Original Eisner For Sale

By | Saturday, October 13, 2012 Leave a Comment
I see that a page of original Will Eisner art from A Contract with God is going up for auction at the end of this month. I don't know that I've ever seen an original Eisner, so I'm really curious to take a look!
The first thing I noticed was how rough it looked. Eisner's printed work has always struck me as very clean and polished, but looking closely at the original art, you can see there's a lot that got roughed in fairly loosely. There's also a decent amount of white out used -- the woman's face in the second panel looks like it was almost completely covered! It looks like, in most cases, though, Eisner was using the white out as a means to adjust larger areas of spotted blacks, rather than correcting errors. His individual brush lines are very smooth and controlled, so it would seem that his concern was in making sure the blacks didn't weigh too heavily on the art.

Speaking of smooth and controlled brush lines, compare those against his pen marks. Very hastily scratched in place with a very strong sense of urgency. As if they needed to be there, but Eisner really didn't want to be bothered now that he had already laid down all his brush work.

The next thing I caught was actually up in the description: "This moody page from the title story was drawn on vellum and then taped to a sheet of Strathmore paper. It has an image area of 7" x 10", and the art is in Very Good condition."

An image area of 7" x 10". Less than the size of a standard sheet of typing paper. This was in 1978 when comics were generally drawn at around 150% of what they would get printed at, and Eisner is working almost at 100%. The current edition on Amazon right now is, in fact, 7" x 10"! No room to hide your errors there!

As always, I find it fascinating to examine a master cartoonist's work in detail, and there's almost always something to learn from studying their work habits via their finished originals. Bidding for this piece begins at the end of the month and runs through mid-November.
Newer Post Older Post Home