Friday, November 04, 2011

Colossal Collection of Action Poses

And this week for something completely different I read a book on how to become an artist. Well, actually not how to become an artist but how to become a better artist. This week I read, looked at, and attempted to use Colossal Collection of Action Poses by Buddy Scalera.

Over the years I’ve come to dislike the concept of photo reference. The problem for me is there has been a tendency for artists to copy photos making their art look very static and dull. Shame on me! I knew that many of the EC artists posed for each other during the 50’s but I’d forgotten that photo references are one of the best ways to insure your work as an artist has the best feel to it.

The Colossal Collection contains lots of photos of both men and women in various poses. There are action shots like flying, jumping, punching, and pushing. There are shots of people using weapons including knives, guns, and even bows. There are people in everyday clothes and people getting dressed and undressed. Basically there is a photo for just about everything. But that isn’t what makes this book so special.

This book is special because it's more than just a book of photos. It's an actual tutorial on how to use photo references given by some of the best artists in the business. There are demo’s/tutorials by Mitch Breitweiser, Rafael Kayanan, Matt Haley, Jamal Igle, Terry Moore, Michael Oeming, Josh Howard, and Paul Chadwick to name a few.

Each artist uses one or more of the photos to create a simple piece. While using the photo the artist also talks about his technique for making a drawing. For example, Kayanan uses a photo to create an alien warrior. He walks through his process from rough sketch, to refined pencil sketch, creates tones, then scanning, then working in photo shop! It’s a 5 page, 9 step sequence that walks you through the process.

In comparison, Ingle walks you through a six step process showing you how to combine six pictures into one giant piece. Terry Moore talks about how to read a photo and understand the information within it. Oeming even talks about tracing. Yes, tracing!

The diversity of the artists represented is a real benefit to the book also. Seeing how Oeming and Howard, whose artistic styles can be called ‘cartoony,’ contrasted to Greg Land’s style creates a perfect contrast in techniques. The various artists and discussions show how photo references can be applied to any artistic style.

I would recommend this book for mid level artists because there is an expectation that you have a basic understanding of anatomy and perspective.  Overall, this is a book that any artist could use over and over again and I highly recommend it.

Visit Buddy Scalera's Comic Book School here and see all the other cool books he has.
You can buy the book from Amazon here.

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