Sunday, May 14, 2006

Animation School Lesson 3 - how to check your copies-PROPORTION




All these characters below have the same head construction. Then why do they look like different characters? The proportions of the shapes that make up their heads are different. Slight differences in proportions make a huge difference in the look of something. (They also have different details-ears, hair, etc.)






I've been looking at everybody's copies of the Preston Blair book and I see improvement already in all your work!

Preston is a magician.

Here's a big tip:
When you copy something you want to get is as accurate as you can. You need to train your eye to see mistakes. There's no room for interpretation when you are copying.

Here's a method to easily check your copies. Remember this word: PROPORTION

Part of what makes a character look like who it is, is its proportions. MANY characters can have the same construction, but they have different proportions-like Elmer Fudd and Coal Black and Peter Pan and Pinnochio-all those folks are the exact same construction! -THEY ARE MADE UP OF THE SAME TYPES OF FORMS-A BIG ROUND CRANIUM AND A SMALL BABY JAW.

1) Bring your drawings into Photoshop.
2) Bring Preston's drawings that you copied into the same Photoshop file.
3) Re-size the Preston drawings to match the size of yours.
4) Put the drawings next to each other.
5) Make notes of how your drawing differs from Preston's
6) Make a copy of the Preston drawing and lay it on top of yours on a layer
7) Make the layer transparent so you can see through it to yours.
8) Make more notes on where yours differs from Preston's.
9) Redraw your copy, this time trying to fix the mistakes you found.

This fella's copy is pretty good, so there isn't a lot to correct. Some other artists are less accurate.

WHEN YOU COPY-GET IT AS CLOSE TO ORIGINAL AS YOU CAN!

Keep at it and then come help me change the cartoon world in a few years!

114 comments:

BrandonPierce said...

Is that Mickey Mouse at the bottom, or some bear?

Good lecture, btw.

Evan said...

this is the stuff i had to discover on my own over the years, made simple. everyone should be thanking you constantly.

Ben Williams said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ben Williams said...

Just want to say thank you for these lessons. They’re a huge help. Below are my attempts. Any criticism you could give would be greatly appreciated:

Lessons 1 & 2

Jouleous! said...

Here are my exercises on lessons 1 & 2. Will get to lesson 3 soon! Again, thanks, John!

Lessons 1 & 2

Jason Davis said...

I'm going to print each of these lessons and save them for my kids. They've been practicing on the Preston Blair book lately.

You should have someone combine your full lessons (your typed comments plus the full-sized photos) into easy-to-print ".PDF" files once you're done with each lesson and link to them from the menu at the top of your blog page as "Lesson 1", "Lesson 2", etc.

Thanks, John

Anonymous said...

Wow - we're already on Lesson 3!

Some of us are still trying to get the other two lessons down perfect.

Not that this post isn't greatly appreciated!

Updated LESSON 1

Julián höek said...

hi john!
here is my lesson 1
now i'm going to redraw them using all the tips you gave in other blogs and in your latest lesson. thanks again john 'couse this is a great inspiration for me!!

BrandonPierce said...

All of you guys got scanners, and I don't! I can't post my drawings! I'm so envious, I could just leave skidmarks!

Aar!! said...

Hey man I don't know if I agree with the idea that copying Preston's drawings will make you a better artist overall. Doesn't that take away from originality of style? Perhaps it would help people become better animators, though... Like if you're drawing someone and animating someone else's character. However, didn't Ren and Stimpy change styles depending on the artists?? To me, this entry seems like a big oxymoron and if I didn't know what it was I wanted (originality), I would be confused right now!

tim denee said...

We're learning about masses, proportions, and construction. The style that you put on top of those fundamentals is not the focus here.

Desiree said...

