Influences in Brushstrokes

After a couple of months of putting this off, I finally caved in and did the Influence Meme, where you’re given a grid to fill in with the things that influence you, or your artwork. Mine is below:

The first three rows are visual artists, and normally, even in the artist’s comments I’d have asked for those reading to try and figure who is who. For the sake of this entry though, I’ll fill you in on the details and do a little Mr. Exposition thing. We’ll start from the first row and work our way through left to right.

  1. Masahiro ItoI was introduced to Masahiro Ito’s work when I was slowly getting into the series Silent Hill. As the creature designer for Silent Hill 1, 2, and 3 and the fourth game was the latest that had been released at the time of playing, he was the creature designer for the series. I was influenced by his use of high contrasts and creature design to the point that I had placed 2 years consecutively at a Silent Hill create a monster contest, which led me to do creature work on a Silent Hill fan game. Unfortunately the fan game fell through 3 years ago, and there hasn’t been work on it since. One thing however that I haven’t taken with Ito is his freakishly huge breasts on his females, and which is why some of his artwork is NSFW.
  2. Kelly Turnbull aka Coelasquid – Female, Canadian, 23 years old (as of writing), and fueled on Manly. For someone who was tired of waif-like men who didn’t seem to have a backbone, she was a god-send. We had interacted on the comics board of the arsehole of the internet (Hi /co/mrades!), and as the term was for the time, drawfagged together (Yes, I had drawn Femme-Lobo and Femme-Deadpool 4 years before Lady Deadpool), and as she progressed into the field of animation, she had created a few tutorials and tips and tricks sheets for artists to which I had taken to heart.
  3. Taga-ilog aka Melvin Calingo – He used to be one of the core members of the now defunct comics publishing group, Culture Crash Comics. I was actually there and had bought the first issue just as it had come out, which I feel I was very fortunate. I followed them throughout their publishing career until they felt that it would be too difficult to continue and folded. Taga-ilog, as his moniker was at the time (it means “Beside a River” or “Along a river”, mirroring the origin of the word ‘Tagalog’; incidentally, his comic was named Pasig which also had a river running through it, and Taga-ilog was was also the pen name of another Filipino Artist during the Spanish Era), and his comic Pasig did not jump out at me immediately, instead I was drawn more to Elmer Damaso’s more overt anime style. Eventually I saw the beauty of Taga-ilog’s rough lines, and more realistic (compared to Damaso’s style) rendering. Taga-ilog states Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal and Battle Angel Alita as his influences, both of which are very apparent in his work. I have since started following Blade of the Immortal myself.
  4. One-Vox aka Peter Mohrbacher – This is one that I haven’t necessarily taken anything from him, its just one of the artists that I have been inspired more more than influenced. One might see some of his influence on my artwork, but aside from trying to see what he did that worked, there hasn’t been much of me implementing his style, so to speak, in my digital brushstrokes.
  5. J. G. Jones – Similar to One-Vox, J. G. Jones’ (as he will forever be called by his full name in my head) work was first shown to me as the covers of the DC weekly comic 52. Not only were illustrations fresh and distinct, the various styles he played with appealed  to me. Listening to the DC Comics podcasts from San Diego Comic Con 2007 – 2008, the writers of 52 were saying how J. G. Jones always came with a sketchbook and several markers in tow and was ready to fly off in a flurry of thumbnail sketches for cover designs. I wanted to be that, I wanted to be able to be that creative to have multiple ideas for concepts and pieces hot off my fingers and brain.
  6. Chris Bachalo – Chris Bachalo was one of the first ‘proper’ comic book artists that I was introduced to. His work in the mid-90’s X-book, Generation X, was (I dare say) instrumental in me drifting towards a more western flow and look as opposed to the overtly anime like style I had at around the early Noughties. While funnily enough his work drifted to a more anime-ish style, it was a balance in it that felt like I was able to pull it off as well.
  7. Adrian Alphona – For someone who had a wide range of body shapes and sizes, it was a great shame that Adrian Alphona quit the comics industry after one title. His work in Runaways helped me be more confident in playing with body weights and proportions, and the expressiveness in the features and clothes were a joy to read.
