Thursday, August 27, 2009

Analyzing Contrasts-Pushing The Exaggeration

TJ is a very talented student and he has asked me to critique some of his studies.Here's one that perfectly illustrates a point I was making the other day.

This copy is well done, and I only have one critique:

It has been toned down. The original is more exaggerated. Where?

Especially in the eyes:
Let's analyze the expression in the original.


The open eye is wide open and big or tall -taller even, than the left eyebrow. The closed eye is small and the eyebrow that goes with it is also small.

If you wanted to caricature this, then you would take the descriptive adjectives and add "er"

I would make the open eye TALLER. The closed eye SMALLER. MORE white space than pupil.

I haven't yet asked anyone to take a drawing and caricature it, but that's coming.

But I have cautioned about toning down drawings - or "maintaining the guts" when copying. When you draw a pose or expression less specific or exaggerated than the original, you are underturing.

This is something that seems to happen with a lot of us naturally and something we should resist. Analyzing the contrasts (in words) in a drawing helps you avoid underturing them.

Thanks TJ for the example and I will critique more of your drawings in the next week if you like. This particular one just happened to illustrate this:


John said...

Yeah, keeping the guts in a drawing is hard - but TJ did a good job!

I copied a few Hooks of my own today.

Zoran Taylor said...

I think that has to be the wierdest take ever animated. He goes BACK to standing there waiting to happen in the middle of the take!!!

J C Roberts said...

I can spot many noticable variations from the original here.
The nose is flatter and smaller, the shoulder is pointed forward, the head is leaned out more forward as well. The arms are both positioned differently, and in general the curves of many lines go in different directions.

If a very close proportional match is a desired goal, this wouldn't work, but it may still work as basic construction practice.

The biggest issue with these changes would be that the line of action is dulled. In the original, there is a clearer rearing back pose. In the copy, he appears to be leaning forward at the same time.

When I copy, I constantly check all relative proportions to keep things in check, but getting lost in those details can stiffen the drawing up as well.

This would bring up the question, which is the more important element to focus on first for this exercise- exact proportions or retaining the "life" in the drawing? That's something that TJ's still has.

Joey Lee said...

Awesome work TJ. Your khan drawings are fantastic.

Very informative post btw.

Chris said...

John K, I was going to ask about caricaturing the characters. Glad you mentioned it. Can't wait.

ThomasHjorthaab said...

Hey pal!

I did some constructions last day, I would love for you to take a look, I sweat a lot doing those haha:P

- Cheers


ThomasHjorthaab said...

Here's the link John...

Mansilla said...

I noted that exaggeration is not only a matter of sizes. (less/more)
The angles is very important I suppose.

JohnK said...

Good call, Mansilla. Absolutely agree.

TJ said...

Hey John, thanks for the critique. I really like what you said about adding "-er" to everything. The contrast in the eyes of the original escaped my observation. I've added some more copies, and would love a critique whenever you get a chance. You must be up to your ears in assignments! I can see a lot of people are really taking this seriously. Thanks again!

Daniel said...

Great post John. Contrast is relative!

Here's some more studies. Thanks for looking. :)

Jesse said...

awesome stuff.. very informative!

Anonymous said...

I found this post gave me a good basic understanding of what you meant about exaggeration: Maintain the Guts

Benjamin Anders said...

That is some good advice about adding -er onto things when exaggerating things.

I did a few more studies and posted them on my Art Critique blog. Heres a link direct to the post: Click Here to go!" I'd love to get some feedback if you have the time.


carlo guillot said...

Hi John.
I've just started a blog so you can check my stuff and, hopefully, enter your cartoon alma mater :)

PQ! said...

Hey John, i was wondering if i can join the group too, here´s a link for my blog
also i would like to hear your oppinion about a short film that i did

thanks a lot.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Keeping guts is hard, but rewarding.

Ryan Cole said...

I love how the left eyebrow is drawn. Great sense of force, and even the way it wraps around the back of the head is quite appealing, if not nonsensical. Compared to the eye which has lost the force from the original frame, I think the left brow is more enhanced compared.

Vincent Waller said...

Another great post. Keep up the hard work.

mbs said...

I feel the shape disparity between the pupils in these drawings makes a big difference. In the original the eye has a pupil as tall as the whole eyeball, making it an expression of surprise/fear, whereas in the copy, the narrowed pupil floating at the top of the eyeball is more focused/concerned.

J C Roberts said...

Ok, instead of just commenting on it, I took my own pass at this frame. Comparing the two, I'd say mine stays closer to the original, but at the cost of the more natural finish of TJ's. It partly depends on the real point of the exercise, which isn't primarily to be a human xerox, but the learn the methods and principals. I believe I'm using that too, but I have a habit of trying to stay as close to the original as I can (which I didn't succeed in here, there's a number of points that differ noticeably).

Here's the sketches

And here's an initial cleanup

haircutcomics said...

this has nothing to do with anything but in case nobody noticed...