Modern Masters Volume Twenty-Nine: Cliff Chiang by Chris Arrant and Eric Nolen-Wathington (book review).

February 27, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More

Cliff Chiang isn’t an artist I’ve come across before. Mostly, I suspect, because I haven’t really picked up on recent Vertigo titles, the ‘Elsewhere’ graphic novels or his recent tenure on the ‘New 52’ ‘Wonder Woman’. Even so, I’m still a sucker to see how people advance in their careers in the comicbook world. With Chiang it was a transition from sub-editor at Disney and then DC Comics to freelance artist, learning the ropes as he went to further develop his artistic skills. It is one thing to be able to draw well and quite another to stage a comicstrip.

CliffChiang

Looking at his early sketches, it’s obvious from text and them that artists like John Byrne and Paul Smith had some early influence as those artists were amongst those he first saw in the mid-80s. There’s some beautiful con sketches based off Smith’s style later in the book showing this.

In his interview, he points out later artists took more of an influence. Looking over Chiang’s art, there is still more a dependence on style than steady art with a dependence on chiaroscuro in setting the mood. One thing I do tend to look at with any new artist if how they cope with getting hands right and his early ones were very crude, although seeing improvements later, it’s obvious he realised the same thing because they got a lot better and at least looked like they could function.

When he depends less on chiaroscuro, the linework has very firm outlines and it took a little while to realise that as it was painted digitally that this avoided the problem of colours bleeding into other parts of the panel. It does make me wonder if the art software companies couldn’t come up with an application that looks for line gaps and complete them before the colour is added. That way, it would at least allow thinner lines to be used and is a bane for all who experiment with digital art who need to add a blanket colour before putting any colours on top.

It’s rather interesting seeing how Chiang’s style has developed and there is a sharp contrast between his earlier mood work and the cleaner lines of his ‘Wonder Woman’ material. There is plenty of his art to please his fans and might well attract you to look at his comics as well.

GF Willmetts

February 2014

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 117 page illustrated softcover. Price: $15.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-60549-050-2)

check out website: www.TwoMorrows.com

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Category: Comics, Illustration

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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  1. Modern Masters: Cliff Chiang « ChrisArrant.com | March 24, 2014
  1. avatar Chris Arrant says:

    Geoff,

    Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed our book!

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