So here is my study of Milt Caniff's eyes (not his real eyes, the eyes he draws). I would like to put the original drawings up, but I don't want to get in trouble for copyright infringement. You can google him or something and see what he does. WARNING: His drawings are racist. I imagine a lot of comics and cartoons from that era were, but they've been lost or censored. For something really racist, read How to Spot a Jap, an instructional comic that he did for a book distributed to the army in 1942. How come that's not in your history text books? ANYWAY... here's my study:
But wait! They aren't all based on Caniff's Steve Canyon strips. I wanted to compare something contemporary. Here's how Phil Jimenez's eyes look (well, kind of);
He always tries to do these looks of terror. Don't get me wrong, he's a great artist, but his faces always look like they've got some kind of botox that prevents them from showing too much emotion. But drawing Caniff eyes made me think of;
Gilbert and Jaime. They use the Caniff trick of hiding the pupils and giving the area around the eye the weight of the emotion. And this was from Love and Rockets 13. Early! They get better and better. I wish I could draw like them... But this is what I learned from doing this. It's not they eye itself, but the area around it that makes it emotional. I mean, it makes sense... the inward slant of anger, the outward slant of sadness, but even without pupils it still works!
Above is my attempt at a Crumb eye. The cross hatching around the eye, again, makes his faces so intense while still being super cartoony. His drawings are beautiful and repulsive to me.
BUT LOOK AT THESE!
You can see the lip under her eyelid! So intense!
Again, no pupil. But the emotion (I hope in my copy) is there.
Taking this out of context, it almost looks like abstract art. I think he used a paintbrush to do most of his inking... maybe I should try it. His work is so mind-blowing to me. Claustrophobic, well-lit, intense panels.