Saturday Spotlight: JoJo Seames

Every Saturday, the comics internet puts their feet up and has a KitKat. But here on Comics Vanguard, we’re going to use today to get in some much-needed extra alliteration, and throw a spotlight on people doing some really cool comics work.

Today! Here’s a look at some of the work being done by artist JoJo Seames.

First of all – bunnies. BECAUSE BUNNIES ARE THE BEST! Although these are actually Jackalopes rather than bunnies – they have antlers, see? Seames mostly works in watercolours, and you can see in her background that she’s used a sort of blanching effect (I don’t know watercolouring terms so I’m just going to describe things as I see ’em) to create a grey, waterlogged affect which contrasts against the lighter, brighter colours of the jackalopes themselves.
There’s a great sense of composition here which you’ll see pulls across to all her other work, as well. Because the different jackalopes on this print all run in a single curved direction, you can make the decision yourself of whether you’re seeing several of them in one shot – or just the same one in several poses, taken across a short period of time.
Going through her gallery at her website, you can find all manner of different styles and tones in her work – but this was one of the most arresting images, as far as I’m concerned. Again the composition gives a sense of movement, as the birds rush round in a curve, heightening the impact of the main character and her lantern. The colouring on this is incredible – you can see the light dim around the parts of the image which are blocked from the lantern’s light.
And because of the perspective here, that means the reader is also directly exposed to the light – highlighting the two birds nearest to us, and alternately lighting and shadowing the others. It’s a wonderfully evocative piece of work.

Her colouring only ever serves the artwork. If you look at these two superhero pieces, you can see there’s a far cleaner and neater linework on the Joker image above, highlighting the cartoonishness of his anatomy and glare. Putting a purple character on a purple background is an unexpected move, but pays off here thanks to the use of shadow. It’s a simple effect, cutting the outline of Joker and throwing a bit of shade behind him, but it works fantastically, here.
It also takes you a long time to notice the fact that he’s holding a gun – one thing that really strikes me about her work is that you get a real sense of character in each. Rather than being stock poses, Seames has looked to emphasise the personality of the characters she’s drawing.

The standard ‘superhero leaps at you’ pose is taken a step higher by the pose itself, the arrangement of Sif’s body, and the background. It looks like she’s jumping straight out of the clouds, or a crack in the sky.

I also really like the way she changes the placement of her signature – she uses it to offer an extra suggestion as to how readers should see the potential momentum of her characters.

Seames also writes, and as you can see above she knows how to offer an interesting sequential story. The action of this page is offered through the colours, I would say – note how the female fighter is colourful and bold, whilst the male fighter has no colour to him other than, I think, his eyes. It’s a little touch that increases the effectiveness of the narrative itself.

She knows when to break the panels, and her lettering handles dialogue, sound effects and narration with ease. It would be very easy to lose track with a narrative comic, but here, in similar style to Ryan Dunlavey’s work on Action Philosophers, she finds space to block text and also throw in dialogue for the characters being narrated about.

I found out about Seames through a mention by Matt Digges on Twitter, who was wondering why nobody was as enthralled by her art as he was. WELL NOW THERE’S AT LEAST TWO OF US!

This is cracking stuff, and only a small scratch at the surface. She’s done a whole heap of work you can see over at her blog, and was the artist for the webseries Monster Plus with Chad Bowers. You can find her on Twitter here. I wasn’t able to find out what her current projects are – I hope she’s working on something. And if she’s not? THEN IT IS YOUR JOB TO HIRE HER, INTERNET!

We need more of this artwork. It’s fantastic.

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