Warm-Up Sketch: Bobby Singer from SUPERNATURAL
I HAD to do this as my warm up today! Chase Suno in my natural art style. Been itching to do this whole time my crew and I have been working on the third volume of Monsuno OGN’s that will be distributed by the awesome Viz Media. Would have LOVED to do the entire book this way :)
This is a page from Red She-Hulk # 65 and a page from Midnight Tiger #1. Both of which were drawn by me.
Now on to my post….
*DISCLAIMER: It is usually taboo or ill-advised to read reviews as an artist or any form of entertainer and it is most definitely a practice I try to adhere to. So, this post is based on those rare occasions that I have had the audacity to read any of them that talk about any projects I’ve worked on.*
I’ve come to a realization that doing fill-in work for only part of an issue, although I’m grateful for the opportunity and paycheck, isn’t working out that well for me. Most of the time when I get a gig to do a fill-in it’s been on a book where my style wasn’t even close to the regular artist’s style and the critics let me know it. Some, in not very respectful ways, but it’s all good because they feel it’s their job. I’m pretty honest with my skill level and know where my weaknesses lay. So, I am always trying to improve. Though, I also realize everyone has different tastes and when you force feed them a different style in the middle (or wherever) of one of their favorite books you’re just not going to get a favorable reaction. So, critics/fans…I TOTALLY understand.
In contrast, when the entire… or mostly entire book is drawn by me, I’ve found that I receive mostly favorable to at least FAIR reviews. My only conclusion is that when a fan picks up a book with my name on it as the artist…they know what they are getting into. They know they’re getting work by Ray-Anthony Height by choice and not having to “deal” with my art because the book they regularly pick up needed a fill-in on a few pages that issue and I was available. It’s a little different when the book is done entirely by the same artist regardless of if it’s not the regular guy. When press releases go out the name of the artist is usually front and center. So, consumers have an idea on what to expect. When you do partial fill-ins…and you’re not that well know or your style is different than the regular artist’s…It’s like you’re an annoying third wheel on a date. Even if you’re a cool person it doesn’t matter because it’s a date and not a threesome (or is it ;)) and the person who doesn’t want you there will even make up shit about you to show their disdain.
Case in point, my recent work from Red She-Hulk # 65 and a page from Midnight Tiger #1. I enjoyed drawing both and believe that I did a pretty decent job respectively. Getting great reviews on Midnight Tiger #1, but a recent review of RSH #65 made it seem like I was little more than a high school art student. The regular artists are Carlo Pagulayan and Wellinton Alves. That’s what got me to thinking about the pattern of it all because the same thing happened on Spider-Girl #2 whose regular artist was Clayton Henry. Again, I can see why fans/critics might be upset by the change in the middle of their books because my work doesn’t look like any of those guys. I’m a journeyman comic artist at Marvel trying to find his voice and waiting on the call that lets me know they’ll give me a shot at taking on a series of my own where people who actually like my work will follow me. I’m on the C-List of artists in the stable who’s just grateful to get work. If I’m lucky, I’ll make a few new fans as well.
Anyway, all I’m asking is for those folks to cut guys like me some slack. If we couldn’t draw we wouldn’t have gotten hired by one of the hardest publishers to break into. You know…I prefer Eden burger in Pasadena over Burger King, but I would never say that Burger King doesn’t know how to make a burger. That’s just not true. We really don’t want to “mess up” your favorite comics folks, but we do want to work and that sometimes means helping out when our editors need us to regardless of the book. Unfortunately, that may also mean being the annoying cousin that tags along on your dates :)
The Avengers (2012)
Dir. Joss Whedon
This has got to be one of my favorite pages that I’ve done in the last 5 years. Page 24 from Spider-Girl #2. I love this page so much because I really enjoyed doing all those details on the desk. Stuff like this grounds the scene and character in reality and gives it a strong sense of believability. This is the kind of environment work I’d love to do on every page that I do, but I seem to always be under the gun. LOL. At any rate, this is one of the few things I am focusing my energies on to improve.