A Month of Art Stars – Ryan Sook
Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book art “star,” someone whose work I absolutely love.
I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of JH Williams, Frank Quitely and Darwyn Cooke?
In honor of not re-inventing the wheel, this is basically a reprinting of a Reason to Love Comics fill-in I did last year.
When Ryan Sook first burst on to the comic scene, he was mostly compared to Mike Mignola, which comes as no surprise, as Sook himself admits that he was greatly influenced by Mignola’s work. In fact, Mignola even got Sook INTO comics, helping him show his samples to DC, which snared Sook a fill-in job at DC on an issue of Challengers of the Unknown (the one that was part of the Millennium Giants storyline, actually!)
After that Sook actually worked WITH Mignola over at Dark Horse, working on a Dark Horse Presents story together.
Sook used his Mignola-esque style on a number of Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories for Dark Horse….
an issue of Superman with J.M. DeMatteis that led to him working with DeMatteis on Spectre for DC for a year…
But by the end of his Spectre run, he had moved beyond simply Mignola-esque artwork, with a more rounded art style…
He used this style in launching BPRD, where he was handpicked by Mignola, becoming the first artist to draw Mignola’s Hellboy creations in a series other than Mignola….
Sook’s style continued to develop, though, and soon, he had an even newer style of art.
Here is the new style, from an arc he did on Hawkman…
Here is Sook talking about the change in an interview at Comic Book Resources…
My drawing style seems to continually evolve for lots of reasons, time, practice, inspiration. Mostly though I am trying these days to rely less on other comic art to influence my decisions and allow the story and the scripts to dictate the art direction. Trying to convey the emotions and mood of a scene (none being more or less easy) is really important to telling a story well, that’s usually what I’m thinking about when I’m setting a scene. Everything else is purely trying to draw something in a beautiful way.
Sook used this new style on an Arkham Asylum series, X-Factor for Marvel, and a Seven Soldiers mini-series for DC starring Zatanna.
Since he finished work on X-Factor awhile back, Sook has mostly been working on comic book covers and advertisements. His expert sense of design and flair fits this line of artwork perfectly.
Here is a series of ads he did for DC…
Remarkably cool, huh?
Here are a number of his covers for Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics…
He is one of the best cover artists working in comics today.
All these images are courtesy of Sook’s amazingly thorough website. Here is his website, where you can see even MORE of his amazing artwork.
After I wrote the preceding piece last year, J.M. DeMatteis dropped me a line to tell me how great Sook was to work with on Spectre. He also noted I used an incorrect piece of art (hey, Sook had it mis-labeled, too!), but that’s besides the point! If J.M. DeMatteis thinks you’re a great collaborator, you must be!