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I picked up this influence map on Deviantart.com. I use the site but I am not a huge fan of it. There is just too much art on that site to find anything worthwhile. But this interested me. As I composed this map of my influences I realized a few things.
First, with the exception of Rumiko Takahashi all of my influences are male. Most of them are white and American. Its not intentional, its simply that I am a child of an American media saturated culture.
Most of them are comic artists. Once comics got in my blood I couldn’t shake them. Most of the fine artist that I like have either a graphic quality to their work or strong narrative elements. What that boils down to is a love of serialized fiction with a strong sense of character.
Much of what influences me is very high concept stuff. Not easy to synopsize. There are usually over-arching themes that are not always apparent in the narrative. Sometimes I would say those themes stand in opposition to the narrative.
A lot of the things that influenced me were from the late 80s and early 90s. Most of the content of that era I look back on with a uneasy feeling. Sometimes the things that attracted you in your youth seem quite silly as you get older. But lets be honest, its part of who you are and you should acknowledge it. Much of what has endured of that era is quality stuff and teaches us a valuable lesson about the current creative landscape we are in. The 90s were a time where DIY really met with mainstream culture. Independent filmmakers and self-publishing cartoonists really had captured the popular zeitgeist. What these people produced were products of passion not assigned stories. Many times they did it on their own with little overhead.
With comics in particular there is no budget consideration to make your idea become reality. All you really need is time and energy. Talent helps but thats beside the point. Its really exciting to see a singular vision put forth into the world. Its not comics decided by committee. Its risky because the successes as well as the failures are solely the creators to bear. But I guess thats what’s really inspirational to me, not asking for permission or validation to do what you want. Last year I lost $125, not including countless hours of labor, on doing what I wanted. Its not a living but tis a lot of fun.
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