by L. Nichols
I’ve been mulling over talking about my own influences and process a bit more for some time now, but the car ride back from SPX with my good buddy Mr. Darryl Ayo got me thinking about it a little more concretely. I never really read comics growing up, so while I appreciate Darryl’s enthusiasm for X-Force and New Avengers and whatever new he’s talking about (He’s been making some great blog posts about comics lately!), I always feel like it’s not really something I can really claim for myself. I have no emotional attachment to these characters or these stories or these styles. So we were talking about this in the car and I came to the conclusion that I should write about what I DO have attachments to, the things that work their ways into my process.
Today I am talking about a certain illustrator, Jason Sho Green, who was really influential to me back when I first started getting serious about drawing, back in 2004-2005 or so. I figure picking a topic would make things a little easier on my end and maybe a little more coherent on yours.
I discovered Jason Sho Green via a friend while I was in college and his work greatly shaped my way of thinking about lines and line thicknesses and contours and the like at the time and continues to this day, though hopefully less obviously so.
When I first discovered him, I was super excited about figuring out the tricks of his inking style, and a lot of things I did around the time were blatantly derivative. However, he’s grown and I’ve grown and I think both for the better. Mostly, now, he just serves as inspiration, as a guy who works hard and whose hard work obviously pays off. It’s important to have people like that in your life, even if they don’t know what kind of influence they’ve been on you. Sometimes a complete stranger can totally change the way you think
To be fair, I believe that even work that is blatantly derivative has its merits. Experience is the #1 teacher and when it comes to making stuff your own, sometimes you just gotta work through some things. What matters, though, is the ability to figure out what works for you and to build on it. Stagnancy = death. You gotta keep growing.
Anyway, here’s an example of my own where I am playing with the thicker outer line and thinking about how to divide up shading into discrete areas of texture/crosshatching. I kind of thought of it as paint-by-numbers with ink.
And along the way that morphed into something like this
Even after five years of looking at his work, I find myself going back to it, discovering more of it. More than changing the actual manner in which I draw, he has changed the way I think about art and the way I approach it. I look at his work to get excited about working on things, no longer to figure out how to do certain things. And I hope that he keeps doing amazing work for as long as he can, because it certainly is nice to find someone whose work really just makes you want to keep pressing on.