FAN ART FROM COMICS, ANIMATION & FILM
What follows is work inspired by manga or anime I have followed in recent years. I started drawing the images originally as a way of focusing the mind when working on other projects. They have since become something of a passion of mine. By drawing these characters, I am able to understand the craft of creating manga better and the personal styles of some of the artists involved with it. For the sake of simplicity, I keep the images as black and white line drawings with little shading. Please enjoy them for what they are...tributes to the masters of the art.
In other areas, I recently began a series of large images based on characters known to Western comics. The first was Harley Quinn, and then Poison Ivy, who will eventually have a series of works done with her exclusively as the subject. I have also inserted an older block print I did years ago of Catwoman. Just for fun, a joke piece of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings has been done, too.
I am a recent discoverer of Marvel comics and some of their amazing characters. Black Widow, introduced to me through IRON MAN 2, has become of particular interest. (With the number of female characters from DC and anime in the images below, is it any surprise?) I did this fan piece in the winter of 2012-13, as part of an art show I participated in at Comic Book Addiction in Whitby, Ontario. I changed up the costume and hair a bit, influenced by THE AVENGERS movies and a couple of ideas I had for making her a little more militaristic. I set the image in some war-torn region of the former Soviet Union, which has seen a lot of strife since the end of the Cold War. The gun points at you, but her look is someplace else. This is a person who is haunted by many ghosts- waking nightmares that walk with her along the bloodied road she wanders.
Marker on art paper. Original fan art based on Marvel character, 2015
Graphite, coloured pencil and wash. Original fan art based on Marvel character, 2013.
MORE COMIC CHARACTERS...
I was invited to be a guest artist at Comic Book Addiction in Whitby on Free Comic Book Day for the first time this year (2014). Six hours non-stop and 22 drawings later, I had completed drawings of Tardis time machines, Kick Ass, Wonder Woman, Spirderman and a host of other characters. Time ran out and I took three requests home to complete in my own time. As you have noticed, I do not have a lot of 'fan art' in the portfolio and what I do have is largely interpretative. However, I really enjoyed working on the drawings, and while I was not able to photograph the ones I did on the spot in the shop that day, I certainly preserved the others for posterity- and took longer to do them. The ones that follow are ones I am most proud of from that after FCBD experience.
HARLEY QUINN after L'il Gotham and an early Harley from 2003
graphite on paper and graphite with coloured pencil on paper
graphite on paper, 2014
I really enjoyed L'il GOTHAM and when asked to do a picture of Harley, I could not resist making her a little chibi. It's not a strict copy of the style in the comic by any means. This, like the Harley I did years ago, is very manga. I don't like the new costume, and haven't made up my mind on the character herself yet in the New 52. But I also still have the Arkham games sitting by the X-Box as yet uplayed, so I could have a different outlook when the time comes. The Joker piece was meant to be creepy. I made him younger. I also made him more cadaverous. Someone seeing the piece loved the nose and ear hairs and added with that nose he looks like a cross between Joker and Michael Jackson.
CARTOONING COURSE REPRODUCTIONS
While taking Cartooning Part Two and the Childrens Illustration courses at George Brown College, I undertook several reproductions and some creative interpretations of works by famous cartoonists and illustrators to develop various skills and techniques. It has often been frowned upon in the day job for students to copy works for projects and there are good reasons why they shouldn't. However, the process of slavishly reproducing a work or creating something in the style of a particular artist develops a great discipline in the artist doing the copying. It forces one to really study the style of the artist and the process of undertaking that study cannot help but rub off on the student in some way, if it is done thoroughly.
Now... none of the following works are traced. I did blow up the cartoons to as close to the 12x16" size as possible to look at the scale of the work. Some of my colleagues in the classes used grids to establish their proportions. I laid out the worksheet upon which I was to do the drawing beside the blow up and applied some sight/size methods to place basic marks or shapes and nothing else on the paper. Then I drew in everything freehand. I knew these were not copies in the way traced works are because of all the fixing up I had to do to match the alignment of characters and objects on the page. The Dennis cartoon was particularly nasty for that as I found out. Ketcham's style- and I don't think I'm a fan of it- creates a lot of complexity on the panel. Looking at the cartoon as an abstract composition was quite an experience.
"I BEEN WANTIN' A HORSE FOR A LONG LONG TIME... MAYBE YOU CAN HEAR ME A LITTLE BETTER UP HERE."
