Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tips and Comments For Rodrigo

I met Rodrigo at Steve's acting for animation lecture last night and he was very nice and polite, even though he says he has been mean on my blog. But I don't remember that.

I only know him for the decent, all American rosy-cheeked lad he presented himself as in person.

So I checked out his blog today and decided I could give him some tips and comments which might benefit other folks as well.

Hi Rodrigo!


Here is a nice caricature he's done of his partner in Bromance. I like it. It is very observant.

One thing he did that many cartoonists don't, is that he looked at each side of a head at a 3/4 angle and drew each side the way it really looks. Many cartoonists when drawing a 3/4 view just take their front view and distort it so that the side closest to us looks exactly the same as the side farther away, just bigger. In other words, the silhouette is the same on both sides, which doesn't make sense at all.

Rodrigo observed something that REALLY most people don't. Something that goes against what you would think think would make sense.

The lips on a 3/4 mouth are wider and a different shape on the side of the face that is farther away. You would think hey would be bigger on the side closest to us, but they aren't. Why? Because we are seeing part of the inside of the lip on the side that's farther away.

Go look in the mirror, or look at your girlfriend and see the truth for yourself.

Now, the thing about drawing from observation that is very important - is to REMEMBER THE OBSERVATIONS AND TRY TO USE THEM IN YOUR OWN CARTOONS!

Don't let these nuggets of truth and discovery slip away into the aether! Take advantage of what you see around you and use it! Otherwise your life drawing classes and caricatures are wasted.

Here, Rodrigo did a careful study of a toy and what it looks like from different angles. This is a great thing to do - IF you then apply some of what you observed to your cartoons.

Rodrigo also sometimes does careful construction studies from classic cartoons - also a good thing - if you then apply it to your own work.

Here, he has applied some construction that he learned from observing and copying classic cartoons.

Here, he hasn't. This drawing below is cluttered and hard to read because there are no principles used in coming up with the drawing. All the shapes are disconnected, there is no composition, lines of action or construction - even though Rodrigo is obviously capable of it.

Doing caricatures is also a good thing for study. But again, be very observant. Don't trust what you think things are supposed to look like. Look at what they ACTUALLY look like and caricature that. Then try to figure out WHY things look the way they do.

Observe and analyze so you can apply the observations with an understanding of how things work.
These look flat to me, because the facial features are all squashed flat against the face. Nothing sticks out. In a real face your nose sticks out, your mouth is behind your lips and teeth, the back of your skull is a different shape than your 3/4 side etc.

When copying from life, really look carefully at what is in front of you and try to discover new knowledge of how things look, rather than forcing your subject into preconceived notions.

The worst thing a caricaturist can do is to have a set style that he has to bend his subjects around. Then he loses all the valuable new information that a subject can inspire.

When you learn something new, apply it to your original cartoons.

See you at the next Asifa show Rodrigo!


oppo said...

"You would think hey would be gigger on the side closest to us, but they aren't."

You mght want to correct that, John.

As for Rodrigo, that first drawing is by far the best of this bunch.

Trevor Thompson said...

Awesome work Rodrigo!

- trevor.

Deniseletter said...

Many Thanks at last I can understand!!

Elana Pritchard said...

Good caricatures!

drawingtherightway said...

John, I have a question about one of the images on your site. On the side of your blog where you have items listed and such, there's an image of george liquor with his right fist in the air and his finger on his left hand pointed down at the ground. I was looking at this image and trying to picture it as a silhouette but it appears (to me and my sister at least) that george's right eye would stick out to far and be confusing as a silhouette. The main action of him raising his fist and pointing would be clear though. My question is: is it okay to have something stick out that might be confusing as a silhouette as long as it doesn't confuse what the main action of the character is?

Rodrigo said...

Yowzers! I'm quite honored for the feedback, sir. I'll most definitely take to heart your suggestions.

gracesix said...


Christopher said...

drawingtherightway - Instead of trying to picture it as a silhouette, why not make it into a silhouette. =)

The silhouette looks clear to me. The eye looks like it could be a nose and the finger looks like it could be a... OH MY!!! John! What were you thinking?!!

dancing platypuss said...

wow man at last a blog of one of my heroes!!! and pretty usefull stuff here!!!

Anonymous said...


drawingtherightway said...

Hi Christopher! How you said that the eye looks like it could be a nose, that's what I meant about it could be confusing as a silhouette. The main action is clear though. I think its still a very good drawing. Your right I should try drawing it, but I need alot of practice on simpler drawing before I do!

Christopher said...

drawingtherightway, I didn't mean to redraw it. Heavens, no. I made it into a silhouette using Photoshop.

Dylan said...

I really like the things you've picked up on in the pics, very insightful. The bit about the lips and noticing little things like that from life I think hits the nail on the head, it's things like this that I think makes the difference in realistic and stylised drawing.

drawingtherightway said...

Hey Christopher I didn't realize that you put a link to the silhouette in your first reply to me! Stupid me! Thanks for posting it though, its pretty much how I thought it would look. I suppose this whole silhouette thing depends on who is looking at it. Like that one black and white image that looks like 2 silhouettes of faces if you look at it one way and a vase if you look at it a different way!

Jack Ruttan said...

Great comments. Learned a good deal through this, thanks!