Been meaning to share this with you guys…it’s a page from Sandman: Endless Nights, the issue Frank Quitely drew on Destiny.
It’s definitely a book to check out; huge stars doing what they do best on the best fitting Endless character for their style…Bill Sienkiewicz on Delirium, Milo Manara on Desire, for instance.
Frank Quitely had this gorgeous watercolored look that made great use of negative space. This is by no means his “best” or most beautiful page in the story, but it’s probably the single page that’s had the biggest effect on me as an artist.
What I’m specifically referring to are the ribs of this unidentified carcass. When I first saw this I stared at that carcass forever…this is an object that’s currently stationary—it’s dead! But you look at it, and by the sheer placement of each rib, you can hear the sound effect it must’ve made when an animal (the leopard?) tore into it. Some disgusting “splgqulrrrrc” sound you make when you squeeze air out of your cheeks. You know which direction it was torn to pieces. You can see into the past…you can see ACTION and movement in an object that is currently still. All by where each rib was placed.
And of course, the words on the page are oh-so-appropriate even in this context. Frank Quitely must’ve felt a great deal of responsibility based on what Gaiman’s words had to say.
From this I learned two things that I’ve kept with me since. One is more specific—that’s that repeated objects or shapes, when placed right, create movement…a sort of animation. You will find I use a lot of repeated objects in what I do; it’s because of this page.
And more general (and more important!), I learned that a single image can and should be everything it has potential to be. I do hate doing layouts, but they’re hugely important…and in each panel I just keep tinkering away until it produces the right, exact feeling I’m trying to get across. And I do that because I KNOW I can arrive at that point of knowing that yes, that is exactly it. I know there is always “an image for that.” It’s just up to me to figure out what “that” is.
I’d been reminded of this because Brandon asked me at one point if there was a way to draw shoes being kicked off. And yes, there really is an image for that, one that shows the past, present and future all at once.
Speaking of all this, FQ was actually on a BBC special very recently, called “What Do Artists Do All Day?” I’d share the youtube video but BBC promptly took it down. If you find it, though, it’s very worth seeing. He really puts a lot of thought into how to lay out the page.a
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