My current dedication to doing a comic has led me to study my own collection in greater depth than I ever have before. As I went to ink the first page, I went through Earthboy Jacobus, Usagi Yojimbo, Gear, Sam & Max, Calvin & Hobbes, Solomon Fix, and Bone and began to realize things about the art I'd never seen before.
First off, Jeff Smith of Bone is an incredible artist. I know, I know, everyone knows that. I already knew that. But before it was just the sort of thing you say, the sort of thing that everyone says. I even knew why to some degree, but studying his line-work now and his compositions and use of strict black and white, my gosh. He was the man from the get-go, too, unlike others where a clear artistic progression has taken place and you can say, "Yeah, he's definitely improved since issue 1." Jeff Smith started out strong and stayed there.
A surprising revelation was found in Gear, which was my favorite TenNapel work artistically for years.
He used a big Japanese brush (according to the notes in the back) and he used a dry-brush technique quite often. He says he worked very quickly to keep the art fresh and alive, and I can see that a lot more clearly now. Some of the panels are actually rather confusing due to line-weights being equal throughout. Some of the drawings seem like they could benefit from quick re-do as well (they're a bit looser than the rest of the book). I still love most of the art (the contrast-defined images and the character designs, for example), but it doesn't seem as strong to me as it once did. Solomon Fix has taken over for my favorite artistic work of his.
Make no mistake, Creature Tech and Earthboy Jacobus feature some very strong art as well, but I'm still drawn more to his non-human work.
More on comic art to come...