Gene “The Dean” Colan on “How I Approach a Comic Story”
Today’s entry comes from a dynamic duo, Gene “The Dean” Colan, legendary comic artist, and Dave Gutierrez (who is inking and coloring Gene on an upcoming Captain America project Colan is doing for Marvel Comics that will be released next year – see the good news you get here at Comics Should Be Good!! – you can see more of Gutierrez’s work here).
If you check out Gene’s Virtual Studio, there’s tons of artwork and news from Gene, and Gene is also currently accepting artwork commissions (and if you check out some of the sample commissions, they look well worth the money).
Gene and Dave’s guest entries are both discussing the upcoming Captain America project (Ed Brubaker is writing it).
First, here’s Gene….
I find it a huge challenge each and every time I approach a new comic story, no matter how large or small. I’m at my desk, ruling up the first page of Captain America. I write cap. america in the upperhand corner and then write ‘page one’. I don’t do any preliminary sketches. I work panel to panel. I steel myself to get into the story and familiarizing myself with the first several pages. I don’t read the entire plot because I would get too preoccupied with how I’m going to tackle some of the more difficult panels.
It takes about four to five pages for me to get warmed up enough to get comfortable with what I’m doing.
I’ve been thinking about the first page for about a week now. I basically know what I’m going to draw in the first panel. Capt. Fury is facing a wall of monitor screens. the monitors reveal Cap. and other well known superheroes fighting. My pencil will begin with Nick Fury. That way I can work in all the monitors around him.
more to come…
Now, here’s Dave…
Captain America 2007 by Gene Colan.
Gentleman Gene comes home again to the red, white & blue & I have to ink and color it………..
Talk about a challenge. Gene just blows me away when I think he’s 80 years old this year and still has the enthusiasm & drive most 30-somethings lack today. He has nothing to prove but still attacks each and every job with total commitment and fearless energy, willing, almost obliged, to bend reality to his will. Armed with only a pencil and a blank piece of paper.
It’s simply incredible to me so I will be anxiously awaiting the first few pages to arrive. My usual routine is to just take the page(s) in and get an idea of what’s going on, where’s the lighting coming from and what’s happening in general. The faces & expressions are the most important so I do those last after i’ve warmed up and have the brush cooperating.
Inking Gene in general is always a challenge, mostly because I want him to be happy with the outcome and maybe more importantly I want his stuff to look the best it can. I think he’s doing the best work of his entire life and I really want everyone to know it. I’m not sure many inkers would say it but it’s a hell of a lot of fun too. I get excited every time a package arrives to open it up and see what I’m up against so these Cap pages will be no exception. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have the the opprotunity to be working with Gene and also to have his blessing and endorsement. I can honestly say the he and his wife Adrienne are my biggest fans and I’m very proud to call them friends. This is going to be a fun ride, what else can one expect when The Dean is at the wheel? Buckle Up!
Here are some samples of what you can expect to find at Gene Colan’s Virtual Studio. These were all commissions…
This one is colored by Dave Gutierrez…
Pretty cool, huh?