What is my work about? Seems like a simple enough question, but it is hard and somewhat limiting for me to define myself and my work. I know what I want my work to be, but often times finding it lacking. I know the artists who I would like to be like, but when comparing my work to theirs I tend to see my shortcomings in the light of their brilliance. Upon countless heart wrenching hours of self analysis I know what my strengths are and where my weaknesses lie.

I want my work to be part of the illustrative tradition in sequential art ( I’ll explain the the two categories, the cartooning and the illustrative tradition, as I see them in a future post). I would like my work to be more realistic than abstract in terms of how I represent my characters and the world they live in. Simply put I would like my work to look more like Prince Valiant than Peanuts or Garfield. The preference is not merely aesthetic, but I believe that this more illustrative style lends itself better to the stories I wish to tell. That is not to say that an artist like Bruce Timm could not tell the same story in his style, and it be a good story. The difference in art styles would effect how the story is perceived by the reader and make it a different type of story. I want to tell adventure stories interwoven with elements from the horror and fantasy genres (i.e. zombies, vampires, mythical beast, monsters, etc.). I feel that the more illustrative tradition in comics offers a better platform for me to build these stories.

I would like my work to be like Mark Schultz, Al Williamson, and Alex Raymond. I find a grace and confidence in their work that I’d love to see in my own. I instead find a rough dark quality to my work which I am sure can be attributed to my study of horror comics. I see elements of Bernie Wrightson, Gene Colan, Graham Ingels and Tom Mandrake competing with the Schultz, Williamson, and Raymond aspirations. I have even had someone at a portfolio review compare my work to Wally Wood (which is one of the highest praises I have ever received). I find when I am able to reconcile these two aspects that my work becomes something of its own. It is no longer trying to be like someone else’s work, but becomes its own unique thing.

I find that my strengths as a storyteller are in blending the genres of fantasy adventure and horror. My work is at its best when there are dominate shadows and my lines have enough character and weight to them. I find my work does not hold together as well with thin dainty lines with little contrast in them. I believe my work is more effective when I keep a high level of contrast between the black and white areas. It becomes weaker when I try and to do too much hatching to denote values. My feathering and brush stokes create a dark dreamy world where it is possible for pirates and musketeers to meet dinosaurs and zombies.

My work is about merging fantasy adventures with horror. I achieve this by combining the illustrative influences of Schultz, Williamson, and Raymond with the masters of the macabre (Wrightson, Colan, Ingels, and Mandrake) that have shaped my way of rendering shadow and light. My goal is to have my work be an effective partner to the stories they depict, and hopefully to be enjoyed by others.

-Anthony Summey