Dennis the Menace original by Hank Ketcham, reproduced in 2014 in pencil on left and ink on right by C.A. Seaman
DEDINI of THE NEW YORKER
I must admit I don't know much about this fellow, but I had a wonderful time reproducing his cartoon and tweaking it a little. The original scan has some small sketches on it I did to get used to drawing the characters. In the final piece, I worked on the ink and wash to bring something softer to the piece I didn't like in the original. Careful wet on wet application of the wash on the illustration board, which was Canson paper on card support, made for the effects you see in the final.
"POP, TELL ME AGAIN HOW JAZZ CAME UP THE RIVER FROM NEW ORLEANS."
reproduced from original Dedini cartoon, sample on left, by C.A. Seaman on right, 2014
RE-IMAGINING CALVIN AND HOBBES...
The final piece in the cartooning course involved taking a strip from CALVIN AND HOBBES and coming up with a new ending on the fourth panel, which had been blocked out. So, not only was there dialogue in speech bubbles to be inked and the first three panels to be reproduced faithfully, but the last panel had to fit the style of the rest of the strip and tie up this little package with a bow. I was annoyed about something unrelated to the project the night I first saw this and immediately drew the strip's final panel in less than ten minutes, pretty much as you see it in the final. I kept wondering if doing what I did would work as the weeks passed, but decided in the end that pitching them over a waterfall was the best thing to do.
Like Bugs Bunny used to say, "Ain't I a stinker?"
This is the pencil design, with the final panel added. I hated doing the hands on the characters. They seemed like abstract blobs, like Dennis's feet in the other cartoon. But that is what was there and that was what I had to do. Below is the final strip in ink. I changed the tree to match the foliage in the earlier frame, but the instructor said I should have left it the way it was as a kind of foreshadowing. I learned a lot of things from this exercise- I dislike lettering and need to work on it. I was emulating even the format of Watterson's lettering in this, but being left handed, found it difficult to do. Generally in my work I finish pieces from right to left to avoid smudging and messes. Try lettering this way. That's how I do it because of the problems with the ink and it is not easy or comfortable. Something tells me I will probably be using computer type when I get the chance,
CALVIN AND HOBBES REPRODUCTION AND INTERPRETATION STRIP
original except panel four by S. Watterson and reproduction by C.A. Seaman 2014
AND ONE MORE CALVIN AND HOBBES REPRODUCTION
The third cartooning course called for a reproduction of an anthology cover to complement the same for our original character creations. I revisited the world of Calvin and Hobbes for this one, enjoying the composition and colours. This was one of the easier choices in the selection available to us, but it was one I knew I could happily live with while putting it together. I did make a little change on Hobbes, darkening the fur and putting multiple tones in the rendering of this famous feline. Watterson did it in a few of his own strips and I liked the effect. Whether it was intentional on his part or not is another story.
CALVIN AND HOBBES ANTHOLOGY REPRODUCTION
12X16" watercolour, pen and ink. Original art by S. Watterson. Reproduction by C.A. Seaman 2014
STEVE CANYON by MILTON CANIFF
TERRY AND THE PIRATES is considered one of the great comic strips of all time. Milton Caniff, its creator could have cemented his reputation with his work on that strip alone. But no, he had to go ond create STEVE CANYON afterwards, featuring some of the best renderings of aircraft put in print for a comic strip.
I was given the job in Cartooning Three of reproducing a title panel from a comic strip. There were choices given to us and all of them were very good, but we were also given the choice of coming up something else if we chose to do so. I'd just finished a book on Noel Sickles, Caniff's best friend and fellow cartoonist with a very similar style. That IDW publication inspired me to look at another one I had on Caniff and the idea for the project was born. I wanted to get into a little more realism and explore some things like aircraft or weaponry, close to the fine art works I've been creating. When I saw this panel from STEVE CANYON, the rest, as they say, is history.
Like the other pieces, it was freehanded, taking a scan and blowing it up to the assignment size, then aligning it with a blank piece of paper and making simple marks only to create the base locations of the main features in the piece. This work was easier than the free-wheeling style of Ketcham or Watterson because the subject was a DC-4 or C-54 transport aircraft nose on. Everything about it was balanced and proportioned. Once I made X's where the engines were and marked the diameter of the fuselage with reference lines, then moved the blow-up to set a couple of vertical X's for the top and bottom of the fuselage and the dihedral of the wings along the side edge of the sheet, I just eyeballed everything else from right to left. If you look at the original, you can see the little differences.
DRAWING TEMPLATE FROM ORIGINAL SOURCE.
