Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Art Advice 2.0 from Joe Madureira

Joe Madureira has continued voicing his art advice with details on what gear he uses, his influences, and skills needed for working in the game or comic industry.

Art Advice 2.0

Now for the specific art questions I do get very often:

 1-I use a technical pencil with HB lead 99% of the time. Staedler, Koo-in-oor, Prismacolor Turquoise, it’s all good. Take your pick. I use them all. Sometimes I work on paper that’s a little different ( smoother or more coarse ) and I may move up or down to an H or a B lead if needed. But I find H and 2H digs into the paper and is too hard to erase ( Which sadly I do a lot of ) and B is too soft ( smudges like a mofo.) B is fantastic for going back over lines, darkening , and adding weight to your lines. Basically, ‘inking’ with a pencil. **Just keep a sheet of scrap paper under your hand or you will smudge the shit out of your drawing!!!**

HB suits my needs 99% of the time. Really no need to switch it out, just adjust your pressure. Harder or lighter. Usually I’m too lazy to switch, but I will occasionally. It’s a good idea to keep 2 or 3 pencils ( ie. Lead holders) handy with different leads so you don’t have to switch them out constantly.

2- Paper—I like to work on smooth paper. 11x17 or 8.5x 11 depending on what I’m doing. Bristol with a smooth ‘plate’ finish is what I like. The coarser paper doesn’t handle large areas of blacks or ‘shading’ very well when you use a pencil, as you can see the grain in it ( and I currently don’t use an inker ). Not to mention, I don’t like the paper fighting me—feels nice to just have the pencil ‘glide’ across the paper. This is total personal preference. I know plenty of artists that love the grainy paper. I’ve actually been using the ‘smooth 100lb cover stock’ Bristol that they sell at Kinkos lately. It’s not the greatest, but it gets the job done. I’m comfortable with it. And it’s cheap. It is HORRIBLE for ink, so I recommend it for pencils only. It’s also a little thin. Sadly a lot of paper manufacturers have started to suck, and there are many rants by professional inkers about the downgrade in paper quality from manufacturers such as Strathmore, etc. Do some research if you are planning on inking your stuff. Speaking of which…

3- Inking—having done this myself recently, there are two huge problems to look out for when you are selecting the right paper for handling ink. 1) make sure the paper isn’t so grainy that you ‘lift’ some paper grain as you are inking. Especially if you are using pen nibs!! The paper literally flakes apart. And 2) some paper that is nice and smooth doesn’t have the problem of breaking apart—but once you go over the final inks with an eraser to remove the stray pencil lines, the ink comes up with it. Ie. It doesn’t stick to the paper well. You will end up having to do hours of ‘touch ups’ to get those faded grey lines looking black again. Many paper wholesalers will let you test sheets of paper in the store. I highly recommend this!!! That said, I still haven’t found a paper I love for inks yet. The search continues. Until then, I’m sticking to my smooth Kinkos paper. And using a pencil

4- I do NOT work digitally for the most part. Not for comics anyway. I will occasionally do ‘silhouette studies’ in photoshop to get a character nailed down if I have too many ideas or I’m not feeling confident about my direction ( there is nothing like ‘layers’ and ‘undo’. ) , but more often than not it’s pencil on paper. Depends what I’m working on. Tablet/photoshop lets me experiment more and be wishy/washy / try new things but I find that I approach things differently when I put pencil to paper. I’m more committed/ confident and I often like the results better. Often times ( but not always! ) , your first attempt is the keeper. Go figure! Again, this is personal preference. It really depends on how confident/ experimental you are ( and how cool your Art Director is ) . Some guys can fill an entire sheet with 50 variations on the same thing. That’s okay. If it’s in your head, put it on paper! You have to get that shit out into the world! It’s not good to anyone locked up in your brain.

5- My influences, in no particular order- Art Adams, Alan Davis, John Byrne, Mike Golden, George Perez, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Lee, Mark Silvestri, Mike Mignola. On top of that, many, many Japanese manga artists. Anime series. Video games. Film directors. Nature. And lately, countless artists all over the web. Everyone finds inspiration in different places. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re excited. Most mornings while I’m having my coffee I’ll browse the internet for inspiration to get me pumped. DeviantArt is fantastic!

