P. Craig Russell examines two pages from “The Dream Hunters” in this preview lesson from P. CRAIG RUSSELL’S GUIDE TO GRAPHIC STORYTELLING (VOL. 2). The complete DVD can be purchased via our “Graphic Storytelling DVDs” page.
P. Craig Russell remembers his mentor:
I was very saddened to hear today of the death of Dan Adkins. As everyone who ever met him would say, he was quite a character.
He was the best assistant/collaborator Wally Wood ever had. His inking work on artists such as Barry Windsor Smith and Gil Kane was incomparable. His Doctor Strange series for Marvel Comics in the late 60′s ran concurrently with his best buddy’s work, Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of Shield. As a high school student I followed those books each month as the two battled it out over who could dazzle the reader more. It was in high school, in choir class, that I met Dan’s paperboy and found out Dan lived only a few miles from me, just outside East Liverpool, Ohio. It was in that little studio that Dan handed me, alongside Val Mayerik and Paul Gulacy, our careers.
His own artwork on a series of stories for Warren Comics Creepy and Eerie magazines in the mid 60′s, shortly after he left Wally Wood’s studio, was his high point and remain an inspiration to this day. Each story was a different exercise in inking techniques, ink wash, crosshatching, zip-tone, etc. His title page for “The Day After Doomsday”, a virtuoso display of the transposition of the grey tones of a photo into thousands of tiny pen point marks and crosshatching to create texture and light has been a constant goad to me, a high water mark I’ve reached for and never attained.
For 30 some years Dan began and then abandoned numerous projects (illustration 4). In recent years his artistic output consisted of single illustrations of whatever caught his interest, superheroes, movie stars, recreations of classic covers, pigs (illustration 1).
I will miss his shaggy dog stories, his totally unselfconscious personal anecdotes and his complete absence of any sort of interior traffic cop holding up a hand and saying “you can’t say that”.
The artist talks about his variant cover for The Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1. The piece is currently up for auction at eBay.
The Kickstarter campaign for P. Craig Russell’s Guide to Graphic Storytelling Vol. 3 is now underway! More information is available via the campaign’s Kickstarter page.
The acclaimed illustrator talks about his hand-colored original art. This original piece will be offered for auction at eBay later this evening, so please stay tuned.
P. Craig Russell:
Gotham by Gaslight (1989 version) and Gotham by Gaslight (2013 version). Mike Mignola’s pencils with my inks in what had to have been one of the worst production/printing screw-ups I’d ever seen. Mike’s art was nearly invisible. Just received the new edition in the mail and it’s a beauty. 24 years later. Worth the wait.
The original art for this new/old piece is now up for sale at eBay.
P. Craig Russell:
After drawing the Scarlet Witch poster for Marvel in 1986, I pencilled this Silver Surfer drawing in 1987 as another projected poster. I never finished it and it sat in the bottom of a drawer for 26 years. Having finished my Graveyard Book story (and wondering if I’m going to have to step in and draw another one of the stories while waiting to see if one of the artists is going to drop out), I found myself “on hold.” Thought of this drawing and decided to ink it. I also thought that I could just sit down and start inking, but found it needed some reworking, so I’m into day three. It’s 20″x32″ and hangs over the top of my drawing board.