Like any other artist, I too have inspirations. These are the things that convinced me to take on the path of an artist and a creator. Whenever I feel down about myself as an artist or have doubts about my methods, I will look to these as a sort of reminder about why I bothered to start in the first place.
So, You Wanna Be A Comic Book Artist? By Philip Amara – This is a great book when I was younger. It told me that there are actual people making comics and that you were capable of making comics yourself! The book explained the supplies needed, how to self-publish, even what to show as a portfolio! It had interviews with comic artists like Bruce Timm, Kevin Eastman and even up and coming artists like Becky Cloonan!
Super Mario Bros games – I think my first video game was Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for Gameboy Color. Compared to the NES game, this game was extremly close up. But I personally think it’s the best re-release of Super Mario Bros. in terms of pure content, since it had Lost Levels, 2-player multiplayer, Hidden Red Coin Challenges, and a photo album.
The Legend of Zelda games – My friend let me borrow his Collector’s Edition disc which had a demo of Wind Waker and full games of Zelda 1, Zelda2, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask! I beat all the games except Zelda 2 but I they all got me into video games and fantasy stuff!
Spider-Man – I loved the crap out of the 90s Spider-Man cartoon and strangely enough, my first ever comic I’ve ever read was Amazing Fantasy #15. My one of my grade school teachers had a tiny archive of comics and that was in it. I don’t remember if it was a reprint but I liked his origin as well as the side stories with it! When the original Sam Raimi movies came out, I was also really excited and watched them all the time!
Homestar Runner – I loved Flash Cartoons When I was younger because I couldn’t find it on television!
Newgrounds Cartoons -As with Homestar, I loved finding flash cartoons on Newgrounds! I loved watching Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom, Perfect Kirby, Waterman, Mortal Kombat Parodies, and many more. Most of them don’t really stand the test of time but I love them anyway!
Ben Caldwell – The book that truly launched me into drawing better art was Ben Caldwell’s Action! Cartooning and Fantasy! Cartooning. His work is probably why I went harder in my drawing that I had before in my middle school years. Anyone who as told me that I had a unique art style has never seen Ben C’s work! Since then, he’s massively improved, and he on my bucket list of artists I want to meet one day!
Bone by Jeff Smith – I read the colored Scholastic trades when they released but when I found out there was a large 1 volume edition, my mind was blown that there are comics that can come in large textbook sized tomes! You can even read the comic here!
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson – I loved these comics and I’ve collected many of the collections.
Final Fantasy VI – This is the game I first played when my friends showed how to emulate games and play ROMs. This is also my first Final Fantasy Game I’ve played (though Final Fantasy 1 Dawn of Souls was the first game I beat!)
Super Smash Brothers series – I love that series of games and I especially loved the chaotic nature of multiple people beating the crap out of each other anywhere they can with anything they can get their hands on! I hope that if I make any action stuff, I want to evoke that funny bar fight nature of Super Smash Brothers!
Zamonia series books by Walter Moers – I read most of these books, I found the cover of The 13 1⁄2 Lives of Captain Bluebear interesting and I ended up hooked in to how absurd and intriguing the world of Zamonia is. I will admit that the first book might be a slow to read but I personally think it’s essential to reading any of the other books. After Bluebear you could pretty much read them in any order! My favorite books are The Alchemaster’s Apprentice and Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures. Right now, I’m currently reading Labyrinth of Dreaming Books.
NEW AND CURRENT INSPIRATIONS
Jackie Chan movies – The thing I liked about Jackie Chan movies were the every man nature of the fights and the stories. Compared to other Martial Arts movies, Jackie Chan’s movies felt like Super Smash Bros. in that it was more chaotic and dirty. They incorporated the environment into the fight, climbing on things, falling off high places, grabbing whatever items where nearby. Because of this the fights felt more humorous and “normal”.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Reading that manga showed me how to re-think fighting and using super powers. It’s also the definition of incredible artistic improvement and achievement!
Progressive Rock music – Due to Jojo, I also got introduced to Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes, and that got me on a large hunt for music in the Progressive Rock genre. It’s great drawing music to me, because it’s ambient while still having memorable melodies. The closest I’ve ever gotten to that style of music were video game soundtracks.
Podcasts I listen to – I got into listening to podcasts when I was in college because music was a bit to distracting, so I found some podcasts to listen to while I did my work. My faves are always interviews with interesting people and people I’ve heard of but never truly knew! Podcasts are great!
Berserk – I really like the inking and detail that I wish I had the patience to do. The story itself is a very straight-forward dark tale of revenge with demons everywhere.
Old Nintendo Power Comics – I never read much of Nintendo Power when I was a kid since I never knew about it. I like the old style coloring they have.
Discworld – Most Fantasy Genre books I’ve read are fairly serious. They’re usually a slow burn and boring. Politics and World-Building in Fantasy especially turn me off, which is half the reason I never jumped on to the Song of Fire and Ice books. Discworld is less of that and more funny. It’s about loser characters becoming winners through common sense, pragmatism, and heart. At the time of this writing however, I’ve only read up to Witches Abroad and I’m about to start Reaper Man.
Good Cartooning – I feel like I resonated more with a good cartooning style in general. I really like good line art, exaggeration and action. I’ve recently been looking at Walt Kelly, Alex Toth and Will Eisner comics.
Shin Megami Tensei games – I really like the demon designs in those games and the general freedom you have playing them. This series solves some issues I have with playing Pokemon, like the giving me more deep addicting mechanics, and more interesting world and story. The music is especially amazing across all the games and spin-offs.