It’s been a great time for artist books in our house. No sooner had I finished digesting and enjoying the P. Craig Russell one than this equally impressive coffee-table art book arrived focused on another of my favorite comics artists. I’ve been a fan of Steve’s work since first seeing it in Nexus #3 in the early 80s. I’ve had the pleasure of lettering a small amount of Steve’s work over the years, and that increased my love of it even more, as his pencils are, if anything, even more solid and impressive than the finished work.
The main focus of this book, though is Steve’s wonderful paintings and color work in a variety of mediums. He’s been doing painted covers for most of the comics he’s produced since the beginning, and his skills as a painter are even more impressive than those as a comics penciller and inker. This book is a terrific exploration of Steve’s working methods, influences, ideas and opinions about his own work and art in general. Steve’s personality comes through on every page, just as his artistic genius does. Like the Russell book, this one is a fabulous learning tool for anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps, with everything from how-to’s to examples from his sketchbooks.
Steve’s commitment to his work is total. Look at the work he’s put into the lettering and logo on this one, when he could have had someone like me do it. Let me assure you, it could never have come out as well as this piece if he had. Steve is another of those creators who I’m nervous working for, as I know he could probably do most of what I do better himself.
And there’s plenty more in this generous tome than just comics, like this wonderful pastel based on a 1954 magazine illustration by one of Steve’s artistic heroes. Everything from figure studies to anatomy diagrams to giant murals, in all sorts of mediums, and every one Steve seems able to conquer. Not always easily, as the text describes, but with dogged determination until he achieves what he wants to see.
This book is a treasure. If you love great comics art, and great art in general, you’ll be delighted with it.