In his home at 30 Staple Street in Kingston, Paul Abrams conducts classes to teach budding artists and comic-book aficionados how to draw their favorite characters. “Basically I take people, step by step, through the process of drawing a figure – usually a superhero,” he explains. “Depending on the group, we might talk about setting up a panel in a comic strip. In my own work for comic-book companies, I do a lot of game cards and fantasy art, right out of my imagination. But I also know all the rules of proportion and perspective. I take my students through drawing male and female figures, and how to put two figures together in the same scene.”
Abrams has been drawing all his life, and began his career as a professional illustrator and art instructor in 1978. “I was kind of young at the time,” he admits, but adds that he’d also taught painting at a store in New Paltz before finishing grad school. He contributed work to many of the major comic-book giants for more than 25 years – “I got into it because I like to draw, and I wanted a job where I could draw all the time” – until that industry imploded in the late ‘90s, at which time he returned to painting mystical still-lifes and moody landscapes. His exquisite oils have been shown at fine arts galleries throughout the Northeast.
While he continues to teach painting – most recently at the Woodstock School of Art – Abrams has a passion for comic-book characters. “If you’re drawing comics, you have to know how to draw everything. I have students from age 10 and up. I’ve got a couple of guys who are in their 30s. I plan to split the group to have the adults in their own class, and teens and under in their own class.” Interested parties should note that he has had some students for as long as ten years – at least one who started when he was only eight years old.
While his own career has expanded to include learning digital drawing and painting techniques, Abrams rightfully emphasizes the basics with his students, one of whom has gone on to become a professional in the field. He says that the Internet is a great resource for visual information, but bemoans the turn that the industry has taken. “The company I’m doing work for now doesn’t even have an inker. It’s all digitally colored. And I used to get free paper from comic-book companies. Nobody gives you paper anymore.” Consequently, students are responsible for bringing their own pencils, an eraser and paper, which can be any type from printer paper to artists’ sketchpads.
Classes are held in the evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. and cost $10 per class per person. Currently, Abrams has a class that meets on Thursdays, which people are welcome to drop into to check it out. He’s also putting together a new class for Tuesday evenings.
For information about classes and directions, contact Paul Abrams at (845) 331-3755 or e-mail him at [email protected] Landscape and still-life paintings done by Abrams can be viewed at the Mark Gruber Gallery in New Paltz and at www.paulabrams.com.