Ger Apeldoorn is a great resource for rare cartoon art. He collects all the stuff that I would love to have.
http://allthingsger.blogspot.com/2008/08/not-only-did-i-miss-posting-this-week-i.htmlHere's another Kurtzman above. The whole spread is fun, but take a gander at the first splash panel. It uses all the same compositional tools as the last one I dissected for you. He uses elements in the background to frame the characters to make them read clearly - and to look good.
It's the same principle of hierarchy of levels of shapes too.
The whole picture works as a shape, then it is broken into sub-shapes, and these in turn keep getting broken down.
Each sub level follows the form of its larger parent.
Interestingly, Kurtzman, did a knock off of Blondie for awhile and abandoned all his natural instincts.
Kurztman, being so god at life and composition, apparently thought Chic Young's art was still and rubber-stampish, so he abandoned his own natural instincts made his knock off even stiffer!
Here's the real Blondie, which actually had a lot more life to it (and was pretty funny too!)
This comic below is a different style than Kurtzman, but the artist (Irv Spector) uses some of the same handy compositional tools.
Either way, it's very appealing and controlled. I love the contrasts in the top panel:
The building is tall contrasted to how wide it is.
The front entrance is very small compared to how big the building is.
The roof has more detail than the walls do.
The windows on the walls contrast in shapes and sizes and are very small compared to how big the wall is.
The fence is short and near the bottom of the picture. It is contrasted by the tall negative space created by the tree.
The foreground tree is in turn contrasted in size and direction by the smaller tree silhouetted behind it. - which you can read easily because of the negative space between them.
CONTROLLED CROWD GROUPINGS.
That little crowd of animals in the lower right works well as a single shape.
A clump of animals, that all follow a similar direction. They are all leaning back. They are not totally symmetrical, nor evenly spaced. The giraffe's neck pokes up the give the clump a more interesting overall shape and to create a nice negative shape between the clump and the house.
AVOIDING THE MIDDLE AND ASYMMETRY
The building is slightly to the right of the composition and tilts to the right at the top. The rest of the details on the building follow basically this same titled perspective.
This is not wonky. This cartoon license with control. Spector picks one dimension to distort and makes everything that is warped on the distorted object follow the same distortion.
The area of bricks is both:
to the left of the vertical middle.
Higher than the horizontal middle.
The smaller groups of detailed bricks come in different arrangements and different amounts.
There is a group of 7 bricks. A group of 5, a group of 2.
A professional BG layout artist at a service studio was working on one of my shows. All his layouts were very evenly spaced and had no contrasts and went to him one day ask him to use more contrasts and organic thinking. He told me there was a "rule of 3". He had arranged groups of bricks on a background for me in perfectly even groups of 3 and I asked him why they were so even, like wallpaper. He said haughtily, "I used the rule of 3's!". When I asked what that was, he rolled his eyes, thinking, "You call yourself a director and you don't know the rule of 3's?"
He said that this rule was to avoid monotonous symmetry. He said "even numbers are symmetrical, odd numbers are more interesting." Then he started to draw some grass. He pointed out that no one wants to draw every blade of grass, which I agreed with. He drew an expanse of lawn and then began to fill the area with groups of 3 blades of grass, each group expertly and evenly spaced, as though he had been doing this pattern for decades. Each group having the middle blade being the longest.
MORE CONTROLLED DISTORTION
as opposed to "wonky" and unsure of itself:
Here are cluttered poses trying to hide under shiny airbrushes. A lot of modern cartoon art directors purposely stage things from awkward camera angles, thing they are imitating live action and thus achieving "quality". You would never see a classic cartoon staged so clumsily.
Here is no composition, no thought t the overall image. It's merely an area filled with things that have no graphic relation to each other. Things just fell where they did as if all the elements were tossed in a salad and then dumped onto the frame.
Here is someone who has been paying attention to my posts about composition. He is using negative space to help frame the positive shapes. He is using artistic silhouettes in the trees, and making the trees flow, sing some hierarchy.
The church is too cluttered and filled up with details and too evenly designed, but the artist is making improvements and using tools now as man is supposed to do, so that is very encouraging to me. It's still has some Canadian cartoon style hanging on, but I imagine that will disappear with more practice.