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Influence Map



Thought I'd make one of these influence maps I've seen everywhere, and try to determine what has shaped my art and my plotting throughout the years.


Note: All pictures in this map are © their original creators.


...Seeing that this is all other peoples' artwork, you wouldn't think cobbling together one of these would take more than an hour or so, right?

HAH! Mine is a sarcastic laugh.
Finding, cropping, resizing, arranging it all in a pleasing manner (and since it's me I had to order it in some other way too: top-to-bottom, for example, roughly follows the timeline of my exposure to the media) - AND writing proper descriptions of it all - took me basically a whole day.


I feel slightly guilty for not following the instructions precisely, forsaking the 3x3 box, but... So many different things to cram into so little space...



1. Disney and animated movies in general formed my first impressions of what cartoon characters should look like.

2. Peter Madsen's Valhalla books were a delight when I was a kid. Good story, good graphics - and it takes a legend and makes it into its own thing.
To this day, this is the way I picture the old Nordic gods to look like - which would probably annoy the actual Heimdall to no end...
For some reason there seems to be no official translation to English, though there are in a dozen other languages. Weird, because it's pretty awesome. My favourite in the series is #7: "The Serpent in the Abyss".

3. Franco-Belgian comics were a big part of my reading material as a kid. Lucky Luke, Asterix, Spirou - and especially Gaston (picture by Franquin). Good stuff.

4. Sluggy Freelance, by Pete Abrams. One of the first webcomics I read.
"OMG you can actually live off making this kinda stuff?!"

5. Thieves & Kings, by Mark Oakley. Properly epic stuff, with a genuine fairy-tale feel to it. Actually, that's a good word for the entire comic: genuine.
Also: "Hey, this guy freely mixes prose with comics! Maybe... maybe there's no actual rules you have to follow, and you can do what fits best for any given situation..."

6. Diana Wynne Jones: one of my favourite writers growing up. The stories are dear to my heart to this day.
(No, I did not enjoy the Ghibli movie.)
Picture from the Chrestomanci series.

7. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Excellent humor and exquisite phrasing. The picture is taken from the comic adaptation (by John Carnell & Steve Leialoha), which isn't bad, either. My benchmark for humor, until:

8. Terry Pratchett. My favourite writer, period. The way he writes fantasy and fills it with people who behave like people would actually do... His style probably echoes through all of my works. And if not, it should.

9. When I first read Yuko Ota's "Fallen", I thought: "this is it. THIS is what my drawings will look like when my style matures into something worth looking at!"
Interestingly, I don't have the same feeling looking at what she does nowadays. Well, that's Evolution for you.

10. K. T. Andersson. Silly and slightly perverted (FYI, "K.T." in Swedish gets pronounced similarly to "horny"), this artist's work nevertheless strikes a chord with me. (Probably NSFW link)

11. Jeff Smith's Bone. Fun, with exquisite timing, mixing with an epic fantasy storyline. Good times, good times.

12. Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Wow. Wow is all I can say. My current benchmark for how integration of legends and worlds into a coherent whole should be done.
Also, together with the RPG Nobilis, it gave me ideas for world-building, which may someday show in the comic.

13. Nodwick was and is one of my role models when crafting GA. Aaron Williams makes fun of clichés in a wonderfully witty way (Nodwick: RPG tropes, PS238: Superheroes, FFN for gamer humor in general). At the same time as he's exposing clichés, though, he also delivers a fun story. As does:

14. Empowered, by Adam Warren. Deconstructing and reconstructing the superhero genre - and the damsel-in-distress cliché, while he's at it - and doing it with that GORGEOUS pencil artwork of his...
The main reason I adore Empowered, though, is that the characters are people first and superheroes second. You get to really know Emp & crew, following them as they fix cars, discuss TV shows, get inebriated... Like with Pratchett, they are real people in a crazy world.

15. Girl Genius, by Phil and Kaja Foglio. More excellent artwork - I gained a level in Artistry directly on reading GG#1 - and more delicious fun.
Reading Webcomics like Girl Genius, Narbonic, Casey and Andy, Supermegatopia, and A Miracle of Science made me realize that no, what I really wanted to be in life was a MAD scientist.

16. Daniel Lieske's artwork is gorgeous, I feel like I'm learning stuff about backgrounds and composition just by reading his comic, the Wormworld Saga.

17. Homestuck. Wow. The sheer scope of the plot, the humor, the callbacks, the entirely new vocabulary and concepts you learn going through it... This is how to properly blow someone's mind away.
Title Screen
Slightly spoiler-y trailer
(Awesome album image by Alexandra Douglass)

18. Dresden Codak. More excellent art, more good plotting, and more Mad Science. Aaron Diaz also plays around with the presentation of the comic; the elements and composition, in a way that I enjoy.

19. Avatar: the Last Airbender. The perfect balance of silly and story, according to my tastes. (Actually, Korra is a bit lacking in fun stuff i.m.o.)
If there's any animation team I would trust to adapt my comic properly, this one would probably be it.
Picture of my favourite character, King Bumi. Man, I must have watched "The King of Omashu" at least 5 times by now.
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© 2012 - 2023 Elyandarin
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souletyler's avatar

What are your favorite extremely underrated animators and cartoonists that deserve more attention and love.