Monday, November 23, 2009

L.O. 3c: Applying Preston/Disney Principles to my SB sketches


I gave Kali a layout lesson yesterday. Here's just the first drawing I did. It came from this rough below. The first thing I did was block everything out real roughly to make sure I had the line of action and big negative spaces between the main parts of the action- between his body foot and dresser.
Like everyone does, I toned it down a bit, but now that it's all constructed I could easily go back and push the foot and eyes a little more like the rough.The Focus of the pose: THE FOOT PUSHING THE DRAWER IN.
The whole pose is made to highlight this action.

His body leans back. I used a line of action to do that.
Second in importance to the physical action in the drawing, is his reaction to it. His feeling. His personality. That takes place mostly in the face.

I AVOIDED A CRAMPED FACE
Note how I left space between all the important major elements of his face:
The eyes.
The nose
The mouth
Some people tend to push all the features together where they get cramped and hard to read.

THE EYES ARE CHEATED FOR EFFECT
Looking at the lucky accident in the rough-where the eye that is further away from us is bigger (which is wrong perspective) I used that to enhance the expression.

I made sure the rest of his head and face were in solid construction and perspective, and then gave the eyes cartoon license. I overlapped the farther away eye over the close eye. This exaggerates the impression that the eyes are looking back at us, opposite to his body pose which is facing the dresser.

If I broke the rules all over the drawing and made nothing logical, you wouldn't be drawn to the eyes because nothing would make sense.

NEGATIVE SPACES FOR SILHOUETTE
To help read the face against the arm I made sure that there was a clear silhouette to the edge of the face. Some shapes push out (muzzle and nose), some indent in - the eye mask area. This indented eye mask area helps him look smug. It helps pull his eye brows up.

HOW CHEEKS AND SMILES WORK TOGETHER
Note that the smile line and cheek line above create a shape (in yellow). The smile is pushing the meat of his cheek up, squeezing the area between. Note also the soft angles curving around the cheek/face area. It isn't a simple circular curve or half oval.

CONSTRUCT HAND SHAPES BEFORE DRAWING FINGERS
His fingers are not doing anything so I keep them contained within the shape of the hand.
For organic pseudo-realism, I made the fingers converge towards each other at bottom, rather than be parallel sausages.
The other hand is just hanging back and those fingers "splay". They aim very slightly apart, also for organicness.
I put weight on the foot on the ground by bending the knee and having the lower part of the leg overlap the top of the foot.
Also, the top of the foot bulges upwards in the middle, while the bottom part is being squashed flat against the ground.

I kept the toenails compressed together so as not to compete for attention with the other foot that is closing the drawer.


Note the shape created by the space between his foot and arm (in red). It's diagonal, which helps draw attention to the fact that the foot is pushing forward of the body. If the hand had been posed right on top of the foot, it would have eaten away at the focus of the whole pose.

All this is logic and control and is what separates functional drawings from elaborate fancy ass sketchbook doodles.

In order to get functional, you have to do lots and lots of thoughtful planned drawings (as opposed to random doodling in your sketchbooks). Not just one every couple weeks. It's not enough to think you understand the concepts. You have to apply them to make them sink in and eventually become second nature.

Later, I will show you Kali's first try at doing a layout from the scene, my corrections and comments and then her 2nd try where she fixes everything and makes the pose stronger.

OK?

Hey, I have a question. How many people who read the blog are here for the drawing tips?

81 comments:

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

This blog is the most useful thing on the internet! The cartoon world owes you big! Thanks for all this, Mr. K!

David Gale said...

Very cool post! I like reading this kind of detailed breakdown.

drawingtherightway said...

Lots of valuable information in this post! When you cheated with the eyes, you still used an eye guide line right?

John said...

Cool, I look forward to seein' Kali's layouts! I bet they're good.

Here's more of mine!

Gary Wintle said...

Very great post, John. Just what I needed today.

I've been having some problems tackling faces (especially constructing Chuck Jones stuff). I think I have to be more aware of the negative space in the face, so thanks for the tips.

I've also been practicing perspective which is really paying off and giving me great new ideas.

Thanks for all the inspiring posts!

RooniMan said...

This post makes perfect sense.

LeoBro said...

I'm so glad you're teaching us more about the Kaspar layouts. I've been using your comments on other people's blogs to correct my own latest tries.

Aaron Clark said...

To be honest, I read the blog for more than the drawing tips. I also come to grab images to draw from, but the tips are really helpful. Helps me understand what I'm missing in my work. Even if some of the tips are repeated, it helps re-inforce that idea.

Benjamin Anders said...

I'm here for drawing tips! I'm loving these posts.

Alberto said...

I'm here for drawing and analysis, your blog made me by Preston Blair's book. You're blog also improved my drawings significantly (they're still not great but they're much, much better)

Amanda H. said...

I am! Here for the drawing tips, I mean. I'm still working my way through the studies. :/

patrick sevc said...

I'm one of those folks you can count as being here for the great drawing tips.