Hey John,
I hope I'm not too late, but i just put up my drawings for lesson 1 and 2.
it should be on my blog or copy this:
http://desiree93.blogspot.com/2006/05/lesson-one.html

Thanks John!! :D:D

Des

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

I love this opportunity to learn from you. I have so many other things to do, like work so I probably won't be producing as much as some of the others. Please keep checking back and know that I'm grateful.
Aim

Aar!! said...

aahhh allright, that makes sense. thanks tim!

crolyss said...

COAL BLACK AND THE SEBEN DWARVES ON GOOGLE VIDEO - - - - - -

check it out!!!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6488478953309613618&q=coal+black

christopher said...

Hey John thanks for the tips! I just put a new batch up from lesson 1 but I'll definitely go back and check the proportion of them now. Thanks again for taking the time to go over this stuff for us!

monkeyfuddle said...

IOU1

Katie said...

Aar!!-
It's not really worth it to even think about style if you don't already have the fundementals of art down, and that's what the Preston Blair book teaches. It teaches important drawing skills, not a style. Knowing perspective and construction doesn't equal "the preston blair style of drawing." All really great artists practice what the book teaches, and it shows in their art regardless of what their style is. Style is important of course, and having more knowledge will only make your style better.

Jeff Milner said...

Lesson 3—Part 1

Any other mistakes that I missed?

Wicks for Candlesticks said...

Thanks for the Photoshop tip. I used it on some of the stuff I was working on. Now to further correct my wrongs.

-David O.

jorge garrido said...

>>You should have someone combine your full lessons (your typed comments plus the full-sized photos) into easy-to-print ".PDF" files once you're done with each lesson and link to them from the menu at the top of your blog page as "Lesson 1", "Lesson 2", etc.

I buy all my PDF files in a store. It's pretty good, they come already printed out and bound for you. wiht covers and everything.

>>Doesn't that take away from originality of style?
Who acrea bout that? I'd rather draw in a generic 40's tyle well than the crappy flat fake 50s/90s style of today.

JohnK said...

NOTE TO JEFF MILNER:

I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but they want to much private information.
Maybe you should change that and you will get more comments.

Good work, by the way!

Roberto González said...

That photoshop tip is pretty interesting, though I am a little slow on this. I have to do some work and I will probably have to stop the lessons during some days, but I will do it when I have time, in fact it's very adictive to copy those characters, when I begin I can't stop.

Incidentallly I especially love the pictures in this last entry.

If you haven't seen it yet, here is most of lesson 1 (I hope it doesn't matter that I added a couple of Tex Avery's wolf from Canemaker's book):

http://elblogderg.blogspot.com/2006/05/dibujos-del-libro-de-preston-blair-1.html

Aar!! said...

Got it, Katie! I did previously already agree with Tim (and I wasn't trying to upset anyone by voicing my opinion) but thank yoouu for explaining in more detail.

JohnK said...

>>That photoshop tip is pretty interesting, though I am a little slow on this. I have to do some work and I will probably have to stop the lessons<<

Hey Roberto,

you can do the same thing with a pad of tracing paper.

John

Art F. said...

Hey John. Thanks for the photoshop tip, I will do that and redraw. Thanks for doing me the honor of using my drawing in your latest post. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

>>To me, this entry seems like a big oxymoron and if I didn't know what it was I wanted (originality), I would be confused right now!<<

Nothing is completely new or original. Everything created will always have a million influences whether you are aware of it or not. If you don't accept and learn from others' creations and accomplishments you aren't entering any new frontiers or creating any room for originality (not that any of these techniques REQUIRE copying any "style" in the first place).

-Dan

JohnK said...

Hi Art,

do you see what you are getting now that you are constructing your characters?

I see a marked improvement.

Your pal,

John

Anonymous said...

I fixed my blog, anyone can add comments now.

Updated LESSON 1

Anonymous said...

Thankyou thankyou thankyou Mr. K. for providing these lessons. I just found them. I'm awed at what you're giving away here.

And... please please please please please keep going with this noble educational project. I haven't got enough spare time right now to follow along, but I've been dying to learn this stuff, and would love to be able to come back in a few months to immerse myself in your jawdroppingly kickass Blair-based old-timey animation course, even if I can't get personal feedback on my efforts.

