Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Penny Library of Room 2017
Mick McMahon's return to Dredd (1995)

I've mentioned Mick McMahon on here before. I make no apologies. I'm a fan.
McMahon was the artist who first introduced Judge Dredd to the world back in 1977 (2000ad, issue #2). In 1981 he quit drawing Dredd. Too many crowd scenes, apparently. In 1995 he made a slight return with the 4 part mini series "Howler" for the (embarrassingly titled) Megazine. At the time I was 17 and a comic buying super fan. The comics still live in my mother's attic. Yesterday I climbed up and recovered "Howler".

McMahon's work for Howler, typifies a new era of McMahon's work. Flat colour, angular poses and lines. Striking compositions and abstracted form. Other comics with a similar approach include The Last American and Tattered Banners. Both worth hunting down.

I'd love to say I was a fan of this style at the time but alas the teenage me was lacking the sophistication/sense to appreciate this way of working and, like many other people, I wasn't a fan. I didn't appreciate the stylistic development and wanted a return to his more traditional, black ink fills. (Now it's the fact that he was determined to develop that I find so laudable).

In hindsight, the teenage me was a dumb-ass and over the last few years I've found myself transfixed with this work and all of it's qualities. I particularly like that it's not macho. It's not all bulging muscles and cleavages. It doesn't really reference the world of comics of the 90's. Looking through these old issues now, McMahon's work stands out a mile and whilst most of the other art embarrasses the grown-up-me, this definitely doesn't. It's stood the test of time, and then some.

Eye popping compositions and exaggerated body language get the point across with a staccato rhythm whilst guaranteeing that the story never gets boring.

Single frames stand up, on their own. Look at the lines, compositions, colours, rhythm.

Mick McMahon, once again, we salute you.

p.s - Mick, why have you shut your blog down?

Monday, 16 November 2015

Inclement Weather

Cycled to Uni today but probably should have come by canoe...

The work of Keith Negley

American illustrator Keith Negley is currently riding high on a wave of success and recognition - for good reason. As well as his recently released children's book 'Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)' he's kept busy with regular editorial work for the likes of The New York Times and exhibiting his work.
Illustration blog 'inky goodness' have posted an educational, inspirational and revealing interview with the artist that should make interesting reading to illustration and graphic design students alike.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

First Years, Second Project - Old School!

It's been a very busy last couple of weeks for our first year students as they completed the visual and technical 'assault course' that we call Old School...

Manual skills still underpin much of any working Graphic Designers life. Think of all that packaging that needs to be mocked-up or presentation boards that need to be professionally assembled. 

Great Illustration is not only underpinned by an ability to draw well but also by great technical skills. The reality here is there are no 'quick fixes'. It takes years to become a really good painter, or pen & ink artist, or printmaker or...

'Old School' is our opportunity to allow the students to find out how good, bad or ugly their making/drawing/gluing/painting skills actually are right at the start of their course. It helps them identify what they're good at and much more importantly focusses their attention and concentration on working hard to develop those areas that they're not so good at.

Happily, we can report that the overall standard was very good. For a generation who hasn't done any technical drawing or that much painting, we were particularly impressed with their ability to handle constructed letters, draw straight lines, wield a compass accurately, understand the complexities of oblique, isometric and orthographic projection and produce impressive copies of great illustrator's work.

What follows is the specific task closely followed by images of the work the students created...