Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inking: Emotional Line Weight with more detail

Original pencil art

Certain parts of the face are the important elements that make the expression.

Main features, eye brows, eye shapes, pupils, cheeks, nose and larger teeth shape

These essential features have thick lines to draw attention to the emotion of the character

The Mouth Shape-

the overall shape of the mouth is very important to the expression and should have a slightly thick line to raw attention to the shape - whether it is an open mouth or a closed mouth

The Smile Line-

the lines at the edges of the mouth shape are very important. I like to make them a bit thicker in the middle-which gives the effect of a shadow
this helps solidify the expression.

Cheeks and Smile explanation

the smile lines and the cheek above together create a form - a piece of flesh that is somewhat triangular

this form stretches and squashes to make expressions-whatever the smile line does affects the cheek line above

when inking a smile line or a cheek line you have to look at the other line at the same time so that the two lines together make a fleshy sensible form


The Eyebrows-

The eyebrows are also very important to the expression

Eyebrows are generally thick in the middle of the forehead, and pointy near the temples

Head outline and face combined

Even without the details and wrinkles, the expression should read strong and clearly



Individual teeth

then the individual teeth are thinner


all details are subject to the larger features that they help define. They have to flow sensibly around the head in the same directions of the parts of the expression they help define.

None of these lines should "float" or be arbitrary. They need to help the face be fleshy

these lines are thinner


crow's feet
flow around the cheeks and the temple

eyebrow wrinkles
flow around the forehead, following the path of the eyebrows

bottom lip wrinkles
they stretch around the mouth expression over the bottom teeth

Tongue split

follows the path of the overall tongue shape, but is a thinner line


fabiopower said...

John, what does i not understand is: who defines the thickness and bezel of the line: the animator OR inking?

Wicks for Candlesticks said...


Really detailed.

Will try these tips.

-David O.

Niki said...

I'll take this into account more often, I used to but then I started to think it wasn't important.

trevor thompson said...

Hey John?

Do you think you could do another video like the one you did for construction?

I learned a lot just watching your pencil strokes ( to say nothing of the construction ) and I think if you did a video showing how to ink with a tablet ( something I'm still new at ) I'm sure a lot of us would benefit greatly.

I will be listing 'John K Stuff' as one of the things I'm thankful for this year tomorrow at the table, and I'm not kidding.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


- trevor.

MikeL said...

I've been following your blog for a few weeks and have scoured it to try and learn from your knowledge. The article like this are incredibly informative but there is so much here and it's so scattered that following it is extremely tedious.

I'm an aspiring animator and based on the principals of animation post, I'd guess that I'm being taught forumulaic animation. Which, having read through your blog appears to be a horrible thing.

Here's the deal though. I've seen, been, and even taught among the whole "aspiring 3d animator" group. At the moment there are really only two ways this has worked out for any graduate from basically any program I've ever seen.
1)The animations are terrible and unwatchable.
2)The animations strictly follow the principals and are watchable but not entertaining.

What does this have to do with line weight and detail?

Hehe... well.. the thing is... I would much rather my nearly $100,000 education had taught me to do 2d hand drawn animation and instilled the things you say are lacking.

Nobody knows that going in though. I know you want to see up and coming animators do it right, so here is my plea. Please,please, please for all that is holy, publish a book.
There are sooo many like me who just really don't know what to do.

Dan Jackson said...

What the hell happened, John?

Looks like a few posts got deleted.
Did Disney threaten a lawsuit or something?

Dan Jackson said...

Oh, wait.. they're still there. It looked like they had been deleted for a sec there. never mind.

Toncho said...

Once again, amazing. It's so nice to be an attendee at John K's school of non-retard-non-dead-animation haha.


Elana Pritchard said...

Very helpful advice- but it's weird- for some reason I don't get your posts now until a day after they come out. Wot the hell? When in doubt I blame New Orleans- this place is like a third world country...

Elana Pritchard said...

very helpful advice- but it's weird- for some reason now I'm not getting your posts until a day after they come out. Wot the hell? Call it a hunch but I blame New Orleans for some reason- this place is like a third world country...

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Really useful information! Many thanks!

CaptainHowdy said...

John! I really need your advice for an animation college to go to. There are so many but I have no guidance to which ones will offer me the quality of teaching and understanding you offer on your blog. Please email me or follow-up my comment with a recommendation.

Thanks for your wisdom and advice

-Andrew H.

JohnK said...

There aren't any. I wish there were.

Dan Jackson said...

Ok, John, so if they're aren't any, why don't you start one?

I mean, we all dig the blog, and you're reaching a lot of people this way, but you've been talking about and hinting at starting a class or school for years now.. all about what you WOULD teach, and how a lot of art schools suck these days. But there doesn't ever seem to be any hope that this is actually gonna happen.

Again, I think we all get a lot out of your blog, but I think you have a large number of people that are willing to take the next step to actual classes, whenever you are.

At least do a book. Or a series of books. But get this information out there so the vast majority of people who might not read blogs can read this stuff. These ideas and concepts need to get further out into the art culture. I'm tired of seeing this generation of artists who's only inspirations for drawing were crappy anime shows.

CaptainHowdy said...

I completely agree with Dan Jackson. Become a real teacher! I would fly out to Cali to train under you, and I am sure that goes for the others who want to make great cartoons for future generations.

Monica Grue said...

Thanks for this post! Line weight is a big thing I've been hoping to improve on. If you have any more tips on line weight hierarchy I'd love to learn more.

Niki said...

I'm tired of seeing this generation of artists who's only inspirations for drawing were crappy anime shows.

that and Ren and Stimpy were my inspiration Mr.Dan.

one looked complicated, so I did life drawing, and as many art classes I could. The other didn't, but I'm still here man.

Mattieshoe said...

Say, John, it looks like many of the images used in this post have been deleted or moved.

I've always thought this was a very helpful post, and was wondering if you could correct the issue.

Alexandre Matos said...

It's really very sad... A nice posts, with deleted images.