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2010 SKETCHBOOK (60 pages, black/white/tone, print run 100 copies)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

One-a-Day #47-50...CONAN!!

I mentioned earlier just how much I admire Conan comics by Barry Smith. One of my favorite stories is "Twilight of the Grim Grey God", it has everything in it: mythology, savagery, romance, politics, intrigue...and a barbarian. Below are the first two pages as drawn by Barry Smith in the early 70's when he was in his early 20's.




At first glance, the figures look silly and very comic-book, but when I tried to re-draw them I found that his figures (even at that time) had lots of energy. Twisting and turning, every body wound up like a spring. I tried a couple of times to capture the half turned half crouching pose...and failed. It sure was a great sketching session :)




One thing I realized when I got down to trying to re-draw/re-imagine/re-create/re-copy the pages is that for dense stories, drawing on 8.5x11 is very tough. I had a heck of a time drawing little figures on the second page:


4 comments:

Dan said...

This will totally make Andy's day. He was remarking recently that he thought you'd be great on a Conan comic.

John said...

Hey, Alex,

VERY cool experiment. I think the main difference between your style and BWS's early Conan style is that your stuff is very based in reality...almost photo-realistic in its intensity. Whereas, BWS was trying his best to be Jack Kirby...I've read interviews with him where he said that to him, Kirby WAS comics...there was no other way to approach them. Of course, as you watch him grow during his run on CONAN, he really grew far beyond his Kirby influence very quickly and became the first art-deco comic book artist. Yet, his work was never much rooted in reality--probably why it was so well-suited for the fantasy (sword-n-sorcery) genre.

I'd really love to see you draw a Conan tale for Dark Horse...

Alex Sheikman said...

Dan, John,
Thank you :)

Interesting points about Kirby and Smith. I guess Smith's figure work is just so nice I always considered him to be a "realist", but he himself always labeled his art as being more "symbolic" than anything.

I was so glad when "Conan Saga" reprinted all of his issues in oversized black and white. I still have all of them...I mean just the covers are jaw dropping!

John said...

Yeah, those are great. I have all the Dark Horse "Conan Chronicles" which include the entire BWS run, and the entire John Buscema run (basically #1 up to #116). These are fantastic because they were all re-colored and the art really "pops"--especially magical effects and such. As much as I love the Buscema/Chan run, my favorite of all is still the Barry Windsor-Smith run. Gil Kane did some amazing issues, too.