6- Working in Games—For concept art, much of it is digital ( I use photoshop, many use Painter, Manga Studio, etc ) , but believe it or not, it’s still a lot of pencil on paper ( for me especially ). You can take your sketchbook anywhere, and you never know where you will find inspiration. Draw often. 3D modeling--- it’s either 3DSMax ( what we used at Vigil ) or Maya. If you learn one, you can figure out the other fairly easily. So don’t stress it TOO much. If there is a particular studio you want to work for though, you may want to find out what they are using. Animation, same rules apply. For 3D sculpting, most studios use Zbrush. There are tons of forums for pretty much every discipline with the absolute best talent in every field offering advice. If you aren’t already soaking this stuff up…you should be. Post your stuff. Often. Heed the advice of your peers. And you never know, you may actually impress people and make a name for yourself! The important thing is, get your stuff out there! Many project leads look to sites like deviantArt, CGhub, etc. to find awesome talent. Get your stuff up there.

7- For either Games or Comics—you absolutely have to learn Illustration. Figure drawing. Perspective and lighting. Animation ( for killer poses and moment ) . A lot of concept design and comic illustration/ visual storytelling is about *CHOICES*. You can copy an artists ‘style’, how he lays down lines, but it’s really the ‘choices’ they make that makes them unique. You can’t think like them. You never will. But---When all else fails, copying your favorite artists and trying to figure out WHY they made the choices they made is extremely valuable **AS AN EXERCISE**. It certainly helped me. Just DON’T copy stuff when you’re working professionally and your work is being published. Everyone will know, and-- It’s just embarrassing. ..

8- Don’t worry too much about your ‘style’. Everyone stresses that. When I started I had no idea what my style was going to be, I was just a horrible amalgamation of all my favorite artists. It will come to you in time. Every drawing you do will get you closer to ‘your’ style. Because it’s about your decisions. They are different from everyone elses. You can copy the lines but you can’t think line someone else. It’s all coming from you. Just keep drawing.

I’ll update soon with some more, but that’s the major stuff. Good luck!! And make sure you post your stuff. Use the internet to your advantage. This is a valuable tool we did not have years ago when I started!!!!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Red Monika pencils from SDCC 2012 sketch

Today Joe posted the pencils to his San Diego Comic Con sketch of Red Monika he drew last year. Hopefully he'll have another killer sketch for this years comic con which takes place July 18–21.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Art Advice from Joe Madureira

Today there was a very special post from Joe Madureira on his facebook page for artists. He has received endless questions over the years about what he uses to draw, what inspires him, career advice... etc, even myself, not being affiliated directly with Joe Madureira have also received these questions through email from Joe Mad fans for the last decade wanting to learn from the man himself or for him to critique their work. It's a lengthy post but if you're an artist these are very inspiring insights on how to be successful in the industry.


Do you really want to be an artist? Or a successful working professional?
Believe it or not there is a difference. I’m not usually a soapbox type guy, I don’t like instructing people, and I think I’m a terrible teacher. But hey, it’s Friday and I’m in a strange mood. So here goes:

I’ve noticed that a good number of my fans happen to be aspiring artists themselves. This is for all you guys. I get asked constantly: “Where should I go to school?” “What classes should I take?” “What should I study for anatomy?” “What pencils and paper do you use?” “Should I be working digitally now instead of traditionally?” “How do I fix my poses? Learn composition? Perspective?” “When am I going to develop my own style?” “Who were your influences?” “Teach me how to draw hands!” The list goes on…
Here’s the deal. All of that stuff *is* important, and it may nudge you in the right direction. A lot of it you will discover for yourself. What works best for one person doesn’t work for another. That’s the beauty of art. It’s personal. It’s discovery. DON’T WORRY ABOUT ALL THAT CRAP!

Instead I’m going to answer the questions that you *SHOULD* be asking, but aren’t. These are things that have only recently occurred to me, after doing this for 20+ years. These things seem so obvious, but apparently they elude a lot of people, because I am surprised at how many ridiculously talented artists are ‘failing’ professionally. Or just unhappy. The beauty of what I’m about to tell you is that it doesn’t matter what field you’re in or what your art style is.

