Saturday, January 1, 2011

Found ROM art that doesn't suck - Part 1

I found these on Deviant Art and Comic Art Fans. When it comes to drawing comic book/sci-fi characters I'm just a big stickler for figure drawing done well in terms of perspective, proportions and anatomy accuracy. Aesthetic qualities that were sorely lacking in much of the work for the auction. We were reminded that in the world of art what makes something popular is often about who is the "artist" and not the quality of their work. Part of my motivation for starting this blog in the first place had much to do with my love of art and the realization one day of how much ROM related fan art (both good and bad) was out there so long after the original series ended. Please take a closer look by left clicking on any of the images to magnify them.
The Ratkins drawing has a couple of things about it I really like. It's almost got a Sal Buscema penciling kinda drawing style to it. This is also excellent example of foreshortening done well. Foreshortening is the effect of making an elongated object on a 2D horizontal surface look convincingly as one end being closer to the viewer then the opposite end. In Lamen's terms this guy did a good job of drawing ROM with him looking like he's flying right at you.
The Gamill sketch is more of a static drawing but it's still pretty awesome. This is done by somebody who clearly understands the importance of anatomical proportions in figure drawing. As a result you really have a virtually flawless illustration of ROM looking at his best and capturing the majestic nature of the character. This one really looks like something that you'd find on the cover of a Marvel comic magazine like Conan The Barbarian. I can just hear it now when ROM is asked what is best in life . . . To crush the Dire Wraiths, see them banished to Limbo and to hear the lamentation of the women!".
The Ahern drawing gives us a rare detailed look at the Wraith war ships the Spaceknights fought during the attempted invasion of The Golden Galaxy. Because this one gives us a setting it really stirs the imagination plus like the other two it's just done well artistically. All three of these really capture that 80's Marvel comic book art feel which we all love!
The artist that goes by the name of Zimkitty has come up with something pretty good too. This sketch of ROM and Shadowhawk facing off is great for two primary reasons. One is that the anatomy is well done and proportional along with the dramatic perspective of the two figures. Even as just a pencil sketch it has a boldness to it and clean line work. Imagine what it would look like inked and colored!
I don't know these guys, so my positive critique isn't based on being part of some groupe fan club they might have. I think these 4 artists have work that really captures the basic makings of good comic book character art for which I really feel has little room for abstract interpretation with out coming off as being bizarre or just plain stupid looking.


  1. Radkins art is very similar to Sal B's work in the book. It is very well done. I don't remember who did the color work for the Rom books but this would look great done by him.

    Ahern's work reminds me of my commission piece. It is very stunning pencil work.

  2. yeah that commission piece your talking about was actually my second posting ever on this blog. back then i thought i was going to start collecting my social security before i'd ever have a visitor here.

  3. Dave, good things come to those who wait. That reminds me...I need to check on the status of my newest commission soon.

  4. I'm really impressed with the ZimKitty piece. It's extremely difficult to draw two people fighting, especially in those close quarters. The feeling of movement might be better, but I hardly think I'm one to judge that too harshly.

  5. I like em all but I give my medal to Brian's work. Folks who trip into detail on the backdrop always have a story in their mind they are playing out as they draw I reckon.

    Would be cool to know what his was.

  6. this is a portion on an email that was sent to me this morning that i found interesting and wanted to share with you all. i'm going to protect the identity of this person because they don't want to be labeled as a dick in the comment section:

    Kerry Gamill is a long-time professional comics artist and that piece of his (dated 1982 or something) was obviously done using the cover of # 1 as reference.
    The Ahern piece I am SURE I have seen in the comics - although, his was probably done as a study, since he had pitched a ROM revival project many years ago.
    And the Ratkins piece has hundreds of similar foreshortened pieces by Sal Buscema in the issues for reference (yet, he still made the mistake of making ROM's feet too small. Feet that tiny would indicate that they are further away from his head than need be - thus making him too elongated).
    I do like the rough sketch by zimkitty. It has a nice fluidity. Still... I'd be surprised if it wasn't drawn by using another piece as reference.
    *Sigh*... great. Now I sound like a ROM fan who IS a dick.

  7. He doesn't sound like a dick, but someone who knows his stuff. The Ahern piece does look similar to one of the scenes, I think from Tales of the Spaceknights. It's still very good, though.