I’ve been questioning some of the ways comic book artists are doing their “artwork” these days. Lets face it art has changed quite a bit from back when comic books were printed on newsprint and cost a mere sixty cents. Today our comic books cost four bucks and are full of computerized gloss. Hell I’m not even sure what they are printed on is actually real paper. But it got me thinking a lot on just how comic book art is produced these days for the bigger companies out there. It turns out a lot of artist out there are phototracing, meaning gathering photos online, shot from a digital camera or even other artists actual artwork, uploading them onto the computer or light box and tracing them, adding costumes different hair etc.
It seems this trend has a small debate forming on what exactly is real art in comic books these days? Is it real art when Alex Maleev uses a light box to do all of his city back grounds or David Mack tracing pictures of his characters? Or when an artist simply takes some celebrity photos and traces over them giving the characters their likeness? To me I’m a little disappointed to hear that this trend is becoming even more popular these days. I guess you don’t have to spend much time with perspective if you’re merely tracing a photo.
I guess the “Artist” these days has maybe actually become the inker? Don’t get me wrong there’s still good degree of skill and talent needed to make a trace job look real good. People have been photo referencing for years but tracing to me just doesn’t really make the cut. I love for a comic book to look good, heck if the comic has shitty generic artwork (as most do these days is seems) I flat out just won’t buy it.
Art is very important to me when dropping 4 bones a pop on a comic book these days the art and story better be top notch. What do you think? Do you care how the artwork was made in your comic book? Here’s a great video from IFanboy on the great debate of phototracing!
So I arrived at my weekly D&D session this last sunday, ready to play a brand new adventure, stepping down from the throne of being the Dungeonmaster & eager to finally play a game as a PC! As I entered the room I saw the usual suspects getting the table set up for the first night of the new game, however something was different, there were four Ipad/tablet stands set up on the table in from of each seat where there might usually be some folders a stack of papers and some players handbooks, monster manuals etc. At first sight it kinda shocked me but then I quickly realized my group had decided to make the tech savy switch from the middle ages straight into the modern world!
I had sat down with my stack of papers and newly hand drawn pictures of my character, the rest of the group said “Check out this app we are using for d&d now it’s amazing!” they all began to show me their characters, all neatly on their Ipad screens and I’ve gotta say it was quite impressive. No more pencil scribbles, wine stains or candle wax upon a weathered piece of paper. Press the tabs on the screen and it tells you all you need to know, instantly calculates your hit points, heck it even rolls a dice on screen for you when you press a tab! The next question was “are you gonna bring your Ipad and get this App or what?!” I responded that I spend enough time as it is looking at computer screens, smart phones and my Ipad at home that I wasn’t quite ready to integrate it into my world of D&D just yet!
So what’s the damn problem huh?! Should I just drop this old school pen and paper attitude already?! Get with the damn times with my D&D? I mean, does anyone even use pen and paper for table top RPG’s anymore?! Do people even roll real dice? The last game I DM’d I had a giant stack of papers, and a ton of books piled around me! It was a frantic scene of animated movement as I paged through books checking rules while role playing all the NPC’s like a damn madman! So now our new DM is equipped with an Ipad and stated the fact that in this day and age you don’t even need books to play the game anymore. It’s true, but part of that make me a bit sad in a way. There’s something quite charming about the old school pencil and paper game, where you might have to add and subtract on a piece of paper, erase some stuff with a rubbery eraser or write down your new magic item with a page number next to it.
In a way it feels like the only way to play for me, I almost imagine myself transported back to 1970’s when the game had some mystery behind it still and the religious fanatics thought it was causing people to worship Satan. But It clearly ain’t the 70’s and I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I get on the ol’ Ipad bandwagon and bring my trusty hi-tech tablet along to the game of swords & sorcery. Paper books are surely on their way to becoming extinct, all music now is downloaded, comics are headed to digital downloads and let’s face it there a motherfuckin’ “app” for pretty much anything and everything you can imagine these days. For the mean time, I know I’m dying breed of D&D player, a bit like I’m actually living in the dark ages and for the moment i’m going to relish in it, but man I gotta admit those Ipad apps sure do look slick…now if I really wanted to be shocked I guess I could have walked into this: