Trend Outfit Inspo Fall Style Inspiration

Trend Outfit Inspo Fall Style Inspiration

At the Comic-Con in San Diego a couple of years ago, Dustin Nguyen sat at a drawing table in front of fans and knocked out sketches of the DC Comics characters heâs known for: Damian, Batmanâs spiky-haired son. Batman himself. A pint-size Wonder Woman. A kid Riddler in a bowler hat with a question mark. One after another.You can watch the session on YouTube. His pencil moves with a restless energy, and before long he has turned out sketches for every kid in the front row, and one extra, âjust in case another kid shows up out of nowhere,â Nguyen says. It seems so effortless and intuitive; you might assume itâs the work of a gifted natural talent. Not according to him.âEvery level I was at, there was always someone better than me. I could just tell,â he says. âEven in high school. Everyone knew that I was an artist, not because I was good but because I kept doing it. I would just draw all day.âThe effort paid off. At DC Comics, he was paired with writer and industry legend Paul Dini on âBatman: Streets of Gothamâ and other titles. With writer Derek Fridolfs, he created a hit series, âBatman: Liâl Gotham,â starring the DC superheroes as kids, and another featuring Bruce Wayne and friends as middle schoolers, which debuted as a bestseller on The New York Times list.He has won two Eisner Awards, the Oscars of the comic world, for artwork in âDescender,â a series he created with Canadian writer Jeff Lemire. Along with its sequel series, âAscender,â it follows the adventures of a boy robot called Tim-21 designed as a companion for a kid at a mining colony on a distant moon. This summer, Lark Productions, part of NBCUniversal International Studios, bought the TV rights for the books with plans for a live-action series.A key to Nguyenâs success, according to Fridolfs, lies in a sentiment the illustrator has repeated so often it could be his motto: âItâs just comics.ââIt never feels like work. And we try not to take it too seriously,â Fridolfs says. âHe makes it fun. If itâs something we like, then the audience will enjoy it, too. And I feel like thatâs never failed us.âHe sure looks like heâs having fun in that Comic-Con video, drawing another kid character and poking fun at himself. âSee, the secretâs gone. Itâs one character over and over. I know youâre thinking it, too, while youâre watching this. This dude is just drawing the same thing. And heâs adding a star and itâs Wonder Woman.âEven though the Hollywood spotlight is shining on his work, and his books reach a global audience with translations in every language from Italian to Russian to Korean, 44-year-old Nguyen comes across as unassuming and down-to-earth.He works in a studio in his Fountain Valley home, a âvery messy, very messyâ place jam-packed with comics and toys, a TV, mismatched furniture, and two tablesâone for drawing and the other for paintingâwhich he built himself so that he can work standing up.âItâs not like the kind of art studio that you imagine, âOh, itâs got plants!â Itâs just madness,â he says, speaking over the phone since the pandemic has made it impossible to experience the madness in person.Itâs 4 in the afternoon on a Monday in June, but he hasnât started his workday yetâanother concession to the pandemic. âI get up around noon,â he says. âSounds bad. But because of the lockdown, my kids are no longer in school. I used to get up at 8 and take (my daughter) to school, but now I donât need to get up.â So now he starts at 9 or 10 p.m. and works undisturbed through the night.1 of 4With multiple deadlines, itâs a grinding regime; but heâs living his dream. âIâve always liked comics. For the longest time I was trying to get into comics.âNguyenâs own backstory reads like an adventure tale suited for a graphic novel. Among the first wave of refugees who fled Vietnam by boat in the mid-1970s, he and his family were rescued at sea by the crew of a Swedish vessel. They shuttled from Taiwan to Indonesia to Singapore before relatives in Georgia sponsored their entry into the United States. He was raised in the South and in Southern California by a single mother who fostered his dream of becoming an artist.âI grew up knowing that Asian parents always wanted a doctor or a lawyer. Iâm sure my mom would have loved that. She was very supportive of my art. Also, she has five kids so she could spare one.âHeâd originally trained for a career in industrial design and 3-D engineering and was making headway by the mid-â90s. But his heart wasnât in it. He kept comic scripts in his car, sketched during lunch breaks, and committed only to enough work to pay for necessities and to go to the comic conventions.âBack then, the best thing to do was show up (at conventions) in person, carry your portfolio around, talk to editors, âHey, take a look at my stuff.â DC had portfolio reviews at conventions where you would need a raffle ticket to get in there. So I would go with my brother and a couple of my friends, and theyâd all get raffle tickets to try to get me a portfolio review, and finally I got (one).âYou think youâre really great, then you walk into a room and there are 300 people who think theyâre really great. Itâs tough.âHe persevered, and eventually got a callback from an editor at WildStorm Productions, a studio in La Jolla headed by Jim Lee, the artist and writer whoâs now publisher and chief creative officer of DC Comics.âHe called on a Friday and he said, âCan you come on Monday, and can you do some pages over the weekend? Are you a page-a-day guy?â Which means you can draw a page in a day, which is kind of an industry standard for a monthly book.âI was like, âYeah, of course.â I couldnât. It took me a month to do three pages. That weekend, I jammed and I actually did three pages over the weekend. They looked like crap.âThe talent spotters at WildStorm thought otherwise, and he got the job.âA lot of artists come on trying to ape another artistâs style, but Dustin didnât. Dustin was very distinct from the get-go,â says John Layman, then an editor at WildStorm who went on to create the Eisner-winning series âChew.