I've been asked why I don't trace the piece if it is a reproduction. I just don't see the challenge in it. Freehanding the pieces really forces me to put on the style of the artist like a helmet and get inside their lines and methodology. I can better understand the artist's work much better this way and make it more sincere, even if it is a little off in places. I think that is why we were doing these pieces in the first place.
A final note: this piece is my first real foray into gouache. I was impressed by work being done by someone else in the class with the medium and wanted to test it out for myself. I think gouache and I will be friends...
THE ORIGINAL PIECE, REPRODUCED FROM IDW'S EXCELLENT BOOK ON CANIFF
STEVE CANYON REPRODUCTION PANEL FINAL
16x6", goache, pen and ink. Reproduction by C.A. Seaman
If your eyes have been darting back and forth between this piece and the original, you will have noticed my changes. The cockpit front windows are a bit larger than on the original. You can see they were a bit crooked on the drawing and when I spotted that, I fixed them on the board, but enlarged them slightly. Also, I shrank the depth of the engine nacelle covers. Sorry, Mr. Caniff, but they were never that deep on the original C-54s! The big thing, though, is Caniff cut out part of the black space in the letter C, exposing whatever was behind it. I noticed it on other strips, so it was something deliberately planned by him. Unfortunately, I noticed it the day the piece was due and only because someone else spotted it, saying they liked my version better. A survey of others led me to leave it alone. What was hardest in the painting was re-creating Caniff's blotchy application of colour. That is not a dig... I love how it looked in the original! However, gouache loved to be flat and not blotchy. I had to layer colours to create the effect, particularly in the sky, leading me to wonder if Caniff did the original in watercolour. All in all, a great experience. I learned a lot from this, which will show up in my other aviation art in future.
WINNIE THE POOH
My first major foray into pen and ink was this piece reproducing one of E.H. Shepard's illustrations from A.A. Milne's WINNIE THE POOH books. As with the others, I laid out the reference points on the drawing paper next to an enlarged scan of the original and plotted the position of the parts from there. No tracing. I then filled the basic parts in and added the remaining details right on the board with the ink, resulting in one of the rare times my pen blotched on the board. See if you can find it. I think I hid it pretty well.
WINNIE THE POOH REPRODUCTION
original by E.H. Shepard and this version by C.A. Seaman 2013
FROM FILM AND TELEVISION
Here are a couple of drawings done from pausing the PVR on an episode of THE BORGIAS and drawing from the screen as if in a life class. An interesting experiment made easier by having a large television to work from in the first place. No post work was done here in either drawing. It was literally done on the spot. For those who always like to know these things, they took between 30 minutes and an hour each to complete. I loved the lighting and the detail in the frame, with the hair and the contrasts of highlight and shadows. Life drawing studios are often brightly lit, and I liked the more directional lighting source here. If I went back to the pictures, I would use charcoal or conte to darken the background and bring up the contrast more. But what is done is done. As studies, they will do.
C.A. Seaman 2013, graphite on paper, approximately 12x16 inches each
ANIME & MANGA
DOLLS- Yumiko Kawahara
While I had created some fanart drawings of characters from some anime over the last few years, it was actually not until now (2015) that I actively reproduced a work from manga. The result below is from a shojo manga published over ten years ago, featuring a lot of continuous lines which needed a rock steady hand to produce. The stories were fun to read. The art was beautiful. The act of reproducing this page from Volume Four for another course at George Brown made me appreciate this series all over again. The only change I had to make from the original was to create the blended texture in the left panels with wash instead of halftone screening, which I neither own, nor have used in many years.
Original by Yumiko Kawahara, reproduced in marker and wash by C.A. Seaman, 2015
NEON GENESIS EVANGELION- Gainax and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
This piece was actually published in 2009 by Dark Horse as part of the fan art section in Volume Three of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: THE SHINJI IKARI RAISING PROJECT. It was completed in 2007, using coloured pencil and graphite. The graphite presents serious problems when being photographed. The softer the pencil like 2B and above, or harder like 4H and above, concentrations of graphite can blow light from flash photography or scanners right back onto the lens. An artist suggested to me for drawings like that to use Wolff pencils, which are like conte and absorb light better. For the ghostly effect of Asuka's doll in the background this works with the graphite, but if you look at the top right corner, there is a shine to the surface that should not be there. In hindsight, the hair cluster around the beret on older Asuka is a little awakward to me, but that was how Sadamoto drew it in many pieces I researched before composing this piece.
UNTITLED TRIBUTE TO EVANGELION
this composition copyright C.A. Seaman 2007
Link back to contents page