Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Art of Eliseu Gouveia: Visual Spectacle and Treatment of Subject Matter yield Glorious Art!

I've never been to Portugal. I don't speak Portuguese. And I probably can't even pronounce his name correctly.

But...Count me among the fans of artist Eliseu Gouveia.

My introduction to the artwork of Eliseu was a discussion thread over on the Digital Webbing forum, a place that I spend much time, of late. Specifically, it was this thread, for those who care to look.

Eliseu Gouveia has done me the honor of reintroducing me to the character, Wonder Woman - and he's done a damned fine job of it!

However, I am torn in different directions, torn by what I like the most about his approach to this iconic character from DC Comics. Is it his art that I like the best? Is it the underlying premise behind it, one based upon his own reinterpretation of the Wonder Woman mythos? Is it the research that he put into this project that really makes it stand out in my eyes? Or is it some combination of the same?

What am I missing?! Have I failed to point out - to highlight - some missing ingredient that would account for the appeal of Eliseu's take on Wonder Woman in his undertaking titled, "WONDER WOMAN - In The Name Of The Mother?"

If I had to sum it up in a nutshell, then what does it for me is that Eliseu Gouveia has risen to the proverbial occasion, and is in the ongoing process of delivering to the world a serious treatment of this super heroine.

Originally envisioned as a ten page undertaking, Eliseu's work of collective art on this particular subject matter has evolved well beyond that initial goal. Eliseu Gouveia, it seems, comprehends that, at times, it is best to just let things evolve naturally, rather than set arbitrary limits out of thin air, thereby stunting the character''s growth or shortchanging the story, itself, that is being told. This approach denotes maturity in comprehension of both characters and story-telling in the comic book format.

"WONDER WOMAN - In The Name Of The Mother" is a nice example, I think, of the whole being greater than the sum of its individual parts.

To really gain an appreciation for the strength of Eliseu's take on this character, the Digital Webbing discussion thread noted above can only be properly considered to be a starting point. It is within his commentaries on the character this this project that are scattered throughout his deviantArt gallery, profile, and concept portion of his Wonder Woman re-imagined section that really flesh out the substance of Eliseu's vision for this character that is Wonder Woman.

I won't say that all of the individual panels of artwork encompassed within this body of work achieved, to date, evoke equal enthusiasm from me. That said, the quality of the artwork embodied within this project, thus far, is significantly positive. Some of it, I adore. Notably, none of it is bad, much less terrible. In all regards, quality is present in abundance. It's biggest shortcoming, so far, is probably in the area of special effects lettering. There simply isn't much of that showcased in this project, to its current point.

In my considered opinion, while Eliseu Gouveia has invested a lot of detail into the underlying premise of what is being presented on the page, I cannot but help to think that, the truth be known, he has only really begun to just scratch the surface of what is possible with him at the helm of such a project.

One thing that I will say for Eliseu Gouveia is that, where his art is concerned, he definitely reveals an appreciation for how to approach the female form in the comic book format. A trip over to his Facebook page taught me that, if nothing else.

If I had to sum up both the artist and his art in a couple of words, what I would choose to go with would be "class act." He seems to instinctively know how to portray women as both feminine in nature and as individual characters of strength, simultaneously.

Eliseu captures the beauty of women, but not just the surface beauty. He captures their inner beauty, as well, and he presents this, amongst other things, to us, the readers and viewers, on the canvas of the pages that he offers up to us on the altar of public consumption.

Here is an artist well-versed in the art of visual spectacle. Whether he realizes that or not, I don't know. Whether he fully and intimately appreciates the value of this particular artistic gift, I honestly can't say. Perhaps, much like this particular project, his appreciation of his own artistic gifts, to include this specific one but not limited thereto, might well still be evolving.

I hope so, anyway. Because, if it is, then my mind gapes in awe of what may lie ahead.

Eliseu Gouveia, from afar, I salute you! Much is there about your artwork that is worthy of admiration.

I wish you only the best, as you pursue both this Wonder Woman project, specifically, and your artwork as a profession, generally.