âScott Dunbier, former executive editor at WildStorm, agrees that Nguyenâs style was unique: âHe was definitely different. The weird thing about Dustin is, heâs one of the few guys that I look at their work but I canât really see his influences. Thatâs unusual.âThe skyward arc of Nguyenâs career tracked a shift in comics, from a once-ridiculed genre to a major force in the entertainment industry. Comics or graphic novels are everywhere, inspiring blockbusters such as the âBatmanâ films and âBlack Panther,â and TV series such as HBOâs âWatchmenâ and Netflixâs âThe Umbrella Academy.â They fuel video games and fill the shelves in bookstore and library teen sections.Nguyen has worked on his share of iconic superheroes, and he speculates heâs most closely associated with Batman, the character heâs most comfortable drawing. Thereâs something about the Caped Crusader.âHeâs not like Superman. Superman is great, I love Superman, but Batmanâ thereâs something about him. He does good without having to say heâs good, and he doesnât have to represent good while doing good. Also, thereâs the whole mysterious thing, and every time you see him it looks like itâs 3 in the morning. You get that vibe from him.âNguyenâs work on Batman led directly to his âLiâl Gothamâ series.âI started doing it for fun. ⦠I did a lot of stuff that was dark and gritty, and I would do signings and stuff and kids would come by, and once in a while you want to do drawings for kids. So I started drawing cartoon versions of Gotham characters like Batman. Iâve always liked that style because I was influenced by manga and Japanime stuff growing up. So I did my kind of fun TV version of that, and it took off. People liked it.âHe and Fridolfs recently published a spinoff, âBatman Tales: Once Upon a Crime,â reimagined classic childrenâs stories such as âThe Adventures of Pinocchioâ and âAlice in Wonderland.âTheyâre also collaborating on âHalf Past Peculiar,â about a brother and sister who find missing pets and get transported to other dimensions through a grandfather clock.But perhaps more than any book or character, fans associate Nguyen with his signature look, a luminous watercolor style. While many artists apply color digitally, he uses pencil to sketch a piece and then applies watercolor paint to animate the characters and create beautiful, ethereal backdrops.The technique yields a distinctive look, and it enables him to work quickly. Itâs a default. When he uses the computer to color, he finds it hard to choose among all the options. âI just sit there forever: Oh, it looks good like this, it looks good like that. I think most painters can understandâwhen itâs done, itâs done.âOf course, whatâs style without characters and story? Nguyen is likely to contribute to them as well. At the start of a project, heâll spitball ideas with the writer about what heâs interested in drawing.âSometimes it can be very specific; if heâs been working in one genre a lot, heâll like to creatively flip it and do something visually different,â Fridolfs says. âOr maybe he hasnât drawn a certain type of character, or vehicle, or creature that heâs just itching to have fun with. And sometimes heâll come with a story beat or idea for a scene heâd like to include.âItâs fun collaborating with someone as creative as Dustin, because it only fuels my mind imagining things heâll draw, and also gives me spontaneous ideas as we craft it. ⦠And thereâs nothing better than to be surprised when I see the finished art, where Dustin might add some character or funny visual into the background that heâs cooked up, that Iâm seeing for the first time.âNguyen recalls how his collaboration with Lemire on âDescenderâ and âAscenderâ came about. Theyâd known each other for years since both worked for Vertigo, an imprint with DC Comics, and had met frequently at conventions. One day he got a call from the writer: â âLetâs do something together.â Heâs like, âThereâs this story I want to do having to do with kids, and this little boy and robots.â I was like, âDude, I love drawing robots; letâs do this.â It was easy as that.âPublished by Image Comics, the story spins on Tim-21, the child companion robot, and his struggle to survive in a universe where robots are outlawed. The books are filled with androids of all sortsâthe cute dog-like Bandit; Tim-21âs dim but powerful protector, Driller; giant robot invaders called Harvestersâbut Nguyen believes the popularity of the series rests in its believably human drama.âNo matter what the story or setting is, I think âDescenderâ sticks to being about family. Itâs rooted in a very small emotional story, and it doesnât matter how big the backdrop is. I think thatâs what people enjoy about comics. Thatâs what I enjoy about them,â he says.âI was never very big on things that are so epic. I enjoy superhero movies, but sometimes theyâre just too epic. I canât believe the world is going to end if this guy doesnât get this tape to this destination. But something thatâs about family and emotions, that grabs me.âFor example, thereâs a sequence with Andy, the human boy Tim-21 has been programmed to befriend, and Andyâs mother, the chief engineer at the mining colony. When the colony comes under attack and a leak occurs in the mine, she rushes Andy to the launch of the last shuttle. He doesnât realize until the last minute that sheâs staying behind to try to fix the leak and save lives.âItâs sad as hell! You have no idea. I read the scripts, and I go, âOh, Jeff, what are you doing to me? Now I gotta draw this.â âWrenching, for sure, but itâs in service to a good cause. âWe just want to make good books. We never really aim for an audience. Even with âLiâl Gotham,â they wanted to make it a childrenâs book, but Derek and I said, if we want to make it all ages, letâs make it truly all ages where kids can enjoy it and older people can read it and itâll still be entertaining. Letâs just make good books. Thatâs what weâve always aimed for.â Thanks For Reading. Created by Berke Yilmaz

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