Monday, August 10, 2009

Becky's Top Cat Studies

Becky is a very serious student of funny pictures. She knows that her ample and obvious talent can be pushed much farther by adding knowledge.
When you draw toys, the goal is to understand solidity, perspective and how cartoon shapes move in space from different angles - then to apply that knowledge to your own work.
Top Cat's Hat is cocked at an angle-lower at the left. I missed that myself at first, then corrected it.
I always write notes when I study something so that what I observe sticks with me.

I think TC's forehead is pushed out a bit too far here and the hat is too big
slightly different angle than the photo and the hat should not be wavy. Up shots are hard!

Becky's upshot is at a different angle than the photo and she wants to show you more of his upper face, even though from this angle there is less to see

Becky straightened out TC's hat and eye angle here (I did too. It's a natural assumption!)

Again, I wouldn't be afraid to push the muzzle and nose out and away from the rest of the head. Try not to flatten every feature against the head shape.

Here is my conversation with her if it is helpful to anybody:

John: Becky?
Becky: Hi John! How are you?
John: good
John: I like your Top Cats
John: do you think you got anything from that?
Becky: yes! it helped me a lot with foreshortening
Becky: and thankyou

John: flip them around to check them

John: you should write down what you learned about solidity
John: and then apply it to a character of your own

Becky: could you explain solidity more?
John: well didn't you discover it drawing the toys?
John: the fact that the muzzle sticks out from the face for example
John: and the eyes are in perspective wrapping around a rounded head
John: and are different shapes from each other because of their positions in space
Becky: ohhh, ok

John: that when you look up or down at a 3/4 pose, certain things happen to the features
Becky: so solidity is basically form?

John: the point of copying is not just to copy but to understand what is happening in the things you are copying
John: and then to apply them to your own work
John: like draw your tiger using some of the things you learned from the toy
John: do a toy version of her
John: him?
Becky: ok, I see what you mean now

John: articulate what makes the toy look 3 dimensional
Becky: should I do a turnaround sheet?
John: sure

John: even put the seams in
John: seams on toys help you understand the construction

John: but remember this tip:
John: it's important to UNDERSTAND what you are studying or copying
John: not just to copy for copying sake
John: it's to figure out WHY things look the way they do

John: and then to APPLY that knowledge to what you do yourself - in your own work

John: then when you decide to break a rule - you are doing it on purpose
John: instead of by accident
John: you can control it better

the end

Becky believes (and practices) what a small handful of cartoonists still seem to today; that cartoons oughta look nice - they should appeal to our eyes, not just be gross and cluttered.

Her work is very stylized in an arresting way. It reminds me of one of my heroes: Jack Schleh