Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Lorenzo! and Studio Blink Twice

"When I look at the sketch work of an artist, it is always the working lines that hold the most interest for me, as they show an idea as it is just taking shape, when it could go any number of ways and when the creativity and imagination of the artist holds the most potential."
I first saw Lorenzo!'s work in his sketchbook on I was blown away. This guy is doing art that is both loose, and yet clean. His art is highly detailed, but simplified down to what it needs to be. It holds together equally well as black and white line art, and as more finished, rendered grayscale and color pieces. Just... wow.

Looking a little bit closer, he's also working very hard, and apparently LOVING every minute of it. That's one thing that comes across in his sketchbook, and his blog in the way he talks about his work. It also seems to shine through in every line and gesture... Lorenzo! truly loves what he's doing.

Founded in 2003 by the Etherington brothers, Robin and Lawrence (Lorenzo!'s "real" name), Studio Blink Twice was a "total change of direction from the whole touting-art-and-words-to-publishers-who-weren't-all-that-interested, to Self-publishing". Working in black and white, the animal comedy story "Malcolm Magic" launched as a bi-monthly title in January 2004. "Our intention is a simple one; we want only to create beautiful things. Blink Twice is committed to breathing excitement and fun into paper, pixels and people’s minds."

I've been following the sketchbook for quite a while now, and I'm always excited to see new work. Recently, Lorenzo! self-published through Lulu (A Laser Awesome self-publushing/print-on-demand website) the first volume in a brand new series of art books, "El Sketchbook Lorenzo: Volume One". What an excellent little book! Weighing in at just over 100 pages, it is packed to the gills - cover to cover - with drawings, sketches and processes.

It's really cool to see the process that artists go through when they are working on concepts and finished drawings, and I look forward to checking this book out over and over again. If I were to have anything bad to say about it, it would be that I would've liked a little bit of commentary to go along with the images, but at the end of the day he was trying to keep costs down (which I appreciate) and it's an ART BOOK! Given the choice between some text, and more pictures, I think he chose wisely.
One last cool thing about both his blog, and his sketchbook on CA... Demos! this is another reason I can easily forgive the lack of text in the book. LOL. Every so often, Lorenzo! posts pictures of his workspace and works in progress... as they are progressing. Even better, sometimes they include detailed text embedded in the .jpg for convenient theft (erm... I mean... um... well...) viewing later when you are trying vainly (LOL) to emulate his working style.

This is something that I personally love about the inter-web (and you kids better count your lucky stars at how easy you have it). It seems like when I was a lad, everything (techniques, processes, even ideaology) was closly guarded. I remember getting issues of "Starlog" or "Wizard" magazines reading the fluff articles with the creators "behind-the-scenes" and studying grainy little photos of their studios hoping to spy the Holy Grail. That one thing that made them better. Or at least to get an idea of how to do some of the stuff that they knew how to, and I didn't...

Well, it looks like I've started rambling, so that's a good time to cut things here short. I hope that I've piqued your interest in the Etherington Brothers, and Studio Blink Twice, and that you'll go and check them out. Also, as a side, I hope they inspire you check out the possibilities of self publishing your work through companies like Lulu, or Ka-blam!. There's a lot more flexibility out there now than the old model of working and hoping to get noticed by Marvel or something. There's still some hustling involved, but I think it's worth it, and possibly more rewarding in the end.

Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

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