Friday, June 15, 2012

Artist Spotlight #1: Jeff Winstead Part 1

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be doing some artist spotlights where I'll discuss comic artists I've worked with over the years. I'll get into what is about their style I like, what it was like working with them, and why you should seek out anything they do.

First up is fittingly the first artist I ever worked with Jeff Winstead. I feel it necessary to qualify that Jeff Winstead also happens to be one of my dearest friends. For the sake of professionalism, I'll attempt to not let that fact disrupt my objectivity.

Jeff, as many of you probably know, was the first artist on Vic Boone, having done the pages for Vic Boone's Zuda run. But our partnership goes a bit further back to years early in college.
 We met, oddly enough, thanks to a Spawn t-shirt. Jeff was my RA my freshmen year of college. One night I go out into the common hall to nuke something in the microwave and there's Jeff talking to one of the other dorm residents. Out of the corner of my eye I catch the glimpse of the Spawn shirt he's wearing. Being the first year of college and knowing no other comic readers, I figured it was worth hanging around long enough to ask about it. Unfortunately, this turned into a much longer wait than I had anticipated thanks to the rather long-winded other resident. Fortunately, the wait proved worth it.

To cut to the chase, it turned out that Jeff indeed read comics and wasn't wearing the Spawn shirt ironically. Can you were a Spawn shirt ironically? Anyway, not only did he read them, he drew them. It was actually something on those first pages of his artwork that sums up exactly why I love Jeff's work.

There was a Batman page he pulled out which had a bird's eye view off Batman dropping down on some criminals. His cape fulling extended in that parachute/glider move he does. This shot was dead center. Everything drawn in front of Batman was a single panel. Batman was essentially the bottom panel border. From Batman's cape extended more panels, their borders created by the ribs of the cape. Seeing how Jeff used an action pose of Batman as a way to break up panels without losing the storytelling of the page was the first moment I realized he was going to be good. To this day, he imaginative panel layouts and framing are what I love most about his work.
Here's a prime example from Vic Boone.
Now, Jeff usually gives me credit for this page's layout, saying it's how I wrote it in the script. That may be true, but he's execution is still what sells it. The arcing of the bottom of the panels and then using that space for the title credits is all his genius, not mine.
Here's another example.
It's a creative non-intrusive way to draw what was essentially written as "Vic Boone jumps for his guns." It's one background framed to create three distinct actions. It even creates the illusion of the Boone jumping toward the reader, yet it still moves the reader's eyes in the direction they're supposed to move.

The above examples of course fall under a bigger aspect of Jeff's artwork which is a great sense of design not just for pages, but for characters, logos, etc. He has a great sense of balance between looking original, familiar, creative, and reserved.

I'll get more into that aspect of his work in the next installment. Silas just woke up from his nap, so I have to transform into Dad Mode.

No comments:

Post a Comment