Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Like Lions Too

Is it digital or real watercolor and pencil??!!
We just got back from vacation yesterday. We were in Maui for a week. I took Patty's laptop and so managed to post a couple of comments from the hotel.


Mr Goodson said...

my guess, a real pencil and real watercolor.
Great color. Nice mass on that lion. A comic book with that look. Someday.

Tom Moon said...

I was thinking the same thing about utilizing that style for my comic. By the way, which of you know Stephen Silver? I'm thinking about taking his online course. Anyone's name I can drop?

rickart said...

I'm with Ellis... I think that this is real watercolor.

I think this is a GREAT style, but I would be interested in knowing what other styles you are considering.

Who is Stephen Silver?

Mr Goodson said...

I think you would like the Stephen Silver course. I took his course when I lived in Simi Valley. He might remember me. In fact I might be the reason he no longer teaches classes in his Simi Valley home.

I could publish my notes from that class in a long comment. Rick, he's one of the most highly regarded of character design artists. Great blog and about three great books.

Here's those notes. Worlds longest comment...
Silver Notes

Figure drawing exercise
Study photo or figure then draw from the pose and then draw the same thing without looking at the model.

The main , big rule is to go from the general to the specific. Make the General, thumbnail stage have appeal first, the specific will the stand a chance of the appeal surviving

Break out of Art Blocks by doing! Draw something from a book or a video.

Draw all the Hands in the hand out (exercise)

Try Mars Stadler Brush Pens.

Character Design = Casting
Why movies have appeal, Great Casts.

Post It Note drawing is a great way to force thumbnails first.

Look for the figure eight, both in the bodies and heads. The figure eight will force flow and gesture to work and suggest appeal with balance.

The figure eight refers to shapes with a flow gesture continuity like the number eight.

Fairburn System of Ref- Copies still available on Ebay and on it's own web site.

Refers to reference books of actors in costume doing a lot of expressions.

Flip or mirror drawings to detect flaws.

What put Silver on map as a charcter designer?

Started as a caricaturist

Don't hide the hands or feet in the pose

High School yearbooks are great Photo ref inspiration books. (get a couple of contemorary ones.)

For head shot ref there is the Academy directory in Burbank.

Reference = Stronger Drawings

Hank Ketcham and Norman Rockwell were both nuts about Reference

Big Fave is Hirshfeld.
Hirschfeld inspired Aladins design. Disneys approach was to find a great stylist to base the film theme / look.

French Comic Books great for styling work to study

Do some distorted Drucker study. I starred this comment.

Refers to copying some Mort Drucker but putting some distortion into it

Class goal, do a turn around of our character design.

Front 3/4 is the most important angle of a turn around.

5 point or 4 point turn arounds the most common.. Silver will direct us charcter design through the charcter design to this turn around.

Another great ref idea , coffee table Hollywood books like his 50 years of TV.

Create a Character that fits into an old historical cartoon show ( your own Flinstones, etc)

Everyone's biggest enemy THE LADDER. Equi division in faces and bodies. Avoid straight uniform and even grids for features and proportions.

Distort a grid and you've begun caricature and interesting design.

Get the sillohuette pleasing first.

Big against Small, Straight against Curved.

On caricatuure think...
What's the dominant thing about the character. Push contrast in shape and size. Don't do boring equal proportion.

Beware of parallels, another ingedient of boring drawing. try not to put the character in halves....Twinning.

A simple theory for caricaturing age demoed by the concepts of marbles connected by a string. Wide apart no droop on string, a baby. The closer the marbles the more the droop (nose) the more age.

Illustrate this

Think of a snowman to remeber the formula of big against small. Try combos of the most basic of shapes, square, circles, triangle.

Mr Block vs Mr Flow. Mr Flow has a line that connects features with a gestural line. Energy through the drawing that would be there if the drawing were done without picking the pen up from the paper. (an exercise to do) ( I have too much Mr Block)

Scales on a lizard could be boring if they were all the same pitch. Vary big against small.

Contrast the angles- Do tilts

Flows, cross contours that eliminate cutting straight across forms.

Assigned three sillos of a charcter from our hand outs.