In no particular order:

1) Do what you love. If you are passionate about what you’re doing, it shows. If you’re having fun, it shows. If you’re bored, IT SHOWS. Some guys are able to work on stuff they have zero interest in, and still pull off great work, but I find that when I do this my motivation takes a huge hit. And Motivation is key. Money is not a great motivator. It’s temporary like everything else. And honestly, I’ve gotten paid the most money for some of the shittiest work I have ever done. That may sound awesome, but it’s not. And here’s why…

2) You MUST stay Excited and Motivated. Have you noticed that there are days you can’t draw a god damned thing? And some days you feel like you can draw anything? It’s 4am but you don’t notice because you are in the ZONE. Your hand is racing ahead of your mind and you can do no wrong?! Maybe it’s some new paper you got. Or a new program you’ve been wanting to try out. Or you just found some amazing shit on DeviantArt, or watched some movie that just makes you want to run straight to your board. This relates to the above because while it is possible to involve yourself in projects you aren’t excited about—maybe you need the cash, or think it will look good on your resume, whatever it is—it’s not going to last. You need to stay fresh. Expose yourself to new things. New techniques. You should be getting tired of your own shit on a fairly regular basis. Otherwise other people will.

3) Check your Ego. If you think you’re the shit, you’re already doomed. You may be really, really good at what you do, but there’s someone better. Sorry. There’s always plenty to learn, even for us old dogs. So when I meet young upstarts who have this sense of entitlement, or a know-it-all attitude, I just have to laugh. Some of the biggest egos I’ve ever witnessed were from people who have accomplished the least. Meanwhile, most guys who are supremely talented AND successful, and have EARNED the RIGHT to have an ego and throw their weight around, don’t. Why is that? It’s because…

4) Relationships are important. This may be one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn. Early on, I didn’t value my relationships with people. Creatively or otherwise. I felt like I didn’t need anyone’s help and I could figure everything out on my own. Let’s face it, many of us become artists because we are reclusive, social misfits. We’d rather stay inside and draw shit than go outside and play. We like to live inside our own minds. Why not?! It’s awesome in there! And sometimes we don’t want to let other people in. But like I said—you can’t do it alone. I can honestly say that as much as I try to stay current, as much as I try to push my work and draw kick ass shit that will excite people, I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for all the other people I’ve met and learned from along the way. Guys who pulled strings for me. Took risks on me. Believed I was the right guy for the job. You need to manage your relationships. You need to network, and meet people. Drawing comics is still a pretty good place for reclusive types—but if you want to work in big studios—Making games, Films, animation, basically any other type of job on the planet, you’d better start making some connections. Be likeable. Be professional. That doesn’t mean be an opportunistic ladder climber. Fake people lose in the end. Be yourself, but be professional. It’s no secret that when people are hiring, our first instinct is to bring in people we know. It’s human nature. I don’t like unknowns, even if their portfolio is awesome. If we have a mutual connection, if they have great things to say about you, you’re in. If you have AMAZING artwork to show, and I call your last employer and they tell me what a pain in the ass you are to work with, you’re done. Talent and skill only get you so far. I am literally amazed at how often I meet guys that are total assholes and think they are going to get anywhere.

5) Here’s the BIG ONE. The greatest obstacle you will ever have to overcome IS YOURSELF. And the Fear that you are creating in your own head. Stay positive. Stop defeating yourself. There are artists I know that are so damn good they make me pee my pants. I look up to these mofos. I study their shit and I want to draw like them. And they are almost NEVER working on their DREAM project. And—big surprise, they aren’t happy in their job. “Why NOT?! WTF is WRONG WITH YOU?!” is usually my reaction. And the answer is almost always “The market isn’t great right now” “Other stories/games/comics like mine don’t do very well” “The shit that’s hot right now is nothing like mine, It’s just going to fail.” “I’m not sure I’m good enough.” “I need the money.” “Too Risky.” “I tried it before and failed. ” It doesn’t matter what words they use, they are afraid for one reason or another. I know. I’ve been there.
But here’s the deal. YOU NEED TO TAKE RISKS. Guess what? YOU ARE MOST LIKELY GOING TO FAIL. If you want it—REALLY want it, that won’t stop you. You will learn A LOT. My good friend Tim constantly jokes about how I jump out of planes without a parachute and worry about the landing on the way down. You may think that I’m lucky, that it’s easy for me to say because I’m already successful, that I’m in a different situation than you all are. But it’s not true. Risk is risk, no matter what level you’re at. If you’re already successful, you just take even bigger risks. But they never go away. Everything in life is Risk vs. Reward. Not just in your career. LIFE. You’d better get used to it.

