Saturday, October 16, 2010
Why I like Frank Frazetta
Frazetta's art has had a huge influence on myself and many others. His paintings have a classic look as if done by Leonardo Da Vinci, but with a cartoony aspect. His mastery of anatomy is unmatched. The skin colors, and textures are natural and Frank always created a strong, eye-catching composition. There are bluish-green accents in the skin colors which do appear in real skin, and the figures always look as if they had been in the sun. Also note the subtle bit of cottage cheese on the hindquarters of the girl riding the centaur. Very convincing, and erotic. After first becoming aware of Frazetta's cover art for the Conan paperback books around 1973-74, (they originally appeared in the mid-sixties), I spent countless hours slavishly copying and studying every fold of skin, even trying to duplicate the colors with prismacolor pencils. I never aspired to paint but the drawing skill in Frank's work gave me a foundation for life-drawing, which brings up a related point: when drawing a live model, concentrate on drawing exactly what you see and resist the urge to get creative and caricature. The time you have with the model is limited so use it to study and draw what you see - later when there is no model, you can go hog wild, taking whatever liberties using the information implanted during the drawing of the real thing.
Recommended reading: Frank's work on Lil' Abner during the 1950s. They are available in hardcover compilations from Kitchen Sink. Frank was Al Capp's assistant for about nine years, and though Capp would redraw some of the faces to conform to his own style, the rest of the work was pure Frazetta.