Friday, August 11, 2006

Vess + Kaluta

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At Comic Con, Charles Vess showed me a sneak preview of new paintings that he and Michael Kaluta collaborated on for Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, due from DC Comics/Vertigo in October. I love both Charles’ and Michael’s work...seeing these collaborations was twice the pleasure. While the work was certainly recognizable as their’s, it still, somehow, felt like discovering a new, great artist. This will be one sweet book.

I asked Charles to explain the process:

About two years ago I was approached to draw the art for the framing sequences of the graphic novel which will consist of a number of individual stories all written by Bill Willingham and painted by various artists. As the deadline moved closer I realized that I would be unable to meet it without some assistance so I turned to long time friend and art buddy Michael Kaluta to help out. Kaluta has drawn some spectacular art set in the world of the Arabian Nights before and I also knew that we were both on the same wave length when it comes to how we 'think' illustration. I blessed my lucky stars as his drawing came in. Who wouldn't be excited by those images. It was quite easy to ink and paint over whatever his Rococo imagination had envisioned. It was so much fun that I kinda didn't want it to end but deadlines are deadlines.

In this particular instance I had already drawn a crude sketch (image #1 below) of the image that Michael then refined and brought to life (image #2 below). I would then take his penciled page and ink over the lines with a black/brown mixture of FW ink (image #3 below), leaving off outlines that I thought needed to be more subtle (the princesses suitor, etc.). Over those inked outlines I layered a solution of the FW inks and water by first soaking the image with a yellow/orange mixture, applied with a sponge to give it that Middle Eastern glow. Then I applied multiple layers of various colors to add depth and individual details (image above).




14 comments:

Arkady Roytman said...

you have to figure out how to NOT have such small images (or to have links to larger versions), Irene.
Because right now they're really not doing the work justice.

Irene Gallo said...

I think I just figured it out after I posted this. I'll try to replace these in the next day or two.

...I'm still learning this stuff.

Anthony Schiavino said...

The Fable hardcover is already on my pull list.

Kate? said...

I've been lurking around your blog for some time now, and I really enjoy what you're putting up here. It's all so very informative and helpful. I just wanted to pop by and say that.

francis said...

Wow those are great drawings. Can't wait to see this book!

Josh Jasper said...

Those are two artists whos style is similar enough I figure they're a natural choice for working together.

James A. Owen said...

That just kills me. Seeing those guys working together again...

Those colored inks they both use so well create such a GLOW in the finished art... color so pure it looks as if it might crack...

Thanks for posting this, Irene.

Irene Gallo said...

Kate - Thanks for saying “hi”. It is encouraging to know that there are people out there reading...besides, my mom, that is.

Josh - I know they’ve worked together before (in fact, they used to be roommates ) but this was the first time I had seen a large body of their collaborative work. They certainly come from a similar place, artistically ,but it was really cool to see how their differences effected eachother in these works.

James - You are so right about that glow. Sadly, printing will never capture that. I only saw print-outs but I’m seriously hoping that Charles brings a few originals to World Fantasy this year. He mentioned that a lot of them have been sold already, so it may not happen.

On other Charles and Michael fronts: I know that Charles is finishing up a series of drawings for a Susanna Clarke story and Michael, I’m proud to say, has done a few Tor covers lately. I’ll get all these posted when I can.

Carl V. said...

I am so looking forward to getting this book. Already on order through my local comic shop. The list of talent on this one is almost too good to be true.

Kristen King said...

Charles Vess is a long-time fav of mine. Can't wait! Thanks!

Kristen

Sean Phillips said...

Fascinating to see these two great artists working together. Thanks for posting these, it's always great to see behind the curtain.

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