I'm sure there are many many many people in a situation similar to mine, who, for one reason or another, can't join in right now, but who'd love to be able to study and absorb and benefit from your geniusness in the months and years to come.

I think if you go through the whole book as you've been doing and finish it and keep all the notes online... orders of magnitude more people than are currently accessing the site will stumble across it in the future. Leading to even more of an explosion of thoroughly hireable new classical animators over the next few years.

Or hey... hmm... maybe I can drop one of my jobs and start sketching 3-5 hours a day...

...hmmm...actually... I might be able to do that...

(pauses to mull)

tark said...

hi john, here the second lesson.
as the first lesson (thank you for the tips), i would like to know your opinion about this stuff...

LESSON 2

Joel Bryan said...

Oh! Okay... yeah. Accuracy. If I wasn't getting ready for a big move across the sea I'd have more time for this, but I think it definitely is helping. Learning tons and for that, thanks!

Dan said...

How do I do step 3? "Re-size the Preston drawings to match the size of yours."

Anonymous said...

Ctrl+T will create a strechable border, hold shift and grab the corner to scale it up and down

Kevin W. Martinez said...

Hi Mr. Kricfalusi,

I'm a late-bloomer to this animation course (I only got Mr. Blair's book yesterday). I have started doing lesson One, and while i'm not Preston Blair material yet (I've never been forced to draw like this before), i think i'm closer to reaching the goal of all your students than i've ever been in my almost 2 years of drawing.

Like another one of your posters who posted on the lesson one entry, i also have mild autism (which you said shouldn't affect drawing too much) plus i'm left-handed and non-ambidextrous, which makes drawing like Mr. Blair even more of a stretch for me, but I keep trying, paracticing to progress and get better.

My Lesson one: http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com/ (First Two posts from the top)

I wish everyone the best of luck on this aniamtion course

Anonymous said...

Hey John

It's Jesse. I would like to know where I can buy or order an Animation Board?

Thanks!

your pal,

Jesse

R2K said...

gotta love that sexy black woman.

Anonymous said...

AARGH!!! It's The Mr. Hell Show

Anonymous said...

\:>P

Gabriel said...

Really nice tip: Make an animated gif with your drawing and Preston's! The mistakes will be pretty obvious, in fact so obvious that they'll embarass you, but it's worth it. It's just as if you were flipping between the original and your version. Check how easier your life will get!

David Germain said...

I've been told that inversing the drawing horizontally is also a good way to see any mistakes you've made. I was told that at animation school AND Katie once said it on her blog.

(btw, I haven't even started the eggs yet. <:( I'll start on that tomorrow morning. I ahve to go to work now.)

Rob Gibson said...

Hey John,

Why don't you construct your charicatures? I was thinking it's because you're not worrying about animating the shapes and such, but just quickly trying to capture a person on paper.

I use constrution so much when I draw that I have a hard time blindly going for it straight ahead. The stuff you showed us a while back that Marlo does is genius to me, because I'd have to sit there and "construct" a drawing that she does with a marker straight away.

-Rob

The Butcher said...

Hello John! Here's my first attempt. I'm still on lesson 1. I'm a bit rusty at drawing cartoons and I can already see many inconsistancies, but here it is anyways.
http://boneyardartistseltie.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
Eric

Michael Amos said...

This is GREAT stuff John - so good to see you pushing this. Listen to HIM kids - this is the BEST way to learn. Practice like crazy - draw these simple constructions over and over. I remember pausing the TV and sticking paper to the screen to trace the warner brothers characters!

And Eddie, hurry up and get a blog, I LOVED your worm short and would be great to see what you are doing now.

Jeremy said...

Thanks John, it's really generous of you to put these lessons together and comment on work. Here's mine so far:
Lesson 1

Jeremy said...

