November 1, 2008

Hi, I'm the new guy.

And I'd better hit my feet with a hammer so they swell up, because MK left me some big shoes to fill.

My name's Matt Bernier. I'm a cartoonist and a friend/fan of MK's. Awhile back she realized she wasn't going to have much time to post here anymore because she was too busy pursuing other avenues of awesomeness, and so she handed me the keys to this blog and said "Have at it."

And I had big plans! But then I decided to move to Portland Oregon and make a go at totally destroying my life, and I never did get around to the blog, or much else. Now I'm back in Brooklyn, dusting off my abandoned projects, and this is one I've been really looking forward to.

I'm going to be taking the blog's content in a slightly different direction, from mostly interviews about what tools people use to tutorials and interviews to help my readers improve their craft.

In some artistic circles, craftsmanship is seen as a sort of elitist or anti-artistic aspiration. A flashy spectacle certain artists slave over perfecting so they can have a pissing contest over whose draftsmanship is superior instead of focusing on REAL art. An empty, fetishistic focus on style over substance.

In my experience, the people who hold this view and the people they aim these criticisms at are both nitwits slinging mud to hide the failings they see in themselves. The accomplished draftsman with nothing to say beyond "I like titties and biceps" will pretend that anyone whose art doesn't demonstrate a detailed grasp of human anatomy isn't worth looking at, while some indy artists will channel their jealousy at lacking those natural gifts into an indiscriminate haughty disdain for any art with anatomical accuracy.

They're missing the point. Unless you're a douche, craft isn't a yard stick to measure who's the better artist. Unless you have nothing to say, craft isn't a surface wash you toss on bad writing to compensate. Craft is knowledge that you can use to make what you make better, and make what you want to make the way you want to make it.

Some things take years of practice to learn, like anatomy and perspective. But some things anyone can learn, at any skill level, and start using them right away. If every single person who did comics knew and used them, then all comics would be better.

I'm going to use this blog to share those things. Every week I'll post a tutorial on a different tool. I'll also be posting interviews and links, as I get them.

First up: The Mirror.


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,
Great to see the blog is active again.
looking forward to your posts, interviews and advice.

Comic Tools said...

Thanks! I'm glad to finally be at it.

Trade Loeffler said...

Hey Matt,

A couple of great posts so far. Your mirror trick is something I'd never been taught, but learned on the fly when I started drawing my Upside-Down Me story. When flipping the characters from the floor to the ceiling and ceiling to floor I started catching all kinds of flaws in my drawings, and realized what a great technique it was to look at my drawings from different perspectives.

I don't have a mirror that I work with (not enough room in our NY apartment), but I use my lightbox instead. Flipping the drawing over and examining it from the back works just great for me.