Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Omar Dogan: Girl 7

Girl 7 is a long overdue collection from artist Omar Dogan. Dogan is widely know as one of Udon Studios premier artists, having created a slew of comics and illustrations who's quality rivals or exceeds that of its origins. When those origins tend to be the internationally revered characters and artwork of Capcom, that's no small feat.

Dogan has a large fan following, evidenced in part by his million-page-view presence on deviantArt. There are original works in his gallery, but Girl 7 is the first published work of strictly original content. There's no Chun Li or Sakura illos to be oogled, just page after page of new material. Specifically, the seven titular "girls," through whom Dogan took upon himself to use as a narrative and inspiration for furthering his artistic skills. His goal was to create seven separate personalities through his artwork, and set them each among a series of favored themes. Dogan's own commentary is personal, informative, and often humble as he struggles to "break old habits" and reach new artistic goals.

The art itself reflects this, as it is surprisingly not what a fan of his might expect. It is familiar and lush and expertly rendered, tho it does have a distinctly different feel from his more commercial work. In that sense, mission accomplished. As with many of Udon't art books as of late, the print quality is superb and befitting of the work. If there is to be a criticism it is that which is the bane of today's digital artists: seeing their digital images in print. Some of the colored pieces appear over-saturated, which in this case means ink, and tend to look dark. A comparison of works presented both in the book and those on his deviantArt page do show that while stylistically he has chosen deep and saturated colors, the difference seen in print is verified. 

This does not detract from the work or goals of Girl 7, as there are some truly wonderful pieces across a spectrum of experiments in style and substance. Dogan's work may appeal to a specific base of admirers, tho the effort and skill seen in Girl 7 should make anyone of them, including myself, hope this collection is only the first of more to come.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Art of Amanda Conner

Since its announcement last year, I've eagerly awaited the release of this book, and it has finally arrived! Conner is not only one of my favorite artists all around, but one who has been directly inspiring my own work for many years. I was first enamored with her work when I spied it on Vampirella, and around the same time I happened upon it in Barbie. I often picked up books like Barbie and Archie whenever the art peeks ever so cleverly outside of its studio style. Conner's work on Barbie called to my own sensibilities when (at the time) I was struggling to find my own artistic voice. I've been a follower ever since. Since her beginnings Conner seemed to work sporadically in comics, but over the last decade she seems to have found a deserved mainstream appeal. I dare say her name sells books.

There is no doubt a rise Conner's popularity was cemented by depictions of DC's Power Girl, a character whom could arguably now be most associated with Conner as the definitive artist. It's rare in fandom that this happens, while top-tier characters can be associated with multiple signature artists, the middle ones usually have a brief but notable alignment with an artist who just "got it." With the possible exception of Adam Hughes, Conner pretty much owns Power-Girl.

The Art of Amanda Conner is a colorful collection that covers her artistic career from early on to her most recent projects. Dozens of comics covers, designs, sketches, interior pencils and inks are displayed mostly chronologically, and by character or company. Most surprising is the volume of work you have most likely not seen-- several independent projects and corporate illustration works are presented and are a great look into her work outside of comics. There is alot of art represented, though I would have preferred more showcases in a full page format rather than the collage layout most pages have. Conner's art is razor sharp and full of personality, seeing full pages of inked pieces would certainly have been an additional boon. 

There is accompanying text and several photographs of Conner and cohorts, showcasing her charm and humor that has in no small part grown her fan base over her career. Alongside Conner's own creations and lesser known characters, it is hard to deny that her approaches to Power-Girl, Supergirl, Black Canary, and numerous other heroes and heroines are the ones you want to see all the time.

New Label Alert: Life is good!

OMG! I LOVE the new design for Life Cereal. They stuck with that poor-man's default bevel way too long, and gone are the generic child portraits.

Love the new type. Love the crisp, sharp, properly colored bevel. Love the blue bowl. Love the new Quaker standard, with midpoint centered over the e! That's attention to detail, people. Life is my new cereal box hero!!!

And yes, there is synergy, as the themes match the recent rebranding of the Quaker Oats web site:
Quaker Oats