You may be wondering why I’m talking about Sketch Magazine. One thing I haven’t run across very much are discussions about certain magazines of the comic trade. Most of us have read Wizard, but there are some most of us have heard of but never had a chance to leaf through. If you don’t get this magazine, don’t you want to know what it contains? Was it worth my cash to get a subscription? (Yep. I took a risk with my own cash reserves here. That’s right, folks. No McDonald’s this week or next week.)
Now then – this isn’t going to be a straight up review of the magazine’s pros and cons. I do have some thoughts on what an art magazine should provide in general but I’ll hold off on discussing those points for now. Maybe once I get a sense of what the typical issue of Sketch Magazine looks like we can talk about that but number 39 is the first issue I’ve read – so I’m going to talk briefly about the articles. The magazine seems to be geared primarily towards professional artists in the comic field.
The cover promotes the Adam Hughes interview – I wish it were a bit more serious (it has lots of margarita references) but I suspect Adam has done many interviews that ask similar questions. How often can you answer the question “What inspires you?” before your own answers start sounding trite. What serious bits that are in there are interesting. For instance, it’s hard to imagine Adam with his level of skill having “intense artistic self-loathing.” He does kind of sideways mention some things he’d like to improve, so maybe that last bit rings with some truth. And of course, the article is plastered with black and white finished art and sketches, all in Adam’s signature style.
Keeping Your Ego in Check – This article is all about making sense of criticisms, using your talent and skill for good ™ and other good advice on being successful in the comic business. Three good points I took from it where (#5) Remember Whose Neck Is On The Line, (#7) Realize That Mistakes Are Good and (#8) Laugh At Yourself. Those of you who have this issue will probably be tch-tching me because I didn’t (instead) mention #4 or #10 but I think you’d agree that all of the points are solid. It’s hard to choose just three.
Notes To Draw From – This article, consisting mostly of sketched examples, talked about the finer points of drawing characters asking questions and reacting with answers. Good stuff.
The Children’s Hour – This is an in-depth, no-nonsense article about writing comics for children. It covers the kind of research you need to do, scripting, action, dialog, editing and how to hit the right humor notes.
Tech Corner – This one was about using Photoshop to create panels and how to set them up so you can use and re-use them. I’ve seen a similar feature in Comic Life which was automated but I prefer the finer control for that sort of thing anyway.
Inkblots – This article covers how one turns a sketch into bluelines in Photoshop so it can be inked by hand. The image used is a Catwoman sketch by Terry Dodson and it turned out sharp.
Illustration – This covered five steps to completing a sketch card featuring the Pheonix. All the things mentioned were well thought out and explained nicely. I always enjoy seeing the artistic process and it’s a nice bonus to see a professional at work.
The Process – The last article showed us another artist’s process, specifically creating a cover for issue 2 of Carter Kain: Rocket Ranger. It’s five pages and takes us from roughs through Photoshop steps to the final cover. (http://yourbuddybuddy.deviantart.com/art/Carter-Kain-Rocket-Ranger-141614501 )This isn’t the cover but it’s the character.
Final thoughts – A subscription includes a free 20 word classified listing, a coupon for $15 woth of art supplies and a discount off purchases in the Blue Line store. Even without that, my first impression is that the magazine is definitely worth the subscription price. The plan seems to be that digital issues will soon be available for a pretty reasonable amount, with some back print issues on sale now. And here’s a table of contents for each issue.