In fact I have a couple more Kaspar layout attempts. Hopefully better constructed.

Kaspar here

Thanks!

Needles G.'s Urban Exploits said...

I am generally, I like how you breakdown the poses and drawings and try to apply that to what I make. I do Enjoy all the other things you have to say though they are very interesting coming from someone who was there and did all that.

DmL said...

Here for the tips.

Eidenbrock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharpyoungbull said...

I'm here for tips

I'm good with life drawing, but I want to eventually learn more about style and get back into drawing cartoons.

Alex_M said...

i follow for the amount of knowledge you share. although your drawing tips are very much appreciated and taken into consideration. I was hoping youd be a at the CTN convention (which I thought was great). Maybe next year....

David said...

I'm here for the drawing tips.

Colter said...

I check out the blog for the drawing tips first, and the everything else second.

Brian Godinez said...

I gotta say I am here, first and foremost, for the drawing tips (and color tips, etc.). This is stuff I need to stay mindful of for my own study.

Having said that, I greatly appreciate the blog as a whole. I am also a big fan of the humor; links to classic cartoons, comics and illustration; the social analysis and commentary; and the intermittent movie review. This is the greatest site on the interwebs.

dancing platypuss said...

iam here for the drawing tips

Krishna M. Sadasivam said...

I'm here for the tips and generally any insight. I find it fascinating and valuable. Keep up the great work!

She-Thing said...

Me- and for old images too.


By the way, something which has nothing to do the with the post..
what do you think of Udetzo's style on Asterix? Is he a model to follow? I'm a very big fan of his work, but I'd like to know your point of view before I begin drawing his stuff over and over again..

Another subject that I'd really would like you to comment someday is the dubbing- how do you recognize quality dubbing, or how do you know the director controls the voice contrasts on dubbers. Obviously I'm not asking you to do something obvious like comparing Bruce Willis in Over the Hedge with Mel Blanc in Looney Tunes.
Just trying to teach my hearing on toons...



Please keep posting (and I hope you'll never close this blog)

JohnK said...

"I was hoping youd be a at the CTN convention (which I thought was great). Maybe next year...."

yeah, sorry no one invited me. I was told it was just a Brad Bird thing or something.

Ebbe said...

Here for the tips and the fun industry insider stories.

Lluis fuzzhound said...

G'day John, Yeah I come for drawing tips and also to laugh and have a good time!

Awesome post!! It is great to know how to accentuate expressions and actions and to know what things in a drawing do these things... since I've been reading your blog I've learnt a bucketload of stuff... I hope it's all sinking into my thick skull! hehehe

Thanks!

sharprm said...

Here for drawing tips.

Nick Barber said...

The drawing lessons are amazing, can't thank you enough.

joAco said...

I do.

I draw poorly, and I like to think that all this concepts (that are far beyond of what I can really accomplish, honestly) is making me not a better drawer, but a more concious one.

And, besides, I'm very found of methodic explanation of art processes. I think that in teaching it lyes the real soul of a craft.

But it is great to have all the humor, analysis, critics, etc. too!

David Bernal said...

I Love this!! thanks very much!!

Mr. Tat said...

I'm here for the drawing tips, especially today's that clarified the spaces between Kaspar's face. Subtle things that habit skips over. Although recently, I don't look like a student here.

There's also other insights like the old cartoon days, how cartoons evolved, (and decayed!) the true challenges of being an animator, what live action movies should be studied and why, how to hold a chainsaw, etc.

Nathan W. said...

I am here for drawing tips, but I am bad at following up on doing the lessons. I don't make trouble though, so if you're thinking about going invite-only I'd really appreciate being let in the club...

Jack G. said...

The drawing tips/advice are why I'm here (and why I donated).

While I'm way behind on the 100,000 dollar cartooning course, I read these tips (and often save them)hoping they will help me be a better cartoonist.

I certainly can't get the tips anywhere else (even most art schools.

Your knowledge is much appreciated.

Tupac Chopra said...

I'm definitely here for the drawing tips, and I even tell my friends about them.

Timothy Merks said...

I enjoy the drawing tips and the posts where you try to work drawings out.

It's great to see what your thinking is behind your drawings and other peoples drawings

Evham said...

I'm a big fan but I'd be lying if I said I didn't soak up the drawing stuff for the most part. If you were thinking on making a separate pay blog for that I would subscribe gladly.

LeoBro said...

I'm here mainly for the drawing education - it's much more than "tips". I've learned so much more here than I learned from any of the famous how-to animation books (including even Preston Blair, because I didn't know how to study it until you showed us). I feel so lucky to have found this blog - just after you started it. I know you're not doing it for me; I don't expect to get good enough for you professionally at my age. So I'm just practicing away at my own pace, grateful that you have students like Kali and the other Cartoon College students that you are taking the time and care to teach.

I also enjoy this blog for your general take on things, which is always unexpected and refreshing, though different than my own, because you are so clear and specific about your opinions.

