Friday, January 09, 2009

Bugs Bunny and Rocking Horse by Girls

I have to say that the girls seem to be more serious about bringing back cartoons than the boys these days. Here is Kelly and Kali.
Kelly has done a very careful study of the principles in this classic comic book cover. She slowly constructed the whole image, used perspective lines and put her drawing together logically - which is very different than just drawing straight ahead starting at one side of the drawing and working your way to the other. Her drawing shows me that she is thinking, not just blindly copying.I think her copy is excellent and I just have some minor nitpicks and tweaks that will hopefully help her (and you) in her next studies.
When copying, I look at all the negative spaces in a picture. These spaces help tell me if I have done something wrong or not got the proportions or line of action right. Negative spaces are just as important as positive spaces. You can see that some of Kelly's negative spaces are less contrasty than the original. That means she has toned down the contrasts in the proportions and directions of the comic cover somewhat. The copy is less of a direct statement than the original.
Bugs has a tricky head shape. It's not an oval. The front of his face is two curved angles that tend to point towards his nose.

When drawing an object that crosses a form, make sure the lines on either side of the crossing object aim at each other to complete the underlying form. Like Porky's ear.

Kelly's lines of action have been slightly compressed or toned down. Also, pull your characters along the line of action. The more stretched the body becomes, the less bulges will stick out along the line of action.

Porky is staring perpendicular to the page in the comic, but is looking up in the copy.Here's Kali's copy that is also pretty good but could benefit from a couple tips and refreshed explanations of principles.

I'll do Kali's next...

The point of studying principles by copying specific pictures:

It's not to be able to redraw the particular picture from memory. It's to understand the how and why of the picture so that you can APPLY THE SAME PRINCIPLES TO YOUR OWN DRAWINGS AT WILL.

These principles are the commonalities of all the good pictures I post. Each picture is a different specific illustration of course. What they have in common are drawing tools, skills and principles. Where they differ is in the subject matter and the story and what the characters are doing.

The best artists are the ones who understand underlying concepts and are able to use them in their own work. Weak artists copy a few superficial traits of other artists and use them every time in every instance and can't create variations and new instances or ideas out of their own skulls.

Some artists are very good at copying pictures or life models, but can't draw anything on their own. That's because they are using their eyes alone and not their brains.


HenriekeG said...

Way to go Kelly! I really hope to see more of your cartoon work, keep it up!

Some extra practise wouldn't hurt me, either. I often look at covers to learn from them but I never copied anything directly. Constructing isn't really my biggest problem, it's more the composition that gives me troubles. As soon as I put more than two objects in one space, especially a limited one like a cover, I don't know where to put the characters to still show the action well.
I have comic stories and cover ideas waiting to be drawn but so far I don't feel I know enough about staging to pull it off well.

Thanks for posting these covers! I have pretty much all of the Disney ones but the others were new to me. And definitely worth saving.

Nicol3 said...

G-g-g-g-g-go ladies! We're not just for cooking anymore.

Lluis Fuzzhound said...

Thanks John!! this breaking down stuff rules!!!

Ambassador MAGMA said...

I'm not a girl, but I just did the Hair Today picture. I'm afraid my scanner doesn't pick up pencil very well, so you can't see my construction, but I'd be honored if you had any feedback. I know I have A LOT to learn... but I feel as though I'm making similar mistakes to other artists.

Thanks for all the great info!!! You are THE BEST!

Here's the LINK:

Pencils are in the post below

Christine Gerardi said...

I did this study too. It's on my blog:

John Pannozzi said...

John, have heard of the new Cartoonstitute project that Craig MacCracken and Rob Renzetti are helming over at Cartoon Network? It's basically a revival of What-A-Cartoon! and Chris Reccardi has expressed great interest in it. You should really give it a look.

Also, Chowder and Flapjack are some pretty good cartoons. Probably the only American cartoons made for TV right now that can truly be called cartoony, and Lynne Naylor is an art director on Chowder.

Ian M said...

Well I'm certainly glad that I'm not the only one who was having those problems while doing this.

Trevor Thompson said...

I hear ya.

Niki said...

Hot damn that sounded excellent! I was afraid that I'd have to get it perfect! I gotta get a new sketch book to do these! Or wait, I'll post all the things that I've been drawing on Monday.

Elana Pritchard said...

Just starting out with this stuff, guess I'll keep trying.

Anonymous said...

John, I have to know: I'm really gonna start paying attention to the Preston Blair stuff to learn construction and such, but I which cartoonist should I study? I'd tried just doing Bob Clampett's model sheets, and I suck!!! Lol.

So, which cartoonist should I start with to get the hang of this?

Khaki Hat said...

Thanks for the lecture. I still haven't connected the mental aspects with the motions of copying in my Blair studies, but these words should put me on the right track.

Geneva said...

Awesome, both Kelly and Kali! And thanks, John, for more valuable critique. When my roommate with a scanner is back from winter break, I'm going to be scanning and showing my copies and self-critiques. I think seeing posts like this will keep me motivated.

(Girls are totally the future of genuine cartooning!)

Anonymous said...

guessing on what John will say about Kali's copy:

1. The angle of briefcase(?) is different. Kali's is sharper, it feels like it is cutting into Fudd and Porky.

2. In the copy, the mop on bugs head is seemingly being pushed into the back of bugs' head slightly. The original has the top part of the mop strings resting lower behind his head gently. Also, in Kali's drawing the strings on the scalp are clumped together nearly undistinguishable. It looks more like real hair. The original retains its stringiness which I think is part of the joke -- it speaks: what a crappy disguise! Fudd and Porky are so dumb! Kali's makes it more seem like: "what a good disguise! Bugs sure fooled them!"

3. In Kali's copy, the form of Bugs' tail continues behind the mop's handle. But this is an instance where in the original the form does not continue. The handle is being pushed into the tail.

4. The angle we see Bugs is different. In the original, we seem to be behind him more, while in Kali's we seem to be more to his side. I think maybe its a tricky pose in the original, bugs seems to be turning his torso towards Fudd and Porky slightly. But also maybe its just because the original's shapes are fatter.

Sorry if it's rude, just taking a guess at what will be pointed out.

JM Brown said...

I tried my hand at copying the drawings and it's harder than I thought, even when focusing on the forms because I'm so used to drawing "lines."

Well, practice makes perfect. I bought the Preston Blair and devoted much of time to serious study of the form and not just blatant copying.

Bitter Animator said...

Your last comment is so important. Every week I see portfolios absolutely jam packed full of life drawing, because they have been told it is so important. Piece after piece of scribbly art pieces. And many are nice. Some are lovely.

But those are studies and, if they aren't applied in character drawings or animation, they are pointless. They are nothing on their own.

Over here, many teachers don't actually seem to realise that. I did the same myself. And the life drawing teachers were 'artists', not animators. They were looking for something not hugely relevant to animation.

Studies are nothing until they're applied and I know that from being one of the people who didn't apply them.

Pat said...

The advice you share not only applies to animation but to everything else in art like illustration, comics, fine art, etc. It's great stuff.


Martin Juneau said...

Kali and Kelly are really genuine cartoonists. They know how worked the construction, that's what 8i studying for. Thanks for the many critiques and observations, mr. K!

HemlockMan said...

I wouldn't have consciously noticed any glitches at all in those copies, if not for the the illustrations as to why they were different.

Ric said...

Wow, these are awesome, I wouldn't have got them anywhere near that standard! Great work!

Amir Avni said...

Great work K&K!
Here's my Mickey exercise

Mike said...

Fantastic Critique John, thanks very much.