DISCLAIMER: It may seem like I’m going in on the man, please believe that I am not. I do not know him personally and hold no ill will towards him…
It’s not like he’s paying attention anyway…
The reason why Rob Liefeld was/is popular is because he drew like a hopeful trying to get in… And still does.
He got lucky, flat out. He became famous thanks to a Levi 501 jean commercial directed by Spike Lee. THAT put him in the public eye. NOT New Mutants, NOT Hawk and Dove. Thank the director of Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Bamboozled for that.
Also, No one… NO ONE will ever get hired by a major company following his “style.”
Sorry to be so harsh, but the 90s ended 14 years ago. And granted, there are many interpretations of how to visualize the world (style), but the only way to develop as an artist is to study the basics: anatomy, proportion, perspective, composition, etc.
Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Shawn Martinburough, Olivier Copiel, Khary Randolph, Ashley Woods, Afua Richardson, Shawn Alleyne, Ivan Reis, etc.
All of these artists interpret the basics (anatomy, proportion, etc.) differently…
However, all of them know the basics in order to bend the rules to their vision, not BREAK them.
That’s why all of them are great artists and great visual storytellers.
And though all of the artists mentioned work in the comic book realm, they didn’t learn that by just looking at comic book artists. Expand your view. Take a life drawing class if you can. But please, please stop idolizing Rob Liefeld…
His artwork has ruined many a hopeful artist’s development.
Actually, that’s the point of Image’s original seven… It was more so their business acumen and being at the right place at the right time with their notoriety that put them on top, financially, rather than their artistic skills.
In fact, you can thank Todd McFarlane for being cocky enough to feel he deserved a bigger piece of the pie and that he was able to convince the others to come along. But, even he has been noted in saying that if Jim Lee (not Rob, not Erik, not even himself) didn’t come along, Image would have never happened because Lee was the best artist of the bunch and the golden boy of Marvel, thanks to his work on Uncanny X-Men at the time.
Peep game: cats like McFarlane and Liefeld were popular because they were the easiest to copy. Their work was closest in competency (though, probably slightly higher) to their teenage fanbase, many of whom were/are hopefuls trying to break-in.
However, having Jim Lee on the squad legitimized Image. Hands down, his work was the most solid in terms of the basics; his work was the “prettiest” girl in the squad. Lee was the apex of what Image was artistically.
So, applaud the gang for their business, because they opened the door for the new wave of independent books. But, without Jim Lee coming on board, we’d still only be talking about the “Corporate Two”.
College professor time: What I’ve come to find is that some artists go to the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to artistic influence because, they feel its the easiest to master. You see it from the Liefeld “love” to people claiming they have an “anime” style. What they are really doing is copying the “mistakes” in their influences’ work and touting it with the attitude of “It worked for them, so it should work for me.”
That’s lazy talk, that’s lazy thinking. Again, I am not knocking anyone’s influences. As artists, other artists (that’s part of the education) influence us all. However, as artists, we must not be slaves to our influences and strive to become better, to develop our own unique viewpoint. That only comes from understanding the basics.
Now, once you’ve got that down, you’ve got to study the business of comics…
And that’s a whole ‘nother conversation…
Speaking of, my new art book, Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is available now as a digital download for $9.95 at Drive Thru Comics with a print run limited to 1000 copies August 18. Grab both, send me your mailing address when you do so and you’ll get TWO Horsemen posters absolutely FREE!