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I got into comics. I left the #1 selling book at the time ( Uncanny X-men ) to work on Battle Chasers during a time when ‘Conan’ was about the only fantasy comic people knew. And no one was buying it. I wanted to work in games, so I started a game company. I had NO IDEA WTF I was doing. I just wanted it, really bad. We tanked. It failed. No big surprise. But the people I worked with got hired elsewhere and rehired me. I started ANOTHER game Company. We had 4 people and a dream, and some publishers wouldn’t even meet with us, because their ‘next gen console’ teams had 90+ people on them. I literally got hung up on. “Stick to handheld games, it’s smaller, maybe you can handle that…” one MAJOR publisher told us. I don’t blame them. But we didn’t let it stop us. Thank god we didn’t listen to them. Vigil was born. Darksiders happened, AND we got to make a sequel. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the best games in the industry, and the most elite and experienced game dev studios in the world. How is that possible?!!! Hardly any of us had even worked on a console game before. I’ll be honest, I was thinking we would fail the whole time. I just didn’t care. If I had to play the odds on this one, I’d bet against us.

Why am I telling you all this shit? This is not me patting myself on the back. It’s just stuff that has somehow only dawned on me recently when it’s been staring me in the face for so long. I feel like I need to wake you guys up!!! I’ve been limiting myself. I’ve gotten afraid. I’ve taken less risks. I saw my career going places I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t excited. And I’ve realized, that all that stuff I just talked about is the reason I am where I am today. Not because I have a manga style, or I draw cool hands, or there’s energy in my drawings, or all the other things people rattle off to me. There are other guys that do all that same shit, and do it better. And amazingly, those same guys constantly tell me “Man, I wish I could do what you are doing.” “SO DO IT!!!!!” PLEASE listen to me—because I want you guys to make it. I want to look to one of you people for inspiration some day when it’s 2am and I need to keep drawing. Stop worrying about all the other stuff—the pencils, the paper, the anatomy, all that shit. It will only get you so far. You’ve already got most of what you need. I hope this helps some people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the support over the years. You are all one of the greatest motivating forces in my life and my career. Sappy but true. Ok, let’s go draw some shit!!!

Savage Wolverine page pencils

Joe posted an alternate draft of a Savage Wolverine page. Check it out!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Joe Madureira hopes to have Battle Chasers animated someday

Keep your fingers crossed, today Joe posted a tweet about making one of his life's missions to have Battle Chasers animated.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Savage Wolverine Cover + Sketch

Joe Madureira posted a Savage Wolverine cover (not sure if it's for the first issue or not) as well as a concept sketch for it. The cover looks amaaazzing!
His thoughts on the cover "This Savage Wolverine cover is an homage to Paul Smith, Frank Miller and all the classic ninja ass-kicker issues!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 Joe Madureira Variant Cover Pencils

Joe has released the pencils for his Guardians of the Galaxy variant cover for issue number two.

The issue is being released April 24th.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Sneak Peek at Savage Wolverine

Comic Book Resources had their weekly Axel in Charge column in which there were some amazing new pages from Joe Madureira's Savage Wolverine run with Zeb Wells.
"Will the Savage Wolverine title be featuring a new creative team with each new arc or is a regular creator team in place once Zeb Wells/Joe Madureira finish their upcoming Spidey/Wolverine/Elektra storyline for the book?"

Alonso: “Savage Wolverine” will be home to top-flight creative teams telling no-holds-barred stories. We think you’ll be excited by our line-up. I sure am.

Guardians of the Galaxy Variant Cover

Joe Madureira is up to his old ways supplying his artistic talent towards a variant cover. This time it's for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy #2. Check it out!