If I were to think about my favourite artists, the guys that I just love to look at, it would be a pretty long list with Cassiday, Perez, Quietly, Miller, Joe Queseda, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Tony Harris and Arthur Adams in the top tier. When I think about the guys who have most inspired my particular style of art though, it's a totally different list. Vince Loke, Kelly Jones, Phil Hester, Michael Avon Oeming, Matt Wagner, and Kevin Maguire would probably round out that list.
I love the hyper-detailed style of Perez and Adams, but there's no way I could emulate it…I'm just not patient enough. I've tried Jim Lee and Frank Miller's styles but they're tough to pull off, and Miller's spotting of blacks has just gone leaps and bounds since his early days.
Vince Loke and Kelly Jones were my original inspirations, and I have reams of drawings that look like something out of a Kelly Jones sketchbook. Loke's work on Deadworld inspired me a great deal as did Jones' work on a couple of Batman hardcover graphic novels and more specifically, Sandman.
It was discovering Matt Wagner however which significantly changed my style. He was the first guy I can remember who used such an economy of line to express his intentions. Reading Grendel: Devil by the Deed, was definately an artistic life changing moment. I've got some sketches from that period where I totally emulated him, and you can see my struggle away from the Kelly Jones cross hatched, blacks heavy style to something that makes use of thick and thin lines. Since then, I've loved Tony Harris' drawing, which made me appreciate Alfonse Mucha (who was definately a genius when it came to design).
Recently though I've been playing with the styles of Phil Hester, Scott Morse, and Michael Avon Oeming to develop my “Chronicology look”. While the style itself is “easier” than a Perez look, it's also got more dynamics for me. Rather than worrying about every little piece of rubble, I can concentrate on the energy of the pose, something I never considered before.
I think it's made me much better, and others will have the chance to decide for themselves later this year when I start releasing my art online. I've rarely shared what I draw with anyone, so this will be a pretty big deal for me, but I'm very excited. Who knows? Maybe Chronicology could be the next Penny-Arcade or P vs P.