The master comic book artist
This lens isn't just for fans of Alex Ross, but for artists who wish to learn from him. Alex Ross is an amazing artist. He is also kind enough to share his process through his books, magazine articles and vidoes. While I admire him for his ability, I revere him for his generosity.
A misconception about Alex Ross is that he has a photorealistic style. He does use photographs for reference, but he does not slavishly copy them;he slavishly improves upon them. The proportions and measurements he uses to improve the photos were learned by studying "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth," by Andrew Loomis.
Take note of the following images:
The image on the left was drawn by Andrew Loomis, which describes in detail the measurements for an ideal male, and the image on the right is a character study of Superman by Alex Ross. Notice how in this image, or any other for that matter, that Alex Ross renders, his heroes are drawn with the idealistic proportions set forth in Andrew Loomis' books.
Andrew Loomis and the books that influenced Alex Ross
Unfortunately Andrew Loomis' books are out of print. They are, however, considered the gold standard in figure drawing instruction. If you can track down his books, you will find that they are worth the effort and expense.
A little more about Andrew Loomis
Many artists have a hard time explaining how it is they do what they do. Andrew Loomis did not have that problem. In addition to the helpful diagrams and examples in his books, is an engaging, almost chatty writing style.
Here are a few quotes from "Figure Drawing For All it's Worth" that I especially love:
"May I confess that two weeks after entering art school, I was advised to go back home? That experience has made me much more tolerant of an inauspicious beginning than I might otherwise have been, and it has given me additional incentive in teaching."
"Every artist will do 'good ones' and 'bad ones.' The bad will have to be thrown out and done over. The artist should, of course, make a critical analysis to determine why a drawing is bad; usually he will be forced to go back to fundamentals, for bad drawing springs from basic faults as surely as good drawing springs from basic merits."
"I not only assume that my reader is interested in drawing but that he wishes from his toes up to become an efficient and self-supporting craftsman. I assume that the desire to express yourself with pen and pencil is not only urgent but amost undeniable, and that you feel you must do something about it. I feel that talent means little unless coupled with an insatiable desire to give an excellent personal demonstration of ability. I feel also that talent must be in company with a capacity for unlimited effort, which provides the power that eventually hurdles the difficulties that would frustrate lukewarm enthusiasm."
If you can only buy one Alex Ross book, buy this one
This book is biographical in nature. It is limited to his DC work, but it talks about his development, has original artwork, and shows his process for planning comics and painting them.
Alex Ross in his own words
Alex Ross in action
Watching these videos is not a substitute for studying Alex Ross' tutorials in his books, especially "Mythology." Still, you can pick up little tips on how he sets up his pallet, what brush sizes he uses, and how he moves around the painting surface.
Who am I kidding? It's impossible to buy just one Alex Ross book
Recent Alex Ross projects
The paint is still drying on these books. Alex Ross painted over Doug Braithwaite's pencil drawings for a striking collaboration of comic book art.
Alex Ross on the web
- Official Alex Ross site
Read Alex Ross' official bio. While his original artwork is for sale here, and justifiably expensive, you can download cool wallpapers for free.
P.S. If you buy something from this page...
... you'll automatically be making a donation to The Acumen Fund, working to solve global poverty.
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