Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Quest for Appeal

So, I have thrown the metaphorical cyborg ape in to the gears of my drawing technique by entirely changing the origin of energy in my pencil. Sounds complex, yes? Well, too bad, it's not. What I really mean to say is that I started using my whole arm for drawing instead of just drawing from the wrist like I have for most of my life.

It's one of the downfalls of being and idiot and self-taught. I never really used references or studied the techniques of others much as I grew up and so my drawings were based only on my own understanding of drawing. Eventually, my drawings became stale and started to bore me. Thankfully, I woke up one day and started studying the cartoon techniques of some of my favorites (John K., Joe Murray, the old WB and Disney cartoons).

So anyway, using this new technique in combination with different hand grips on the pencil has proven to be challenging to say the least. It's also frustrating to suddenly suck entirely at something you have been doing for a long long time. So without further silliness, here are some humble beginnings... again...

I'll spare you the countless pages of misshapen circles and muscle memory exercises and skip right to the progress. I found that using my whole arm and loose grips give a lot more flow to the lines I draw. On top of that, I tend to use one flowing line instead of that "hairy/sketchy" look I would get from using a tight tripod grip and moving only from the wrist. It also makes drawing big a hell of a lot easier and more practical.

These drawings feel so much more cartoony than most of the drawings I've done in the past. I'm getting a better understanding of expression through these drawings and how the old WB cartoonists started developing their techniques through the 30's and 40's. You might notice that I'm focused mostly on women in these drawings. It's because I'm doing storyboards for my first cartoon and I came to realize that I can't draw cartoon girls to save my life. So I began a quest to start drawing appealing cartoon women. By appeal, I mean pleasing to the eye. With the right cartoon design, you could draw a zombie regurgitating putrid human remains and make it appealing.

Here are a couple of renderings of the character I based off of my friend Rob using the new drawing techniques. I especially like the second drawing. I don't expect that this will replace my design for the character in the cartoon, but it's possible that the design could evolve toward something like this as I improve with technique over time.

The girl in the cartoon is supposed to be pretty pissed off by what our main characters are up to. I was playing around with some angry faces, but it's gonna take some more practice I think as these are all pretty shabby and unappealing.

This is the first design that I really liked and found appealing. This one felt like a step in the right direction and the following were developed from it.

This was my first girly body design which came out a lot better than I expected it too, probably due more to luck than talent. I used a lot of references to come up with this. I like making the hips extra wide because it looks more natural. I like curvaceous girls. The popular thing in Hollywood at the moment is to look like you've been starved in a cage that was left on the beach for 8 weeks and personally, I think it's disgusting. I like a girl with voluptuous curves and a little meat on her body. It's just natural and healthy dammit!


I look at this and immediately notice the hips should be wider. I also wonder if I'm making the heads way too big on all of these drawings, but the appeal remains for me even if I am; it's more so in the last drawing than this one. I was mostly focused on drawing nice, shapely legs in this one, but again, the hips definitely are not wide enough.

Lastly on this topic, I tried my first pose. Once again, it turned out pretty good for not having a good grasp on what I'm doing yet. The legs turned out kinda meh. I'm going to have to do some more referencing for that I think. I like the torso and the head though. Again, I'm wondering if the head is too big, but the hips are supposed to be further away and the head is supposed to be closer. I think the perspective might still be a little funky though. Anyway, I think these have some appeal and the quest shall continue. In the meantime, here are some storyboards from the cartoon!

K: What do you wanna do, Rob?

Good cartooning is hard. I really want all aspects to be entertaining and amusing. Funny writing is great to have, but if the visuals are bland and generic, you've only done half of your job. I didn't really understand any of this until I started reading John K.'s blog and studying the old drawing principles on ASIFA. If you're interested in this stuff, I implore you, check them out for yourself!

That's all for this one! See you next time..