Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 4 - Jo Chen

Jo Chen is an Illustrator who became the cover artist for the comic version of Vampire Slayer", a popular late-90s TV show about a high school girl and her friends who are set with the task of taking down vampires, demons, and supernatural baddies in their hometown. Ending after it's 7th season, the show was then brought back by creator Joss Whedon and comic artist Georges Jeanty. The comic series starts as "Season 8", continuing the tale of Buffy and her friends without small screen limitations. The comic itself is filled with incredible angles, great character designs, and quirky humor that make it work perfectly as a graphic novel. But the cover art is a masterpiece all on its own, and Jo Chen is a very talented illustrator.

This particular image is digitally colored, and different from the usual type of art I am attracted to. The coloring is very soft, with gradual shading and really nice highlights and low lights on the girl's form. There is an obvious light source, and the way it reflects on her cheeks, body, and hair makes for a very dynamic image. A shadow is reflected behind her, grounding her in the scene. I feel a lot of illustrations with figures focus so much on the figure that the background is treated as secondary, and less important. While a beautiful figure may be rendered, a fully realized background really adds to the image as a whole. Also, Chen is very good at rendering expression and likenesses, because this is not only a beautiful figure but it really *looks* like Eliza Dushku, the actress who portrays Faith in the TV series. Lastly, there was not a lot of line art in this piece. Usually I am attracted to line art, but I find Chen's work a refreshing change and really enjoy it.


  1. I've always been somewhat on the fence about illustrations - comic book art or otherwise - that come THAT close to photo-realism. It always keeps me wondering whether the artist is really that good of if he/she is just very patient when it comes to copying her reference material.

    Mind you this is a fairly effective image for what it does, even though it's not exactly my kind of thing.

  2. Well, there's no way you could say they are NOT "really that good", so at bare minimum they must be both: really good, and really patient. However, if you look at Eliza Dushku, she does not have such large breasts and her hips are a great deal narrower than her shoulders. You can see this image of Faith is actually quite stylized, with more ideal female proportions than the original model, aside from her face.

  3. That, and Jo Chen doesn't just do art of real people: I know I've seen made up characters on her site as well. I've not been keeping up with what she has been doing, but I've always liked that crisp style of hers. Nice to see her tackling a big project like this, I think her style is a good fit.