This panel comes from Winter Sea part 2, page 1, panel 1, collected in IDW’s Winterworld collection by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino (I think; the scan is cropped from the original at comicartfans.com, not taken from the book, so that information may be slightly off). In his sadly short career, Jorge Zaffino became one of my all-time favorite artists. Don’t be surprised to see more of his work appear on this blog. This panel demonstrates several of the traits that make his artwork appeal to me.
First, I adore Zaffino’s finely-textured, “scratchy” ink work. The way he creates shading and depth through the use of a bajillion tiny lines amazes me. Here it appears that he’s employed this technique not only with black lines on the white board, but also with white lines over the black ink. I’ve heard it said that every line you add to a face makes the character look that much older. Well Zaffino certainly bucks that trend, or this character would look a thousand years old. He looks rough, no question, but still has the face of a man in his twenties or thirties.
While Zaffino’s shading stands out, he also clearly knows how to use highlights well. The character’s left eyelid, nose, and bottom lip fall to stark white, which not only shows the direction of the light, but also its intensity. This is espeically appropriate for a world cast in eternal winter, where reflections from the snow make the sunlight that much brighter.
Finally, the element of Zaffino’s art that often grabs me is his depiction of eyes. No one draws more piercing eyes than Jorge Zaffino. I don’t feel as if this character is looking toward me; he’s looking at me. I can’t help but be engaged by the story, because the mesmerizing artwork makes me feel as if I’m a part of it. What more could you ask for as a reader?