I can only hope that you do not stop with just Wonder Woman under your belt, for what you bring to your profession that is art is the concept of treatment in action.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Straight from Goldopolis hails the Man with the 24-Karat Kick!

There's so much art out there in the world, what's a blogger to do? What do you single out for recognition, and what do you just let pass by, without so much as nary a comment, at all?

It all boils down to a judgment call, I suppose, and trying to comment on all of it would swiftly prove to be an exercise in never-ending futility.

So, when the hunt for good art is on, and when I'm looking for something that really catches my eye, something that has the glint of artistic gold about it, what better stroke of fortune can a blogger like myself have than to encounter a character by the name of Goldbug.

Goldbug is the handiwork of an artist by the name of Tim Rocks, and Goldbug is one of those characters that I instantly fell in love with. He has personality. He's a character with character. He's truly golden! How can you go wrong, when you've got a character the likes of Goldbug to work with?

The style of art that artist Tim Rocks utilizes to portray Goldbug to the world strikes me as a style more suited to a comic strip, rather than a comic book. But, that minor quibble aside, Goldbug is a character that makes me yearn to follow his adventures. It's a simple concept that's well executed. The world needs a character like Goldbug in it. Count me as a fan of the man with the 24-karat kick.

On the surface, Goldbug reminds me of the character known as Scrooge McDuck, aka Unca Scrooge. He has a subterranean lair, one where he hoards acre upon acre of the world's precious gold supply.

Say what?!

What's there to not like about that concept?

Because this comic book character is still in his comic book infancy, there's not exactly one heck of a whole lot known about him, as of this stage of his literary development. But, you know there's more - so much more - that lies waiting in the wings, just itching to be learned.

Goldbug's charter issue, The Bug Keeps Cool, treats the reader to humor and good, clean, wholesome fun in comic book form. But, even if it didn't, this character would still be a winner. He's corny. He's campy. he's Goldbug!

This superhero is flawed and imperfect. Yet, his greatest superpower is one that the artist, rather than the character, himself, possesses. Specifically, it is the power to tell a story, and to tell it in such a way that it makes the character shine.

It is for the very reason that Goldbug is imperfect and fallible that he's the perfect man for the job.

I mean, come on! He has difficulty escaping even the most simple of traps that his adversary lays for him. He gets snared. He trips up. He's clumsy. He's inept. He's wonderful!

This is one of those instances where the character is a greater concept than the art by which he is rendered and made possible for the viewer and reader to enjoy. Personally, I think that Goldbug is a true gold mine of an opportunity for cartoonist and illustrator Tim Rocks.

If you want to check out Goldbug for yourself, then head on over to Tim's blog, where you can find the entire twelve page issue of "The Bug Keeps Cool" just lying in wait for you. Or, you can drop by Tim's Facebook page for Tim Rocks' caricatures. You can also mosey on over to Tim's website, if you prefer to familiarize yourself with him more, by going that route, instead.

While you're there, you can also check out some of Tim's other imaginative works, which include "Planet of the Slob-oids" and "How I Infiltrated the Elite Leafblower Corps - and Lived to Tell about It!"

Catch the gold fever  - Catch the first issue of Goldbug!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Introducing Mikael Bergkvist: A Prolific Champion

Not so very long ago, I had never heard of Mikael Bergkvist. Yet, he is quickly becoming one of my personal favorite artists.


Not because I think that he's the best artist around, nor even because I admire any particular piece of his artwork.

Rather, what I really love about Mikael Bergkvist, as an artist, is that he is prolific at creating art - particularly art of the superhero or near-superhero variety.

While other artists are piddling around, or moving with the personified essence of sloth, Mikael Bergkvist is busy churning new pieces out, one right after the other in rapid succession. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning might say. The grandeur of Mikael Bergkvist's art can only be fully comprehended and truly appreciated, I believe, by trying to take in the sum totality of what he is producing, art-wise.

I don't care if his characters are imperfect, as they invariably are, at times. I don't care if his scenes are incomplete, with white space left untouched by his artistic hands. I don't even care if he's drawing the characters that I most want to see depicted or not.


