Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jhonen Vasquez: Taking Over-Exaggeration to an Extreme

As an artist, it's always fun to look at the work of other artists, especially the ones who's work I particularly admire. Recently, I've been looking at a lot of Jhonen Vasquez's work. He's worked on various things, most of them comic or TV related. Some of his most popular works are 'Invader Zim,' 'Johnny the Homicidal Maniac,' and 'Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja.'

One of Vasquez's character designs, the middle of which is a typical, over-exaggerated expression.


Most of his work I don't care much for. His characters are generally more over-the-top than I like and drawn in a way that is intentionally gross. He also frequently over-exaggerates his characters' facial expressions when conveying an emotion. I do like his character designs for 'Randy Cunningham,' as well as his intense action pieces. My favorite of his pieces, to date, is 'Floor Damage.' I love the strong, emotional expression, the action and lines of action, the monstrosity emerging from the floor, and the loose, abstract nature of the figure.

Floor Damage by Jhonen Vasquez


Most of Vasquez's work has a horror feel to it, like something otherwise normal has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Most of his art, as I mentioned above, takes this to an extreme: he achieves the horror feel by deforming some main attributes as much as he possibly can. For what I feel are his better pieces, he only treads the edge of the horribly wrong and down-right ugly. Instead of over-emphasizing the character, he over-emphasizes the action. These more subtle pieces of his have been my inspiration for one of my more recent pieces. As of yet, it is untitled.

Untitled by Amaryllis


In my piece, I mimicked his character designs in 'Randy Cunningham' for my main character. I tried to exaggerate the action in my character to create the horror feel, then drew on the various horror movies I have seen to create a monstrosity. I don't think that I'm anything like as good of an artist as Vasquez, nor do I think my design carries the same feel as his work. I did appreciate having his work to draw on to expand my own capabilities, however. I hope to someday be as capable an artist as Vasquez, while creating far less ugly and over-done works.