Sunday, June 1, 2014

Small Drawings (2012) by Dustin Harbin

Illustrated by Dustin Harbin
Self-Published

Long time Panel Patter readers know that I am a big fan of Dustin Harbin's, and he's one of the few creators I've actually bought a print from (several, actually).

So it wasn't much of a stretch for me to pick up Small Drawings (2012), a collection of various drawings Harbin did as part of his regular practice work. They're every bit as good as you'd imagine them to be, and I'm happy to see he made another collection, which I need to grab next chance I get.

For this edition, Harbin opens with a cover recreation and then wanders wherever his mood and artistic must take him. That means we get everything from celebrity shots (many appear in a small, montage-style section) to an Addam's Family tribute to silly things like the Joker swiping Batman's bike with his car.

Completed in Harbin's signature style, full of tiny, thin lines that come together to make up an intricately constructed whole, the book is full of gems. Several are now prints, such as the Batman riding a Bat-Rex (shown in the example to the right) or a writer on top of a book case (my personal favorite). Even at this smaller size, however, readers can linger over the linework and marvel at how even a relatively ordinary subject (like a Medieval village on top of a hill) can be given more power by contrasting it with a man trapped below it against the rocks and the unforgiving sea.

Harbin's sense of humor shines through in many of the choices, like Magneto sending Wolverine in the air or Lincoln and Washington as Siamese Twins. In other cases, it's pure nature drawing, like sea creatures or deer.

Put all together, it makes for a sketchbook that holds up upon re-examination. I don't get many of these books because they often have very little "repeat value" as it were. Small Drawings, however, is one of those little things you pick up at a show and want to let others examine to find their own favorites. It's also a great way to introduce yourself to Harbin's art. I'm betting you'll be back for more after you do.

Small Drawings is available directly from Dustin at his website.

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