Friday, May 10, 2013

New thoughts on Kent Williams

Recently I got in Wolverine Legends: Meltdown (formerly Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown) and Amalgam, both books of KWMS art, and I read in Amalgam that when he was a kid he used to draw Bruce Lee obsessively. Somehow that seems perfect - not only is Lee an iconic Asian figure with amazing physical anatomy, but he's also the perfect  - erm - amalgam (sorry) of character and physique - through an act of sheer sustained will he sculpted his body into an amazing machine of pure strength and grace. I can see this being where Williams started to get the idea of a human body distorted by an energy flowing through it, seeming to reshape the very bones and muscles. And that same incredible will flowing out directing a pose down to every last detail moment by moment - dictating gesture, flourish, expression.. even seeming to distort the very space and colors around it. Yes, indomitable human will seems to be at the center of Williams' artistic world. Maybe not always will - but always the figures and environments express the person's inner state. Expressionism through figure painting, but not as distorted or crazy as most of the old German Expressionists and their ilk liked to do - much closer to realism.

I did a google bu can't find any of the drawings - though I did run across his Crow cover paintings (I've been searching for my comic books and haven't found them yet) and suddenly realized how perfect it is that he's painting Brandon Lee, Bruce's son.

Ran across a lot of Wolverine and Batman drawings by various artists, and the vast majority of them seem perfectly content to settle for generic figure and anatomy - as if they're afraid to freely express themselves through even slightly distorted form. Also the conservativeness (sp?) of the shading/coloring etc is endemic - wow, comic art is full of extremely timid artists! Except for a handful like my favorites Jae Lee, Frank Miller, Mark Texiera, and Sienkiewicz.

These qualities are what really draw me to these artists - the boldness and fearlessness to distort form and figure freely and expressively. It only comes when you've fully absorbed and conceptualized the figure and anatomy and can now scrawl it out rapidly - bold gesture sketches.

I think after my little stint here doing Fafhrd and Gray Mouser paintings I definitely need to get to work on some figure drawings - I suspect it'll work best to start at my own speed and gradually get faster. Hell - no reason I can't do figure drawings even now.

Couldn't help noticing this Wolverine seems to have Bruce Lee's body..

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