  8. Jim Cheung – The dynamicism in the panels he did in Young Avengers appealed to me, offsetting the grown supers and capes against the younger inexperienced teens. Sure, the teens had their own more subdued heroic build, but unlike other comic artists, his teens looked like they were teens. Action sequences were set against quiet but intense moments such as Wiccan and Hulkling’s “coming out”.
  9. Yoshihiro Togashi – One artist that’s stayed with me for the longest time is Yoshihiro Togashi, creator of manga like Hunter x Hunter, Level E, and Yu Yu Hakusho. I was introduced to his work with Yu Yu Hakusho (then known in the Philippines as Ghost Fighter), and was one of the first styles I had tried to actively emulate. Eventually I grew out of trying to emulate just his style, but if anything, his work had probably the greatest influence in how my lines look today.
  10. Inoue Takehiko – His realistic depictions of anatomy and movement were a big deal to me when I first saw his illustrations in Slam Dunk. Scenes were drawn without too much stylisation. Figures were moving fluidly, you could see actual movement between the panels as opposed to figures just posing for the shot. This was during a time where the animated shows I watched opted for more of a stylistic approach, like the shojo Fushigi Yugi.
  11. Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda – I don’t think I can separate these two. Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda are, yes, both members of the band Linkin Park, but they did meet at the Pasedena college of Art and Design. Joe’s work tends to be more dark, a little cerebral. Something, as evident by Masahiro Ito’s entry, that appealed to me. Mike, on the other hand, his works tended to be more fun, warm, and bright. Two sides of the same coin, as evidenced by the work I had decided to show on my Influence Map. That is the cover of the Hybrid Theory EP, back when they were called Hybrid Theory. It was late in my following and emulating of their styles that I drifted off to creature design, and subsequently, Silent Hill.
  12. James Jean – Funnily enough, friends with Joe Hahn. Multi award winner for his cover work on the Vertigo series Fables, his work is one I promised myself I would hang on my wall some day. Graceful lines, and beautiful colours isn’t something that I myself try to emulate, but all the same, his work is inspiring and just gorgeous to look at. It is his sketchbook sketches that influenced me most, his figure and life sketches is something I had started to do as well, bringing a sketchbook to the airport, sitting outside, or during a commute, and just draw what you see. He also said “Hands are as expressive as the face.” and as much as I draw faces, I try to sketch people’s hands to capture the emotion in them.
  13. Brom – You might notice something here. I like dark artists. Brom’s no exception. What I find myself looking at closely most is his use and blending of colours, his setting of darks against whites. I’ve always been told to not use blacks in digital work, (why? I’m not sure), but Brom seems to use them frequently, to great effect.
  14. Glenn Rane – Blizzard Concept Artist and Son of the Storm. I prefer his work over Samwise’s because of Glenn Rane’s clean lines and clean definition. While Samwise’s work tends to be slightly fuzzy to me, Glenn Rane’s artwork is crisp. Often in doing my own digital painting, I find myself looking at his artwork, trying to figure exactly how his edges come out so clean and precise.

There are other visual artists I feel I should have mentioned, like the artists who work on Archie comics, as those were the first things I had copied when I was around  7 or 8 years old. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto whose watercolour work was inspirational to me when I attempted my own watercolour work. Alyza Taguilaso, a high school buddy of mine whose quirky art style and design sense had influenced my own, however subtlety. It was Nobuhiro Watsuki’s character design, rendering, and action flow in Rurouni Kenshin that I would look to at times. Perhaps I should have added him to the grid above….

The rest of the influences are writers like Brian Jacques, China Mieville, and the ever popular Neil Gaiman. Game series like Final Fantasy and Suikoden showed me world building, and Shadow of the Colossus gave me the quiet majesty of isolationism in artwork. Things around me, real life, pop culture, and media are a huge influence, no one can deny that. Music is the heartbeat of the world, I think.

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