Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Geek Speaking on Opening the Night with Mark Crilley

Geek Speak: Open Mic Night

Every so often I'll come up with one of these dumb jokes. Usually I'll turn to Mildly Sensational and start with "hey, listen to this..." That's how this strip started. When we first got together Mildly Sensational would humor my terrible jokes with a genuine sounding laugh, but we've been together a long time. Now she lets me know I've left the arena of good humor and entered the wilds of cheap puns and terrible jokes by way of a mocking laugh and a derisive comment, "oh, ha ha hah. You are so witty."

Really, I appreciate it. It helps to keep my sense of humor on the high road, and I'm not talking about the "green district" in Denver (see there I go, I need a mocking laugh and a derisive remark).

While this is, admittedly a terrible joke. I like it enough to wonder what else could be done with it. The cadence of the joke seemed to lend itself to a three panel comic with a set-up, set-up, punchline framework. I might use the setting of the comedy club whenever I come up with these gems. Open mic nights are usually well past my bedtime. This way I get an outlet for some of my worst (or maybe best, who knows) jokes and a good night's sleep. Win/win.

How to Draw - With Mike Crilley

For a long time now I've been watching the YouTube videos of illustrator Mark Crilley. He has a decidedly biased approach to drawing that leans heavily toward manga, but to he does so as a choice, not out of some artistic limitation. Crilley's drawing and painting skills are indisputable, and the best part is that he does an outstanding job of breaking down the process of drawing into concepts that are easily understandable.

I don't remember how I found Crilley's channel on YouTube, but it was near to the beginning of Geek Speak. I was watching his videos around the same time I was drawing some of those first strips. It's more than reasonable to give his videos credit for some of the early growth in my style and technique. I incorporate a lot of his advice into my drawing.

The man does some really amazing things with a simple black PrismaColor pencil.

The videos themselves are fairly well produced. We never actually see Crilley himself, which is nice. The focus of the video is always putting the artwork front and center. His narration is relatively clear, particularly in the later videos. If his narration has a fault it may be that he has a tendency to try to be funny and fall a little short, but that's a minor complaint.

By watching his videos it's possible to learn about a variety of artistic styles and techniques, even though Crilley is really known for his manga series. In the library of videos available in his channel are tutorials on everything from chibi characters, to dragons, to super-realistic drawings of random objects.

Here are some of my favorite videos from the Mark Crilley channel on YouTube

Pretty sure this is one of the first of his videos I ever watched. Judging by the quality of the video it's definitely one of the earlier videos Crilley uploaded to his channel.

He's also a solid writer with two manga series and two volumes of instructional books for illustrating manga. Here are titles written and drawn by Mark Crilley:

  • Miki Falls - published by Harper Collins. I have the first volume of this story, and I recommend it. 
  • Brody's Ghost - published by Dark Horse. I've only read the first issue of this, but it's a fun story with some unexpected turns. 
  • Mastering Manga - published by Impact. This is a great book to use as a resource for drawing, not just for manga. He covers basic drawing concepts in the book in a way that helps to create a foundation for people just starting out with learning to draw. If I were to rank books about drawing that I've read, I would rank this a close second to the essential tome that so many artists have used to get started, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. 

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