Often the first part of a character is the face shape.

First step might be a very orderly study, semi real. But then discard that study and put the features in the confines of squares , circles or triangles to push exaggeration and appeal. Avoid the ladder.

Take a long face character and force his features into a circle. Features like mustaches, droopey eyes, double chins. Think of things like a mustache as a "piece". turn into a shape.

Study other designers, caricaturists work and try and find their reference. Study their decisions.

Dont match shapes and end up with a grid of evenness. Large against small, curve against straight, on of the main design elements of APPEAL.

Animal Fair by Provensen is shown as an example of great appeal. Study a bear face on the whiteboard. Big head, little hat, Big white face, small black eyes. White space is unbalanced in the face to avoid evenness. Very simple looking drawing that is adhereing to these anti-monotony rules of appeal.

Quick sketching of people can bring out this principle of balanced opposites. Impose the principles as you sketch. Large vs Small, Curve vs Straight, No evenness, No twinning. Posing Pushed for sillohuette appeal.

A book called Design Principles is shown as having a lot of gold info.

The skull is said to usually have no squash and stretch. The main globe, the brain case.

Drawing a skull circle with centerlines, Silver finds it easier to place the eye with just the iris vs struggling for an eye shape. Shows the exagerated cheek shape of a cartoon often flows out of the eye level

Also always draw through and around. Think in terms of flow. Use draftsmanship to shoow volume.

The key to good figure work is your skeletal manakin. Know the points of articulation. Easy idea for cartoons , think of a gi joe dolls sockets in the trunk.

Necks are shown to look more natural if they are thin diameter at the skull, thick at the body.

Three main design elements to always be mindful of when drawiing/designing. Use curves and straights (no 1) Rhythm in design, Dark to light (no 2) Contrasty shapes, big and small and types of shape (no 3) A circle with 3 equidistant holes as a face is shown as the unthinking tendency that results in boredom.

Home study suggests a lot of study using and looking for the figure eight. Home study was of the Jetsons where I find examples of all the Appeal basics.

Class expectations copied from the whiteboard in class...

1. design principle pages
2. Trace over pictures
3.Caricture head, 5 types
4. Basic construction..fluidity...form
5. Sketchbook

2. Hands
3. Eyes
4. Fish

What makes things appealing? We know it when we see it.

On the right of the white board the words

Finished Design, Caricature, Lose Stiffness, Draw More, Pushing Shapes / Thinking More, Fluidity , Form

Caricature lecture notes

Pushing shapes and contrasting shapes, main appeal goal

1st priority Head shape, cube, circle, triangle or combo hybrids of

2nd The eyes, factors like close together, far apart (if normal distance, whart can be ppushed) Distance first.
a. Tilts of the eye. The upper lid edge.
b.How much eyelid, Stallone an example of a lot of eyelid.
c. Do you see the whole eye.
Race characteristics- Oriental, lid is covered and the almond shape is formed. Black people also tend toward almond shaping
d. Eye Color
e. Eyebrows, thin, thick, the direction spells attitude often. Mean, surprised etc. How high on the forehead are the eybrows.

3rd The Nose
Is it narrow, wide, long or short. Do you see the nostrils (angle)
Needs connectedness with the eyes

4th.. The Mouth
what to evaluate.
Is it...long short thick thin. Which lip is thicker and thinner.
Ethnicity plays a big role in these feature landmarks. Important measurement, how far is the nose from the mouth. Push if close or far.

Remember that word PUSH. Operative word at all times in caricature

Other ethnic feature notes
Asians, more cheekbones, Black people, smaller ears

5th The Chin
Landmarks , short, long, square, dimpled, pointey

6th Ears
Do they stick out, are they round small etc.

end notes on main feature elements of the face

The measure of feature to feature, relationships, distances are the key to successful caricature.

reinforced the marble and string age example.

Caricature warm up might be a tracing of the skull ball, a centerline, pupil placement, quick breakdown of head shape that flows from the head ball.

Tracing makes you "realize" the shapes. Get the shapes-relationship details into your head.

Demo is done showing a big nose guy with small eyes and this is pushed using these principles and the resemblance worked very well.

