Art style

What Alex Ross’ art style gave to the comics and to us

If you’ve spent more than a little time loving the comics, there’s a good chance you’ve not only encountered Alex Ross’ work, but you’ve also really considered pinning it on your wall. Ross has been working on comics since 1994, and his covers and illustrations are some of the most recognizable and impressive. What defines the artistic style of Alex Ross is the pose and action that is akin to that of David Perez and the artistry and depth of Giorgio Vasari, a Renaissance painter who never did not have a turtle to his name.

What made Alex Ross unique throughout his long career in comics is a stunning realistic style, hand painted and capturing the movement, emotion and gravity of a scene like very few ‘others can. It’s the difference between seeing Spider-Man battling all of his greatest enemies and feeling it. Ross gives us the gift of stress and tension that makes playing a win so much more rewarding. Although his paintings appear in Marvel and DC comics, they aren’t limited to that.

Alex Ross style without heroes

In 1990 Alex Ross started working on an issue of the Terminator comic: Terminator: The Scorching Earth. Since then, he has painted works for characters and stories that may seem surprising but are nonetheless absolutely enhanced by his work with them.

Alex Ross is known to paint using Gouache and Wash paints, both of which are slightly similar to watercolor, only Gouache is more opaque and Wash is less. The effect of both is layers of color that don’t have clear brush strokes. We have an image that is both stylized and extremely realistic. Compare that to how we usually see these characters, whether it’s on a big screen or a small page, but in any case, the distance is suddenly removed when you have them seemingly alive in front of you.

Image via Alex Ross Twitter

Ross makes incredible use of color and shade, and beyond that there’s movement or tension. As in this painting of the Wicked Witch of the West and her cohort of flying monkeys (or avian simians, which can be shortened to simians or… avians). We get the chaos of movement behind her as well as the deep, shadowy menacing expressions of her simian gang. And every part of that image and so many other works by Ross feels like it’s on hiatus. As if we were seeing an abnormally fixed set movement, but it is realistic enough to feel that the movement will continue. Look at the witch. She’s about to say something horrible to you and all the little dogs in your immediate vicinity.

Living legends and good feelings

If we were to categorize Alex Ross’ artistic style, we could say that his work tends to have two modes: incredible realism and emotional abstraction. With that realism, we get something that live performances just can’t deliver, and to illustrate that we have to think about kittens. You will probably never see a lion in the wild. They are not the most sociable cats and there are fewer of them than there should be. Seeing a lion in the wild vs. seeing one in a synthetic scenario like a zoo or along a pre-planned path through a reserve is going to be a different experience. Spider-Man, as much as we love him, isn’t real. The movies can do what they can to make it real, but we don’t see it in its natural habitat in the comics where we usually imagine it. Ross gives us the realism of believing that we can see our heroes reborn in front of us without breaking the medium and just having a photo-realistic image of the guy. This is a good thing.

Artistic style of Alex Ross Image via Alex Ross Twitter

Then we have images that use more abstract imagery to convey some of the most powerful and complex emotions that we harbor for the characters that we have loved for so long. Using the kind of imagery and symbolism that we interpret without really thinking about it, Ross gives us sense of the characters we love while making them look absolutely awesome.

Artistic style of Alex Ross Image via Alex Ross Twitter

This image of US Agent and Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson gives us so much in one image with an overlay of an American flag and some of the country’s most iconic buildings in the background. At the same time, this is the story of the Captain America coat, showing 4 of the most prominent people who have worn the shield. Coupled with that is that good, good metonymy of Steve, Sam, and Bucky standing outside the Capitol and the Lincoln and Washington memorials defending things that represent the kind of ideal marble America they are trying to achieve. to reach. And then to their right, John does something similar, but he’s only in front of the flag, which might indicate that he’s basically failed as Captain America because he’s seen the country but not the things. that people themselves have made. Or it was just a spacing thing to make room for Steve’s kickass wings that extend the flag’s red stripes as if it carried the country’s top prospects.

Heroes who frown

It’s one thing to see Superman in a comic and know his history and the power he represents in this world, but with Ross you can absolutely feel it. In an interview, he noted that his characters tend to look like a little older because it aims to represent the years of weight they’ve carried on their shoulders, and there’s something about seeing a superhero without the distractions of an idealized body to make you think a little more of the character him -same. Superman, if you only look at power, is functionally a god. Add the worship it receives, and it ceases to be functional. What Ross gives us is this power and gravity contained in a body that is definitely just a guy, and this guy is tired. Ross’s art of Superman is one of his most beloved, and he said he was sad when DC moved away from his old portrayal for a younger reboot. The reason Ross’s Superman is adored is because it’s just him. This is the perfectly captured character. You gain humanized divine power with controlled expression and a sick ass cloak.

Artistic style of Alex Ross Image via Alex Ross Twitter

Another essential part of Alex Ross’s art style is borrowing the likeness of popular portrayals of characters, and he really shines with villains. Batman is a cool character. The dude has a great mask and another cool cape, but his villains are what make his stories shine. What we get then is something like Jack Nicholson’s Joker perfectly translated into a comic book page. Just as we get more life from characters we only saw on the page, we get the page from characters we only saw alive. And once they’re in there, Ross’s job villains are perfectly presented as the overwhelming force that they are.

Artistic style of Alex Ross Image via Alex Ross Twitter

Alex Ross is a comic book industry and has given us some of the most powerful portrayals of the characters we love, and the value of that really can’t be understated. His work walks on that cutting edge of realism and loyalty to the medium, and it has made a body of work that is a treasure to be fantasized about while watching it glued to your wall.

And sometimes when we’ve been good he gives us works of art like this.

Artistic style of Alex Ross Image via Alex Ross on Twitter

What is your favorite painting that Alex Ross did for comics or characters beyond them? Tell us about this and what else you love about the Alex Ross art style in the comments below!

Characteristic image via Alex Ross Twitter

Jessica Kanzler lives with his wife and cats and enjoys obsessively reading fantasy and talking about writing with anyone who won’t run away. Jessica has an MA in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies, and one of her students once said that she “wasn’t cool, but she was clearly trying.”