Panel 2: “IT’S A TRAP! IT’S A TRAP!” No, it’s excessive trapezoid-muscle depiction on Thugboy once again. The issue, really, isn’t so much the “trap bulk” as the trap-to-neck connection point, which appears too high. Oh, well.
Wanna learn more about better muscle depiction than I knew at the time? Watch one of those “Proko” drawing videos by artist Stan Prokopenko, which I’ve been scarfing down over the last few weeks as part of my life-drawing kick. I find myself actually somewhat annoyed that I’ve observed considerably more about drawing anatomy from watching Proko’s videos than I ever learned in art school—even if I’m a tad disconcerted to pick up so much info from an apparent 12-year-old, given the baby-faced Proko’s alarmingly youthful appearance. You younger artists face a world that’s much harder and far more challenging in many ways than I ever did as a youth—but holy crap, you have it soooo g-d easier in the one critical area of online tutorials. This kind of valuable resource simply did not exist when I was young and still artistically pliable—but so what? Even doddering old geezers and geezettes like myself, long outside the halcyon window of easy and rapid improvement of our younger years, have no excuse for not bothering to scour YouTube and the like nowadays to learn new ways to “step our game up.” And that exhortation goes double for all you young’uns—if you care at all about improving your artwork, watch a few less “Let’s Play” vids and load up heavy on the art tutorials. Your art skills will thank you!
The odd truth is, I’m not really all that concerned about improving my artwork as such—with the dwindling time I have left as a still-employable creator, I’m actually far more focused on telling the best stories I can before I’m no longer able to get work in my notoriously unforgiving field. (The fate of the older artist and creator in print comics is not often a pleasant one, alas. Hello, Hero Initiative!) I’ve just found myself of late strangely aggravated by my own sheer, galling lack of artistic knowledge in many areas, even if I’ve never been particularly obsessed with upping that level of know-how over the years before.
Thus ends “A Long Line of Dead People,” the penultimate story in Empowered vol. 2. Next time, we start up “Fruity Flakes®,” the volume’s final story and an important turning point for the series, as Emp’s tale takes a turn into what I call “Big Emo” for the first time. Keep those hankies handy, y’all, even if the emotionally charged storytelling is nowhere near as intense as the future operatic heights of, say, Empowered vol. 8.