Recently one of my senior art students, who I have for private art lessons, came back from a trip to France with several hard-back graphic novels with a fantasy theme. France has much more acceptance, and even reverence, for comic artwork, seeing it as an adult artform rather than as drawings only for children’s comics.
I have looked through the books, admiring the anatomy, perspective and backgrounds but my grasp of French is only enough to get the gist of the stories. We both used them to try new forms of drawing that we might incorporate into our own styles by copying. Here is a pencil copy that I made of a drawing by William from ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ :-
Copying is a useful way of finding out how a picture is constructed and whether it is useful to you.
It can also kick-start your own imagination. Japanese Manga is a popular style at the moment and its influences can be seen even in some of the output of the big American giants DC and Marvel.
During the the art lesson, we had fun playing around with manga-style drawings, as shown here:-
We even drew our own chibis (small child version of a character) :-
It’s quite impressive how detailed backgrounds can be and yet can go almost unnoticed in the reading of the narrative. Here’s one I drew from a single panel in a manga book where it was just the incidental support for the two small silhouette figures at the top, who were talking :-
Finding other artists’ work that you admire and trying out their style is a good way of developing one’s own style and continuing to improve one’s skill.