Give that a another try:
Lesson 1

cableclair said...

wiee yes! That makes the mistakes pretty obvious! And the thrill pretty high if it does get close.

Cool to read about the mirror tip. I've always done that since I was growing up, somehow I figured out that if it looked okay when I held it up in the mirror, the proportions were good. Made sense somehow. Still does.

I compared some of mine in photoshop:

http://www.claartjevanswaaij.com/sketchbook.html And I'll add lesson 2 results today hopefully...

CraigD said...

I blew the dust off of my $2.00 copy of the Blair book this past weekend and started in on the inside cover lessons. EGADS! Proprations? Accurate copies? I can't even draw a decent oval!!!! I'll keep on tryin' and once I get a blog set up I'll post the uber-embarassing results.

Heath said...

Good insights!

Duck Dodgers said...

John,

when you'll re-start to post about your work at Spumco?

I love the posts that you are doing now, but I'm also a great Spumco fan...I'd love to see more beautiful Spumco girls and I'd love to know more about the future antics of George, Jimmy, Sody, The Catholic School Girls and He-Hog.


Why you do not release the ending chapters of "George Liquor" and "Weekedn Pussy Hunt"?...I'm sorry that they were left unfinished.
On one of your comicboks there's the plot of the supposed ending of the "Babysiting the Idiot" multi-part webseries.
There's material for at least other 3 episodes!!

Ryan G. said...

John, keep up the lessons... Your guidence is priceless

Clarke (Csnyde) said...

Thanks for being so generous with your time and expertise John. I find these current bits of insoght in regard to proper proportions to be especially helpful.

Here's some of my lowly exercises from lesson one...

$100K New Construction for $8: Lesson One (first pass)

Jason Davis said...

Jorge Garrido said (like a smartass):

"I buy all my PDF files in a store. It's pretty good, they come already printed out and bound for you. wiht covers and everything."

John already said he didn't want to publish these lessons in a book, but he'd rather post them online. My point was, once his lessons are complete, he should have someone convert his postings into .PDF's and link to them by lesson, so you could easily save and print them.

I understand the concept of "books".

KenM said...

Hi, John.

Here's some more work from Lesson 1. As a few others are doing, I'm taking things slow in order to try and get as accurate results as possible. Any tips you might offer would be highly appreciated.

Leafy Snout said...

For those with an affinity for egg and animal heads, I have expanded my collection:

http://leafysnout.blogspot.com

kittens with chainsaws said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dennis said...

I haven't made it past Lesson One yet. But I liked the tip about using Photoshop (or tracing paper). So I gave it a try ... it helped a lot!

Lesson One, cont'd

Dwaer said...

Hey John, here's my homework :)

Lesson 2

Kevin Langley said...

Great idea about checking our drawings against the book's using photoshop. That's defintely going to help me develop a more analytical eye.

benj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
craigd said...

I've posted the first two sheets of my attempt to follow the lesson one requirements. Much work to be done! The link is embedded in my use id because I can't figure out the html coding needed for the message post.

Marc Deckter said...

Lesson 1 - CONSTRUCTION - The Head

Joel Bryan said...

In between bouts of packing and throwing out my accumulated crap, I did some more crap, this time with Photoshop overlays and commentary!

I didn't realize how "off" I really was until I tried this!

Inaccuracies abound!

polanimation said...

I posted some new drawings on my blog, and some Photoshop comparisons:
Lesson 1, part 3

Eric C. said...

Cool John. Thank you for taking you own free time to give us lessons. I'm going to print them out and look over them when I have my study hall tomarrow.

Though, I'm looking at different Animation software. I heard that there's going to be software by Spumco ?

_Eric :)

Roberto González said...

I work on a weekly comic strip for a diary and I think this week I have improved thanks to Mr. Blair and John. Perhaps it's just my interpretation and it didn't have relation with it, after all I used construction before, but it seemed like the faces and poses came up a little more cartoony today...

benj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KenM said...

Off-topic, I know, but...

