Today on Steve Rude's Facebook page, they've posted a gallery of photos showing the Dude hard at work on his Superman painting for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). As you flip through the photos, you get to see the artist go from blank illustration board almost to completed work.
Steve Rude's ability to block in a well-proportioned, dynamic figure never ceases to amaze me. Of course, that's the result of years of professional work, but also Rude's never-ending learning phase. He's an artist I admire not only for his body of work but also for his approach to art-- you don't freeze at some point and say, "Well, I'm good enough." It seems a lot of young artists look for "style" first and once they've accomplished that-- a series of visual tricks usually copped from whatever artists were hot during their formative phase-- they stop and say, "Now I'm an artist."
And that's a shame. Perhaps in some cases, it's a profitable shame. I can think of a few really big names who got incredibly rich beyond Jack Kirby's wildest imaginings during the 90s by pushing schlock and they're still doing schlock today. But as a young artist why deny yourself the opportunity to grow? Art is a lifelong process. Rude started strong, but he's only gotten better over the years. So he doesn't own Mark McGwire's baseball, and maybe that's a deterrent to some. But I'll take the lifelong art student any day of the week and twice on Sunday.