The collar often lines up with the mouth line.

Caricatures are for likenesses.

Silver nails the eyes first. Getting all the detail of size angling relationship on the face shape. It makes relating the rest of the parts easier to get this important feature first.

Not a hard and fast rule but he often starts with eyes

For strong character design and appeal go off on iconic shapes.

Squares, Inverted triangles, circles

Vary line in hair shapes as was shown in the lizard scale example.

Note to self to draw some cute girl caricature.

Eye shapes. circles ovals, be true to the eye shape.

Focus eye trick, centerline the eye sphere and place pupil in the same gridded spot in relationship to that line to "focus" the eyes in a strong direction.

Shown a "rule" for the CLERKS characters eyes. Like always complete the circle and the pupil alone under heavy eyelid slash. that sort of "rule." adhered through for a series style guide.

RULES are a good way to construct STYLE. In fact could be a sort of definition of STYLE.

Study other series line ups and discern rules for things like eyes.

Eyelashes feminize a man.

Imagine eyebrow flows into the shape of the eye.

Eyelashes, clump as a solid shape. Pocahontis is shown as a distinct pointey shape style

The darker eggshape goes to the top.

Fish exercise, we trace and study several types of fish and find the common anatomy features that always occur in a fish Then we create our own fish, using the features we know will be there and pushed using the principles of straight vs curved, big to small etc.

This also emphasizes how reference is a big stimulant to the artist and getting ideas

An example of the repition of shapes is shown for style consistency. Using a skinny alligator and a fat alligator that still possess the same eye shapes and same wavey shapes making the snout. Like the fish having a pectoral fin, tail etc.

Hand Lecture.

The differences in the mitten. From the knuckle top side, the line past the knuckles markes the halfway measure of the mitten shape., on the palm side, the knuckle line is pushed toward the fingers allowing for more palm in the mitten shape.

Clerk style hands and very flat, fingernails form flat lines.

Kim Possible style , a rounder nail. More mitteney shape vs flat.

Warner Bros 3 finger style is a clssic to study for style "rules"

Practice hands by looking at ref. Maybe impoise a style restriction on a cartoon version of the referenced hand.

Stay loose, look for carzy stuff in distortion but adhere to the basic split up of the mitten shape.

The front viewed closed fist has a diagonal across the knuckles, descending from the thumb to the little finger side.

Look for strong angles in a hand pose first vs the temptation to start rendering. Get the shape, surround it with an angle, General to the specific/particular again. The pose must appeal early to have appeal after any rendering.

Typically just make the fingers into two sections of shapes. Two sections have more appeal vs getting busy with the 3 sections that are possible but less appealing. Establish the mitten shape first.

Asterix hands are great to study.

French comic book, ASTERIX

Have the forms connect when the hand rests on the hip. ( make a study of hands on hips)

Female hands have more taper. Look for contrast in angles from wrist and knuckle line

Knuckle skin sworll nice cliche symbol. A Mignola fingernail is a triangle. In hellboy.

Hirschfelds Harlem, try and find.

A favorite book of Silver's

Use a line of action through the fingers to unify shapes. A swoosh thru finger, knuckle lines. (appeal, strong, unified shape)

Feet Lecture

Show the feet. Establish a slight down angle to show the top of the feet.

Example drawn of a flat vs a rounded shape foot as a way to stylize. UPA feet are those swoopey, high heeled, pointey toed, very undersized items. Flintstone feet are very rounded and elephantine. That sort of style diffrenece would not blend. Very angley to very rounded.

Note taken about Butch Hartman, Comic Book Project. Does the Fairly Odd Parents. The comic book project is a series proposal.

Personal pitch projects of Silver's

Design notes during the Cintiq show and tell night....Graphic Resources given as a good place for bargain price on Wacom tablets.

Curvey shapes on both dises of figues are montonous. Use straight to one side, curve to the other side. Straight says the line of action, the curve describes the shape/volume.

Tangents. Where points of different elements share x y space. General rule, avoid them. Change the pose or relationships to clear them from a drawing. Weakens Appealing sillohutte.

