Channeling R. Crumb

While in South Carolina my girlfriend’s uncle let me read several art books from his collection. I was working on creating a lesson plan for Maus at the time and he showed me a few comic artists for inspiration. The book I found the most interesting was The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book. I’d seen Crumb before in An Illustrated Life, but I really got to appreciate his style through the large colored pages. It’s gritty and visceral. He puts a lot of emotion into his mark making. So when I sat down to draw a self-portrait last night I wanted to study his style.

R. Crumb has drawn quite a few self-portraits and I pulled up several for inspiration. Here they are in chronological order:




crumb-2005I mostly used the 1986 self-portrait as inspiration. I feel as though it shows a wide value range, which gave me a lot to reference and study. The 2005 portrait has a great range as well, but I was not doing a full body self-portrait.

As I worked, I flipped back through my browser tabs, constantly analyzing Crumb’s hatching technique.

Selfie 6

Since Crumb is a comics artist I tried to capture a comic book feel through an exaggerated expression. I had a lot of fun scrunching my face into different positions. And the squinted eyelids were much easier to draw than open eyes. The end result reminds me a little of Fight Club. My only complaint is that I made the mouth recede too much. I think this could be solved by darkening the shirt more and putting the majority of the drawing in shadow. Then the mouth would be on the same tone level as everything else.

While I spent a good part of the week looking at R. Crumb drawings, I also found inspiration in some other locations. I found this short painting tutorial which has made me think about how to deal with dark skin tones. And on deviantART I found the following two drawings:


I love how this drawing by Derek Jones is both sketchy and round. The fullness of the form makes it appear almost lifelike.


Then I found Mattias Adolfsson’s drawing among the Daily Deviations and it reminded me of Where’s Waldo. The level of detail keeps the viewer entertained for a long time. I also like the simple, muted colors. Though it’s a playful illustration, color theory is still very strong.

That’s it for today. If I can find the time to finish it, I’ll have a large drawing for next time.


The Villa

It’s crunch time. The semester is ending and my papers seem to all be due on the same date. It’s made for long hours of typing and flipping through notebooks. One of my projects was to design a lesson plan around multimedia or multimodal texts. Since I have been writing about the educational benefits of comics the entire semester, I decided to incorporate comics into my lesson plan. After I finished writing and constructing the exercise, I then had to execute it as though I were a student. I answered my own questions, analyzed comics, and then drew my own six-page comic. I based it off a poem I wrote for a previous lesson plan.





I wanted this comic to be short and simple, but like most things I undertake, it wound up being overcomplicated. I’ve had the idea to do a graphic novel about my school years at The Villa and I tested out some of those ideas in this comic. Therefore I decided to include a perspectival drawing of the outdoor stairs when that wasn’t necessary for the assignment. That took the most time.

The stairs on page 4 aren’t exactly to perspective and it bugs me, but I was rushed for time. I started plotting out the lines and then I just winged it. I think it turned out all right.

Despite my struggles, I enjoyed working on this comic immensely. I kept smiling as I drew the children, remembering classmates who wore similar outfits.

In a couple weeks I’m going to go to The Villa with my mother to snap some photos. It’s closed now and in a state of limbo, so I want to get some good reference pictures in case it gets bulldozed over. That way I will have something to go by if I do start the graphic novel.

Next week I will update with the remaining drawings from NaNoDrawMo.