By: Joe Alterio
February 22, 2010

I use the mail for thank yous, hellos, and general queries, so I frequently draw new illustrations that fit on 1/4 of an 8.5 x 11 page. I’m jealous of some artists who seem to get finished-looking sketches done every day. I tend to run at either 5 or 90 mph: either loose, loopy sketches, or really detailed work that I obsess over. I’m trying to develop a middle ground — thought-out, but not too thought-out; polished, but not too polished. Because I needed greeting-card images, I drew these astronauts in the style I’m trying to develop.

Cross-posted from Good Work.

To view a gallery of Alterio’s HiLobrow illustrations, click here.




What do you think?

  1. It’s often difficult to find middle ground in many different aspects of life. These look amazing! Middle ground with out being middle of the road.

  2. these are fantastic. I see some Frank Miller Batman Returns influence…in a completely good way.
    Just keep making stuff…once or 100 times a month, doesn’t matter.

  3. Thanks guys.

    @Rick – I actually really loathe that book, but I’ll take the compliment, that’s very kind of you. At his best, Miller’s loose specifics with his work are like the best gestures drawings – just enough to imply form, without getting picky.

  4. Joe…that’s what I was always impressed by him…the looseness that he achieved that most comics, especially then, didn’t come close too.
    Now you see more varieties of styles.

    Loathe that book? We’ve got to talk man ;)
    Might depend on your age I guess…if you’re constantly asking, “Who the fuck is Ronald Reagan?” than it could seem lame I suppose…

  5. @Rick… Perhaps there’s some confusion – Miller’s 80s Dark Knight Returns is amazing, but the sequel, which I thought you were referencing, feels like he phoned that it in, on top of Lynn Varley’s coloring work being so bad as to be offensive in that book,as well.

    As mentioned in the post, there is a narrow window. ‘Looseness’ isn’t sloppiness – it’s a removal of self-correction and insecurity that comes out in the line. Miller’s line work in the sequel book didn’t convey looseness to me, it conveyed arrogance – he knew he was *Frank Miller* by that point. The fire died, but the pen lived on, if you catch my meaning.

  6. oh yes. my bad. the 2nd one was terrible. not even worth picking up. sorry for the confusion.

    no…some of the expressions you’ve got going here are reminiscent of the Dark Knight book…especially secondary and bg characters.
    plus he mixed it up…left some stuff alone at ink and simple wash while in other places he built things up and gave them more dimensionality.

    I’m of 2 minds regarding looseness and self-correction. I would be lying if I said that I don’t love that my computer allows me to try a stoke as many times as I like, just to get it right. But I also think magic happens with traditional materials that aren’t as forgiving.

  7. I was at a youth baseball league meeting, earlier tonight, sitting next to Rick, and it was fun watching him doodle cartoons on the margins of the official league handouts. You rule, Rick — even if you got the name of Dark Knight Returns wrong…….

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