Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sophie Franz's gorgeous, rich sketchbook pages, & four-panel comics

I miss updating the blog on Fridays because it was close to the weekend and the excuse for art-heavy, pictorial pieces was ripe. But Thursdays are almost the weekend, right? So it's as good as time as any to remind you about Sophie Franz, her amazing work, and the indisputable fact that you should all be following her Tumblr. These smudgy sketchbook page pieces appear to be a combination of painting, crayon and marker pens, and are even more gorgeous than her usual inked work- they're cartoony and appealing and yet so life-like, incorporating detail and technique- they have so much to them.

I love Fran'z use of light and shadow to create shine and texture; there's always at least one element that demands the attention on the page: in the first page it's the girls shiny, bubble-esqe, bright orange hair contrasting with her striped green bathing suit, juxtaposed against the very tangible bristle and curl of the young boy's hair opposite. On the second page below, it's all that rich, soft colour fathered in the top right-hand corner: the green, black, red, purple and blue. some of it sharper and I love the way she fills a page. The third page, I'm hugely appreciative of anyone who pays attention to fashion and style right now, so I like the patterns on the dress and skirt, the designs of the outfits, but also catching the eye is the pale lady with the white bob and large eyes. The fine-lined black inked section at the bottom of that page again throws the rest of it into relief- there's another boobed hair lady her face obscured by shadow. And in the final page, you just have that central lady with the pensive, worried look downwards with this magnificently rendered hair flowing all around her shoulders.

Franz is able to draw different faces and characters so well; often with artists you can recognise their work by their people looking a particular way (either deliberately or unintentionally) but Franz's faces you can see she's interested in observing people and capturing nuances and individuality- the're distinct- characters you could take off the page and build stories around. She's got a really good use of colour, too: unafraid and arresting, as if she doesn't feel like she has to use it for the sake of it, but where it's needed, or as an experiment to gauge an effect. I like that she plays around with lettering too. She honestly just leaves me in awe. She can take on so many styles- sometimes I'm reminded of Kyle Baker, sometimes Joesph Lambert, but ultimately she has a huge, versatile talent and ability that upon seeing her work, nothing makes me quite as excited about art and comics. Franz is publishing a comic with Retrofit Comics this year, and it's one of my most anticipated books- I can't wait to see what she comes up. I've caught some anthology work she's done here and there, but this will be her first significant print work, and I'm eager to get my hands on it. Go follow her Tumblr.

This is an excerpt she adapted from a Guy Peeleart page (Jodelle?):

Franz has also been doing these four-panel pencil comics (they seem to be diary/auto-bio) of late, which I really like: