Thursday, October 7th, I discovered a book entitled Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Story Tellers. I thought to myself, this seems rather applicable to myself and that I should purchase it. I did, and so far I’ve found it pretty interesting. It is written by Marcos Mateu-Mestre. After a quick flip through the book, I decided it warranted more research on the artist. Mateu has been working as a sequential artist for over 19 years in the fields of animation (storyboards, visual concept, etc.) and as a graphic novelist (El Pacifico). He has also done work in product design, character design, 2D animation background, and general illustration.
His artwork does several things very well. Composition is one of his strong suits, as well as creating mood through use of perspective and lighting. All of the images in Framed Ink are black and white tonal drawings. I would assume that the medium he is using to execute them is digital; however it is not listed.
Lately I’ve faced myself with the question of what makes something visually appealing to look at. This could be applicable to anything from looking around with your own eyes, drawing, painting, or photography. It’s a hard question to answer, and opinions will differ, but I found myself pondering this question whenever I had time to think about it. On my lunch break at work, on the train, while drawing, etc. this question has been on my mind. Mateu-Mestre’s drawings exhibit qualities I have been thinking about. Variation of line weight. Irregular shapes. Shapes or lines that create movement within a composition. Contrasting juxtaposition of shapes. Tonal contrast. Most importantly, feeling.
One of the most interesting things I found flipping through Framed Ink was that in every drawing in the book, every line or shape had it’s own character which contributed to the overall feeling of the composition. I believe that feeling is what really draws us into illustration and allows us to connect with the ink on the page. Another purpose is also served by the varied quality of line, which is to create movement within the drawing.
I think all of these attributes apply to the cover of this book just as well. If you were to zoom in on each line or shape you would not perceive that you are looking at a head of a man. Each element that you were to zoom in on, however would be visually interesting on its own. Each element becomes essential to the overall composition and mood of the piece, telling a story about a person you’ve never seen before, that has never existed in reality, but enticing you to learn more.
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~ Joe Koch