John, you may or may not get a kick out of this. I just posted a few of my son's drawings on my blog. He came up with these characters while watching The Ripping Friends, so you inspired them. Just thought I'd share.

S.G.A said...

What are your thoughts on tracing it over and over, Practice makes permanent?

Anonymous said...

PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC
PRACTICE PLASTIC

tark said...

here my third lesson, wow there were many things to correct! :/

LESSON 3

Alicia said...

John, do you have any tricks for making things in proportion? Things like visual measurements, guidelines, anything that you've found helpful over time that you figured out yourself.

Matt Greenwood said...

I had a go:
http://mattworldnews.blogspot.com/2006/05/preston-blair-animation-lessons.html

I'm not sure if I'm on the right track, though.

Gabriel said...

John, do you have any tricks for making things in proportion?

Good question, that's where i messed up too. Mine, just in case.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan said...

My blog won't let me upload photoshop images. Anyway, here is my latest drawing.

Dr.Awkward said...

Did you ever notice most of these shows (Simpsons, FG, SP,etc.) take place in the suburbs? I almost NEVER see one in any other setting. Why don't these guys try something NEW for a change, like on a FARM, or perhaps in the CITY? And does it have ANYTHING to do with, umm, I dunno... POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?!?

Juggs said...

Alrighty, I've gotten my blog going. I'm a little behind, but feel free to come check it out!

http://justinweber.blogspot.com

David Germain said...

Did you ever notice most of these shows (Simpsons, FG, SP,etc.) take place in the suburbs?

Y'see, the people at FOX are silly. The Simpsons is a successful animated show about a middle-to-low class family. Therefore, in their minds, the ONLY successful animated shows will be about middle-to-low class families. That's why Futurama was treated so unfairly by FOX. It didn't fit with what they had within their stupidly narrow minds.

Oh, and DRAWING EGGS SUCKS!!! >:(

Adam B said...

Hey everybody,Is there somewhere online where you can buy the original edition of the Preston Blair book? And where online can you buy good copies of ALL Bob Clampett's Warner Bros cartoons? (I got the Looney Tunes Golden Collection 1-3 but there is mostly Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones cartoons on it).

Stephen Worth said...

I just updated the Students Blogroll at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Blog. Please make sure your assignments are posted there, so it's easier for John to find them.

Lesson One: Construction- The Head
Lesson Two: Squash & Stretch- The Head
Lesson Three: Proportions-Checking Your Work

If your blog posts aren't listed there, or if I have listed them on the wrong page, please email me at sworth@animationarchive.org and I will add you to the list.

Have fun!
Stephen Worth
Director
ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive
http://www.animationarchive.org

Stephen Worth said...

Adam B

The original edition of the Preston Blair book is very difficult to find. It is so similar to the 1949 version, you need to make sure it's the right one before you buy it. I don't know of any for sale right now, but you can download the high resolution scans on the ASIFA-Hollywood site and burn them onto a disk and take them to an instant print place and have them print them out to 11x17. I know a few people who have done this and they look great.

See ya
Steve

tark said...

john! thank you for adding my drawings into your 3rd lesson entry, i'm honoured!

(and pardon-me my bad english)

Luke said...

This is going to sound lazy of me probably, but I have just discovered this course.. and it sounds like some crazy dream come true for me. Problem being I'm 3 lessons behind already AND there's no possible way I could dedicate myself to any time consuming work on it as I'm currently being forced to put in a months solid revision to get through my a-levels.

I'm gonna get the preston blair book and save all these lessons.

Just wondering, if I put the work in, do I have as much of a chance at refining my skills if I do it later in my own time, or am I missing a huge oppurtunity to do it with all you guys as it progresses?

Anonymous said...

All this talk about "eggs" makes me hungry!

Craig D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craig D said...

I publish a little skreed , here about re-learning stuff. FWIW.

AtomicLobo said...

Hi John,
Thank you for the lessons. I'm slowly catching up.
Lesson One

benj said...

