Monday, August 10, 2009

Animation School Lesson 7: Combining Construction With Clear Silhouettes

Drawing principles is not easy. There are so many to balance at once. I ask students to copy good drawings from old cartoons or from good comics just to see how pro artists use principles.
The next step is for the student to try drawing those characters in their own poses to see if they can apply those principles themselves.

Here, Geneva tried her hand at doing some poses of Tom. My critique was that they were good construction but didn't have clear silhouettes.I said to use negative spaces to make the poses read better and she redid them like this:

Now they are much better because you can read them more clearly. So construction is very important, but it is just step 1 to being able to control your posing.

See how Harvey Eisenberg does it:redrabbit_01_001
This cover is a masterfully controlled collection of drawing principles all in perfect balance and clarity. Everything is solidly constructed and there are negative spaces separating each visual element - making them all read at once.


Niki said...

I try this a lot but I never tried it as in making the silhouette of the character I've just studied.

Forbidden Hippo said...

I'm just learning how to use shapes to get the proportions correct while drawing an object. Just gotta keep telling myself it's OK if it looks like crap. I'm just getting started.

Pilsner Panther said...

Mr. K., you deserve major kudos for teaching a master class in drawing without charging a penny for it.

I try to do the same thing with music at Pilsner's Picks (plug, plug). I can't teach theory that way, it wouldn't work, but there just might be some talented young person out there who hears, say, Jelly Roll Morton or Fats Waller, and thinks, "Hey, maybe I can learn to play the piano like that!"

When the roll is called up yonder, we'll be there... I think.

Emily said...

Very helpful instruction, John, thank you.

Geneva said...


Thanks loads for your guidance! You've been such an invaluable source of information and inspiration since I've started following your blog, and you're a real hero for taking such time and energy on young dorks like me. Thank you so much!

Joey Lee said...

I direct anybody who is remotely interested in cartooning to your site. I tell them, "the worst that can happen is that you'll suck a little bit less." This site is definitely a diamond in the rough.

Sven Hoek said...

Wow, that is very helpful for understanding what makes a good pose. Thanks!

John said...

Hi John,

I've done my homework for this lesson, I did 5 sequential poses of Jerry.

I think I've reached a point where self-critque isn't quite cutting the mustard, if John or anyone else out there wanted to take a look my drawings are at the following URL:

PS once again thanks a million!


TWill said...

Here are some original poses of Porky Pig.

Lesson 7 Original Porky Poses

These were super fun to draw, and they turned out decent so that's a plus. Tell me what you think.

rahul said...

Great you can show off your skills

and win great prizes

rahul said...

show off your drawing talent at

islandheroes said...

Hey guys, here is my lesson 7:
Combining Construction With Clear Silhouettes

islandheroes said...

Hey guys, here are my drawings:
Combining Construction With Clear Silhouettes

islandheroes said...

Hey John, here is my Lesson 7