really.”

Michael Turner

“I’ve drawn her the most of anybody in the last handful of years,” says Turner. But the sketch wasn’t his only contribution to the cause. “I just did a [Hero Initiative] pool game with Paul Jenkins at [Wizard World Chicago]. He won. I hadn’t played pool in six months, and he’s really good, so I give him credit for beating me. [Laughs]”

John Romita Jr.

Captain America, Spider-Man and Hulk
Even after 30 years in the biz, Romita Jr. still strives to improve the quality of his convention sketches. “I don’t know if I’m a natural at doing sketches,” he says. “My father is a natural. I’m still a work in progress. One day I’m going to get really, really good. There’s always room for improvement.”

Neal Adams

“I did the X-Men for a while, and I never had a Wolverine to draw until [recently],” says Adams. “He’s such a good character. It’s like, would you rather draw Cyclops—a guy who just kind of looks out through his glasses—or Wolverine, a guy who cuts the crap out of people? I think I want that guy. I hate to be so shallow, but there you go,” he laughs.

Dave Gibbons

Captain America
Known for his DC Comics work, Gibbons drawing a Marvel hero is a rare treat. “Of the Marvel characters,” Gibbons says, “Captain America has got by far the best costume.”

Tim Sale

The Shadow
Like this sketch? Now marvel at this: It took Sale exactly 30 seconds to draw. “The Shadow is easy to draw quickly,” says Sale. “And the Shadow is a comic I would love to do someday, and there are rumors that the character may be revived soon.” We can only hope whoever publishes it can plainly see what we do here.

Frank Cho

Believe it or not, Cho can sketch even faster than three minutes. “When I autograph, sometimes I would draw freehand headshot sketches of my Liberty Meadows characters in under a minute,” Cho says.

Bill Morrison

Captain America
As someone who’s worked on every single issue of Bongo’s Simpsons comics, it’s no wonder Morrison doodled Cap as if he stepped right out of Springfield. “I had just done an Avengers story in Marvel Double Shot that I did Simpsons-style,” says Morrison. “I thought that would be a nice change of pace. When I’m at a convention I do probably 100 Homer Simpsons a day!”

Kevin Eastman

Leonardo from 'TMNT’
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman says he’s been doodling quick sketches for fans nonstop since 1985. “I can do a quick TMNT head sketch, even with a weapon, in like 20 seconds, maybe less,” he says. “I also did one with my eyes closed a couple times for a fan’s request at a show—those didn’t come out too bad either!”

Look at how detailed Mike Perkins' pencils for Deathlok are! And that's done in THREE MINUTES!? Unreal. That's some unbelievable quick and detailed pencilling by John Romita Jr too! If you enjoy art, then this book is certainly a good one to get.

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