Here's my attempts at lesson 3.

Any critiques are welcome...

Thanks.
Benjamin

Adam B said...

To Steve Worth,Thank you very muchly for the info

Dave_the_Turnip said...

I've been busy this week but finally completed what i call part 1 of lesson 3. It can be found here.

Dave_the_Turnip said...

Page 2 is done. It can be seen here.

Also, i enabled comments for all so feel free to leave some feedback. :)

Andy Seredy said...

Hi John,

Here is my lesson 3. I still have a tone to do to lesson 2 still, but I thought it would help me to check my lesson 1 and 2 drawings this way.

Lesson 3

Thanks,
andy

Dave_the_Turnip said...

Last part of lesson 3 can be found here.

Onto lesson 4!

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Lee said...

Better late than never ... I've finally made my way to Lesson Three!

Thanks so much for this course! It's really motivating to see other people's assignments and to foster this sense of community!

Paul said...

I've now made a start on this lesson. Here is my attempt for you to have a look at!

http://www.whippey.org.uk/?p=108

Thanks!

Paul.

Paul said...

I've redrawn the characters from part 2 of lesson 1. They are here if you want to have a look at them!

http://www.whippey.org.uk/?p=124

I still seem to be making the same mistakes. But I'll keep redrawing them until I fix that!

Thanks!

Paul

Nick A said...

I've done about 8 drawings with overlays so far (link). Still got to do five of the squash and strech dog ;)

John said...

Here's my lesson 3 comparisons:

http://paintthemeggs.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/johnk-curriculum-lesson-3-2/

Just need to redraw them more accuratly and then I'll post again.

John said...

Hi John,

I've done a few more drawings for lesson 1 & 3:

more lesson 1 and 3

I'm trying to catch up with everyone!

John

MistahB said...

Hey John, here's a link to my blog site if you want to check it out. http://burgerboxdesign.blogspot.com/

paul said...

John, you're crazy! What if the student doesn't have Photoshop and has to measure the proportions himself?
It's easy: First you have rough out the subject with a pencil, then you measure the proportions of the structure followed by its details. Trust me on that.

David said...

Hi John
Ive started doing some drawings for Lesson 3

http://myartfrenzy.blogspot.com/search/label/Lesson%203

Still working through these lessons so take look at my blog and leave a comment when you have time

paul said...

Does this course allow you to put up drawings into Photoshop Elements?

-PC

Louis said...

Hi John,

I've been doing these lessons for a few weeks and I'm wondering, it may be a silly question, but are we "allowed" to fix our drawings with the light box ?

I love your blog and thoughts by the way. I'll post my drawings when I am a little more confident ;)

Cheers,

Louis

Scott Cardona said...

Not sure if your still giving advice but Ive been practicing.

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/428448_376598319066464_1996327769_n.jpg


Im not sure if the action lines are correct. Those are kind of tough for me. The drawings are kinda of rough but I like the challenge of trying to draw in flash.

any crits would be awesome

also I didnt trace the drawings I broke them down to basic construction lines from the original model and worked from their.

Thanks john!

Bobby C. said...

Hi, John!

I just recently found your posts for the Preston Blair curriculum, THANK YOU!!

What I am wondering is, did the artists or animators that animated these characters have to constantly measure? I'm just finding it hard to just look at the sheets and mimic the same as the shapes and other proportions exactly to a point. I guess what it is I'm saying is if so, being that exactly is what i am aiming for, what ways of measuring do you prefer? using a pencil as a means of measuring while drawing or after I am finished with the drawing so it's 100% "eye-balling" and observation?



thanks again,

Bobby

islandheroes said...

Here are scans of lesson 3 and some sketches of the proportion examples you gave. Thanks.

Lesson 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/79831776@N07/

-Rob

Connor Leahy said...

For what it's worth, here's my art blog.

http://fakegeekguy.tumblr.com/tagged/animation-school