Growing up reading comics helped prime my naive artistic eye with a deep well of narrative, compositional storytelling. Every typical 22 page monthly comic holds at least 100 compositional solutions as the artist weaves together the script and visuals into a compelling whole. Compared to a cover artist, a comic artist solves 20 times as many solutions, and therefore tends to be overall more creative and experimental in their resolutions in order to keep their audience entertained.
For this reason, I love to turn to graphic novels and comics as a way to recharge the internal camera eye, and rethink what is possible. From shape design to narrative integrations, it is a thrill to flip through page after page of my favorite artists and see the world of ‘story’ through their eyes.
Below are a few of the artists who’s work is visually stunning, challenging and provides compositional lessons on every page. Check them out, buy a few books to read, and have fun as you ‘work’ towards making your art better!
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.
Donato! These compositions are cool. I see the influence. Stay awesome man.