Watching TV news in the States these days is just like NohTV in the "Circle of Blood" days.
-- Kabuki: The Alchemy #5
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Kabuki - Volume 1: Circle of Blood Hardcover (Regular & Limited Editions): ON SALE
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Justice League of America #56: April 20

Boston Comic Con
April 30 - May 1, 2011
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Houston Comicpalooza
May 27-29, 2011
Houston, Texas


Home FAQ 2.3: Does he use photographs or models?

4/23/01, 10:24 p.m.

And do you make photographs for your paintings?
I take a lot of photographs anyway. And sometimes I do take polaroids for figure studies if I think it suits that particualar work.

7/28/01, 10:38 p.m.
In a lot of my work I like to contrast the page and storytelling with both abstract design and some realism. When I'm going for a very realistice piece in painted art, I often start with photo reference. In Kabuki, it is fairly easy for my to take photo reference of my girlfriend and other friends and use photos that I have personally taken in Japan. And the script is tailor made for me to make up the rest. And sometimes I like to bury more Japanes Pop culture in there as well.

In Daredevil, I worked from someone else's script for the first time, so I wanted to make sure I was able to fulfill all the requirements that the script called for. I wanted to make sure that I had enough on site photo reference to pull off everything that Brian asked for.

I shot about two hundred polaroids of my next door neighbor who plays the little boy. The other kids in the story are also my neighbors, and the kids on the playground are from photos I took of kids playing in Spain.

I had a friend pose for a lot of the Ben shots, and I modeled for a bunch more of them myself. I even bought the trenchcoat from a second hand store. I also modeled for a lot of the Daredevil shots. You may see a lot of these when the story is collected as a trade paperback.

However there are a lot of shots that I took from my "reference file". When I was younger, this is the first thing that professional comic artists would tell me to develop. They will tell you to make files from magazine photos for objects, places and figures that will aid you in drawing those things realistically. All artists in comics that I know use this as a tool.

You always pull out photos of guns, cars, buildings, horses, trenchcoats, etc. because you may not always have those things at your immediate disposal to draw from.

So after first reading Bendis' script, I started keeping a collection of NYC buildings, men in trenchcoats, and people that might fit the bill of the cast in his script.

He asked me to draw the teacher as Lauryn Hill. So I filed away several shots of her. When we started this project, DiCaprio was up to play Parker in the Spiderman film, so we elected to put a little of him in the Parker likeness.

So that's how I approached this DD story. I'm sorry if it detracted from any of your enjoyment of the story. If it did, maybe I haven't learned to handle the "reference file" as a proper tool yet. I'm still learning. I probably used more reference on the DD story than usual, because I wanted to make sure I served the script properly.

7/30/01, 4:40 a.m.

How do you get/ask people to model/pose for you David? Do you give some of them money, art, or just tell if you pose for me you'll be in a comic book.
Well, usually I only ask my closest friends or girlfriend.

Most of my friends are artists too, and we are always happy to model for each other.

I've modeled for and appeared in books drawn by Brian Bendis, Mike Oeming, Dan Brereton, Rick Mays, Joe Quesada, Greg Horn, Andy Lee, and many others.

Of course, I also take a ton of photos every where I go. And sometimes I pull from these and the people in the photos that I have shot in public places probably never know that they made it into a shot here or there. Like the people playing soccor in Spain that I put in the background of a DD panel.

I have a basketball court in my driveway and I often play ball with the neighborhood kids. So for the longest time I knew that the kid next door would make the perfect actor for the kid in the Daredevil story [Wake Up]. So when I got the script I mapped out the scenes that the kid was in. Then, of course, I explained to his mother and asked for her permission, before I took photo reference of him. Tyler thinks it is very cool and it gave him a lot of bragging rights. He really looked forward to each issue. Everytime the new issue came out, I would give it to his mother first and ask her to look at it to make sure it she was comfortable with him reading it.

Some of Tyler's friends also made it into the playground scene with Ben.

I also took photos of my neighbor on the other side of my house to pose as the young Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, for my Parts of a Hole Daredevil story. And I sent them to Joe to work from.

But usually I use myself and my girlfriend. We've both modeled for other artists together, too. Andy Lee models for others, too. He was in Oeming's Bullet Proof Monk. You can't miss his handlebar mustache. And Brian Bendis often models for P. Craig Russell.

In some of the Kabuki issues, my sister-in-law Hiromi modeled as Akemi. I did a lot of shots of Hiromi and Anh (my girlfriend) interacting as Akemi and Kabuki.

Photo reference is just a tool. There are a zillion ways to do things and you pick and choose the best way to approach each scene based on the atmosphere that bests supports the story.

Usually, I go for the cruder, abstract, raw, or more design oriented renderings. But in order to make those have the full effect, I like to contrast them with some more realistic renderings here and there.

8/10/01, 7:24 a.m.

Hey, I've been reading your Circle of Blood trade paperback (great stuff so far), and I just have a question. I know you use photo reference, and over the summer, I've become a huge supporter of it as well. I was just wondering, do you use photo reference just for your paintings or did you use it for the whole Circle of Blood series, too?
There is no hard and fast method for me. I just use it if I think it will help. There are several panels in Circle of Blood that I shot extensive photos for. Most of these are the shots of the tattoo on Kabuki's back. I wanted the tat to move with the skin the way it would in real life. So I drew it on my girlfriend's back and then took photos of her moving with arms up, etc.

It's just a problem-solving tool like everything else.

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April 11: Webmaster's note

April 7: David Mack attending New York's MoCCA this weekend, MoCCA pre-party, thoughts on two films & more

April 6: Photo of upcoming Dream Logic shirt, David Mack and Tony Solomun art jam zine, David Mack plugged in Qatar newspaper & more

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