J.DANIEL ABEL - SELECTED DRAWINGS, BOOK I
!J.DANIL ABEL J. Daniel Abel is an odd duck, one of the few serious draftsmen for whom the sketchbook was not only a visual diary but a means by which to consciously embark on a long graphic journey to a place unknown. Abel was rather like his friend of 50 years, William Glen Crooks but not quite. On the surface they had much in common, but at the core they lived on alien worlds.
Abel did not possess the technical gifts of Crooks, but he worked like a slave to acquire at least some of them and this he did. The first half of his book is dedicated to Abel’s conscientious, sometimes fussy early work-ups of faces, figures and assorted old master homework assignments, in an effort to acquire a classical foundation. He never quite got one. Not because he couldn’t, but because something in him just wasn’t at peace with the chilly, generic detachment that conventional classicism demanded. He was always kicking at the seams of perfection until at last he moved along to the next square.
The next square was commercial illustration. There is a gap of several years in this book, roughly between 1983 and 1994 when every mark Abel made was for the thriving pulp press outlets, now all but dead. When he returned to his sketchbooks he’s hardly the same person. More certain, more expressive, less afraid. He had found most his style in riffy little pen drawings that were defined by his projection of character rather than by torturous graphic labor, and he got paid for it.
The studies made for his first Graphic novel “The Last Word” provide a satisfying conclusion this book, but hardly an end to his graphic life.
88 pages - 0ver 100 reproductions - Color