Friday, January 21, 2011

Artist Blogs

A great many webcomic artists run blogs.   That probably isn't a surprise, nearly every comic has some sort of news page underneath them.  These newsblogs, though, rarely have anything thrilling in them.  Often it is just news for the comic, like apologies for late strips or the occasional begging for votes.  That's fine, but it takes a bit of extra effort to do a stand alone blog that covers something other than the comic.

That said, there are a few comics with separate blogs out there, but I don't read most of them.  I generally believe a comic should be able to stand on it's own, and the artist should be able to communicate their thoughts through it without a separate medium.   Heart Shaped Skull did this for the better part of a year with the "Vicious Whispers" series of strips.  Those are, by the way, really fun reads (the whole comic is, of course) but they also tell a lot about how the artist wants to see life, the universe and everything.  The character (Vicious) is designed to think that way, of course, but I think Aaron (the artist) WANTS to think this way and that tells me a lot about him.

But that's not what this post is about, this is about blogs artists DO operate.  Like I said, I don't read many, and really I only read two.  The first is by Faith Erin Hicks, of Ice and Demonology 101.  Mostly I read it for Ice updates, but I still enjoy reading it when there aren't any.  Typically she ends up posting random bits of art, news about her current projects (comics that aren't web based) and random things she finds interesting.  Often she does post fan art for other comics, there's even one for Heart Shaped Skull in there.  Honestly though, it's just a regular livejournal type blog, and I really do read it mostly for Ice updates.

Which makes the last one I even bother checking significant.  It is Indistinguishable from Magic, the blog from the artist of Dresden Codak.  This is the reason I decided to do this article, because this blog is actually something spectacular.  While I know there are some differing opinions on the story of Dresden Codak, no one will argue against it's art.  It is possibly the most beautiful comic on the internet, easily topping even the most popular strips.  The fact that it takes him a month to do a strip is understandable given the sheer quality of the strip.

Indistinguishable from Magic makes a concerted effort to explain his craft.  He breaks down the secrets behind the art that he does, pointing out such things as color choice, posture and simple layout.  Primarily he uses Dresden Codak as an example, but he also goes further afield, touching on other webcomics and even some published books to illustrate his point.  Sadly, like his comic it updates once in a blue moon, but there's so much information here, mostly visual, that one could simply read the blog itself over and over again.  My art skills are crap, but even I think I'm learning something from it, and I bet those who do a lot of art and comics would do well to read it as well.

Of course, I'm sure those blogs get more hits than my humble effort, but you should still go read them.  Lots of fun and information to be had.

Until next time kiddies.

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