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Artist Profile: Rob Liefeld (Self-Confidence vs. Skill)

Portrayal of 'Shaft'(Marvel Comics character) by Rob Liefeld.

As both a successful writer and artist, Rob Liefeld is something of an anomaly in western comic books. Although it is not uncommon for artists to try their hand at writing, being successful at both is rare. Many artists, once they’ve made a name for themselves with their art and have some money to spare, attempt to write their own comic books and the results are rarely successful. Rob Liefeld is the exception, with many Marvel credits to his name, including Deadpool, Cable, New Mutants, and X-Force.

What makes this all the more inexplicable is that Rob Liefeld is, in the estimation of many, a terrible artist, and his stories are not particularly insightful. Almost every facial expression he draws is some kind of grimace, giving the impression that all his characters are constantly constipated. A lot of the anatomy is questionable. His swords are bendy. He doesn't believe in erasers. He can’t draw feet or shoes. Dogpool’s knees bend the wrong way.

Liefeld makes up for it all through sheer enthusiasm. His artistic skills might be lacking, but his self-confidence is legendary. He might not understand how anatomy works, but that does not prevent him from drawing a broken knee as if it’s supposed to bend that way. Deadpool’s nose mysteriously disappears when he puts on his costume, but in Liefeld’s world it’s supposed to look that way!

It takes an incredible amount of self-confidence for an artist to create something so ridiculous and get away with it. Most people would hide their head in shame rather than publicly display something like this, but Rob Liefeld obviously loves his craft and doesn't care what anyone thinks.

I think if a lesson can be derived from the artwork of Rob Liefeld, it is that self-confidence and enthusiasm are often more important than skill or technical proficiency.

Liefeld also has a sense of humour. When people started criticizing him for never drawing feet, he began to feature feet prominently in his artwork. They were horribly drawn, but at least no one could criticize him anymore! Using forced perspective, he started drawing people so that their feet appeared to be as large or larger than the entire rest of their body.


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