Drawing example showed eyeball touching side of head, nose touching cheek, knuckle line touching end of the thumb, belt line touching the end of the coat. all easily adjusted to get rid of tangent.

Drucker uses a Crowquill 1950 nib. Try a Mars Stadler Brush thing.

Tool notes

Inking demo, draw quick in intial phase. for Finish ink lines, feather line from thin to thick even though it looks like a single stroke, it is actually a stroke feeding into itself and lengthened and fattened or thinned. Vertical , spinning work surface is recommended.

Turn Around Notes

This is a big deal in establishing a character. The team needs these to animate, set style. It's a big deal lynch pin in cartoon series.

Turn doesn't have to be rock solid same pose and totally consistent or machinelike.

Don't hide data, like the hands. have a very open, exposed pose. Describe info about the character.His dress, posture , attitude.

Nicoley Marlett- best production designer around today. (no work online)

To draw the figure as a turn around, Establish ground plane. Put the heel on the ground plane.Also use as many horizonbntal measure lines as you like, running across from feature to feature. The most important thing is to maintain volumes.

A volume trick is shown for the head. Centerline a head. This is the main volume that has to be consistent for the head. That volume is fairly consentent throughout in most views except the sideview. And there the trick is to use the skull vume as before but take the 3/4 centrline mark and add that much space to the side view skull. Diagrams obviously make this clearer. Amnother sentence straight from notes on this trick "Find center on 3/4 view - slide forward to edge to find volume of the side view.

Rough 3/4 view is the most important character pose.

Dont try to trace up a finish on a turn around.
Do the drawing rough first. Discover it all over. Do the work of a drawing.


Side view placement of the ear. Skull globe divided into quarters, ear butts up to the middle lower quandrant.

Last bit is final class lecture notes. Random thoughts and notes about books and classmates and drills to try.

Bring a grey marker and a brush pen to a figure drawing class sometime.

Write Bear about Silicone Mike Knotts, Check out John Buscema page.

Discuss a seminar for Heavy Iron with silver

Book, get a book called Facial Expessions 20 bucks

Bring your Freedom of Teach Figure to class.

Skull doesn't squash and stretch except in extreme cartooney animation instances.

Do more drawing fom life

Use the side of the pencil to intially block a face in. paint it. Make sure a line of action is in everything you do hence. Big general sweeps.

Get ref and reduce photos to the line of action sweep and a head shape to capture pose in as little line as possible. General, practice the all important General. The specific is what everyone jumps into to too quickly.

Eamples of an artist named Peet and the French guy who did Torpedo for great line of action in figures.

Diagram with simple line of action studies some very successful drawings.

Folds are fabric being formed by crinkling and gravity. What direction and point is the wrinkle being pulled. A fixed point shows the origin of wrinkle.

Study your Hogarth wrinkle book.

Tom Moon said...

Thanks for the notes Ellis!
This is Stephen Silver's web site. Neat stuff I think:

rickart said...

Oh, right! The Kim Possible designer... I saw him at the Con a couple of years ago. Really cool designs!

Tom Moon said...

Rick, For the comic book I'm also considering a very graphic style made with Flash-style vector art (you know how I like that paper cut-out look), or a pencil-rendered style. Or even a combination of all three techniques somehow rolled into one.

rickart said...

Those all sound cool... Flash does some pretty interesting things to drawing... I'd like to see any experiments you come up with in any of those directions.

BTW, I was just accepted as a member of the National Cartoonist Society! Whoo Hoo!

Mr Goodson said...

Congrats Rick. What does membership involve?
What's the perks.

You can get the look of what Flash does to your line art by using the CUT Out filter in photoshop/ Check it out if you never have.

rickart said...

Well, I get the NCS newsletter, access to the NCS bulletin board, the NCS directory and (I suspect) an invitation to their annual convention where they hand out the Ruben awards... oh, and I'm guessing that I get to vote on the Rubens as well.

And bragging rights... ;)

Tom Moon said...

Congratulations Rick,
Well deserved!

Tom Carroll said...

I'm stoked for you, Rick! Congratulations!! I hope this year's Comic Con group includes you (and me!). ;-)