Modern Masters: Chris Sprouse
I’m still waiting for TwoMorrows to deem a woman worthy of inclusion in their Modern Masters line of interview books, but in the meantime, I’ll enjoy this Chris Sprouse volume, co-written by our friend Todd Dezago. (The other writer is nice guy Eric Nolen-Weathington.)
I find Sprouse’s clean art lovely in its simplicity, and he works incredibly hard to achieve that appearance. As with the other Modern Masters books, the text is a lengthy interview in which the subject talks about his life and work, how he got into the field, key points in his career, and his love of comics. It’s accompanied by all kinds of art samples, including early and rare work, such as pieces for his high school paper and summer jobs. Plus, there are sketches, character designs, and page layouts.
They did a nice job actually connecting the images to what’s being talked about in the text. I’ve had problems with some of the company’s magazines before, talking about things that they never show, but that’s not the case here. I say “they” because I don’t know whether to credit authors, editor, or someone else, but whoever’s responsible, thank you. Nice caption job, too, providing full identification so I’m not guessing at what an image is or where it’s from.
I also appreciated “hearing” Sprouse address the struggles he’s had, his learning curve, and his issues with perfectionism and how it affects a work schedule. He comments briefly on many of his co-workers, but the part that really struck a chord with me was when he talks about emotional impact, how looking back at certain pages reminds him of major changes in his life going on when he drew them, and how difficult it can be to keep enthusiasm going after a while.
Sprouse also walks through the full creation of a page from Ocean before the book switches to pure art gallery, including a short color section of full-page images. I’d forgotten just how much I loved his work on Legionnaires, around the time I first began reading the series. I really enjoyed this volume, going over his career and understanding better what makes Chris Sprouse the talented artist he is.