What I care about, and care about very much, in fact, is that Mikael Bergkvist doesn't know when to stop.

He's tackled a range of characters in a range of different poses. That's all fine and dandy, of course. It's even preferable, mind you. But, it all comes back to that engine of prolific power that runs non-stop inside of him.

He doesn't spend forever and a day on any given piece of art that he sets his mind to producing. And, maybe for our sanity's sake, that's for the best. Because, if his short time-limited stints produce what he's producing, and at the steady pace that he's producing it, then that approach just might be saving us all from some Mikael Bergkvist-induced stupor of wonderment at what a time-absorbed epic grand masterpiece might actually result in for art viewers like me.

One of the bad things about being a fan of comic book artists is waiting for the next piece of art to come out. Artists are like the goose that laid the golden egg. It's not quite as simple as killing the artist, so that you can get all of the juicy and delicious art out of them, all at one time.

Alas, no. It's just like it is with that accursed goose. Artists craft each art piece, one at a time, and all that the poor, hapless fans can do is to wait until the next one comes to fruition.

So, if there's anything that Mikael Bergkvist can teach other artists, especially ones of the up and coming variety, is the value that inheres in being prolific.

The perfect piece of art, you see, doesn't exist. It has never exist, nor will it ever exist. For inherent to the core nature of art is the desire to see more, to see bigger and better and more intricate things. Art has a certain degree of self-perpetuation built into it by our esteemed Creator. When it comes to being prolific as an artist, Mikael Bergkvist is definitely a speedster.

I first encountered his artistic handiwork over at the Digital Webbing forum, which, in turn, led me to Mikael Bergkvist's Facebook page, on which he has a multitude of his art pieces posted.

It's just one of those scrumptious finds, kind of like finding King Solomon's mines - full of visual treasures of various shapes and sorts. A king's ransom in artistic pleasures, for sure, if you're a fan of comic book superhero art.

I don't know Mikael Bergkvist, personally. I've never met him. In all probability, I'll likely never meet him.

Yet, just the same, I have become a fan of his. Something inside of me tells me that I am addicted to his prolific nature. Damn you, Mikael Bergkvist! Your value as an artist is more than you'll likely ever live to fully realize, much less appreciate in totality. Mikael wears the mantle of artist well.

If you get a chance, be sure to trek on over to Michael's Facebook page, the one where his art is on glorious display, and get a bigger whiff of his artistic excellence.

I'm warning you, though - don't blame me if you become addicted to his prolific nature, too! There's quite a bit to see there, and even after you spend lengthy swaths of time just browsing his collection, it will only leave you all the more hungry for more.

You've heard of Swedish meatballs? Well, Mikael Bergkvist is certainly no meatball of an artist, though he is a Swede. And for me, while Sweden may be a long way from where I call home, home is where the heart is, and finding Mikael Bergkvist's art collection is a lot like finding one's way home.

This vast tome makes me wonder why so many other artists take such a sloth march to generating art. I know, I know. Every artist is different. But, there is much to be said for artists who encapsulate an appreciation for the prolific beast within their overall repertoire of artistic weaponry. To conquer the throngs of fandom, to be prolific is one of the most powerful of artistic weaponcraft to include in one's arsenal of artistic talent.

Mikael Bergkvist's Facebook page for his art, titled Art of Amikael, is well worth dropping by. I heartily recommend the journey.

 A bit more about Mikael can be found here, over on the Lambiek website, Europe's first antiquarian comic shop.

Superheroes usually aren't gifted with the luxury of having all of the time in the world to get the job done. Whether it's the city that needs saving, or the planet, or even the entire universe, superheroes act with a sense of urgency to get the job done.

It's such a pity that so many artists don't incorporate this very same sense of urgency in either their approach to crafting art, or in their approach to gaining fans.

Typically, I don't wear a hat - but, if I did, then it would be off to Mikael Bergkvist. When it comes to being prolific at creating art worth looking at and worthy of being appreciated, Mikael is a true champion!