Britt said...

thanks John, I always appreciate all you're lessons and tips. I try to apply them to my own work.

JohnK said...

Yeah, I might turn the lessons into a pay blog.

I keep putting up the paypal button in the hopes that the honor system might take place and it does with a handful of people, but not enough to pay for all the time that goes into it.

John-Michael Morgan said...

I personally come to the site to read your drawing tips. They're actually quite helpful.

You also have some great cartoon model sheets and drawings to look at for reference.

Cristian AvendaƱo said...

I am. I love your lessons and your point of view regarding cartoons. I've always liked to draw, but never had any formal training, and I've always dreamed to become an animator, so it's really helpful
If you think to turn the blog into a pay site, can you at least leave the older posts free to everyone? This blog is amazing.

SunshineFox said...

Im here for drawing tips - have a folder of saved comic covers/preston blair images/etc you posted that Im working on, to post and link soon.

virpi said...

I'm here for drawing tips! and for all the other stuff too! brilliant stuff & enlightening enthusiasm.
x

Alberto said...

I love the drawing lessons, I haven't been able to use my credit card for donations, don't know why. but surely I'd pay for the lessons, I'd borrow another card.

Ivan D said...

I like your drawing tips, John. Keep them coming!

Trevor Thompson said...

Drawing tips and more, Mr. K.!

Gato Gris said...

I'm here for the drawing tips, although I'm not good at drawind. I love the way you teach.

Niki said...

I'm here for drawing tips but I only get an answer to a question once every blue moon, and usually by people I didn't ask, so I'm trying to use the Famous artists cartoon course to get a better grasp on all that your talking about but my understanding of this just keeps coming in and out of it all. I'll follow this in email in case you reply.

GoldDarkShadow said...

I'm here because of everything. the drawing tips, advice, and the lessons. I have been reading more from the Preson Blair book now since I found this blog. My drawings are more solid , and I'm understanding more of the cartoon principles.. Thanks for everything.


Abdur Olajuwon

Clean3d said...

I'm here to learn, although that comment about not doing studies once every week or so hit kinda close to home. ;)

Thanks again for running this blog!

thomas said...

I mostly read for the cartoon history, and the rants.

Thanks.

Trevor Piecham said...

I love your drawing tips and get super stoked when you have posts like this. I try applying these tips to my personal and professional endeavors. Hopefully soon I will have more time to practice and post my studies. I badly want to get into your your cartoon college.

Thanks!

DANGERUSS said...

I'm here to learn, thanks for the tips.

Toncho said...

Hey, I'm here for the drawing and all that. I like everything about the blog. Being a self-trained midtime animator/drawer/voice actor/... On and a huge R+S fan! I find this very useful.

I REALLY like the fact that it's free. I understand that all those "Thanks" don't pay the bills, and it wouldn't be fair for you to put so much time into it, but PLEASE do it for as long as you can. Maybe don't post so often?

I can promise you two things:

1) From here on, my work will always have a "thank you" note.

2) When and if I get rich, I will build a "John K. Statue" or something like that... xD

promise I'll build a "JohnK gold statue" when I get rich).

vhpayes said...

I would say that is one of the major reasons I read this blog.

Ben said...

this be the place for all your cartoon drawing needs and you explain it so well. Drawing Tips and funny ass storys thanks for all

Jizz Wad said...

I'm here for drawing tips.

Sean Wiig said...

I frequent this blog for your drawing tips, and also for introducing me to cartoons and cartoonists I would not have discovered on my own (e.g. Milton Gross, Bobby Clampett, Jiminy Smith). And you're just funny. I'm part of the new generation of kids, so I never had a chance to appreciate these gems myself. I wish you were my teacher. Actually, you pracically are, through this blog.

ArtF said...

well John, you know I'm here for the drawing tips. i need all the help i can get.

Dan said...

I read your blog for the drawings, humour, fun, learning and wonder that it provides every day John :)

Adam B said...

I read it for drawing tips and beacuse it motivates me to get trough this demanding danish animation education. This all makes sence and probebly keep young animators away from flat ugly cut out looking results.

Nathan said...

I'm here to see your funny drawings, not so much for the tips. I am fascinated by cartoons and love to see some "behind-the-scenes" stuff on here, so the tips are a bonus. I mess around with a comic strip once in a while, and see lots of silly mistakes I make now that I've been following this blog for a bit.

sunny kharbanda said...

This is valuable stuff! This post and the one after it are great examples of principles put into practice.

I'm here for the tips; also here to support the cause of bringing back FUN and integrity into cartoons.

TWill said...

This blog is one of the first things I check when I get on the internet. You shed light on what goes into making a good cartoon, that would be very hard to find otherwise. Thank you.

KaL said...

Unlurking to reply that largely while I do enjoy everything I am here primarily to learn from your tips you post.

Iron maiden said...

hey john Im also here for the drawing tips too and Ive been practicing your lessons ever since day 1,and I hope I can go to your cartoon college blog some how?

Raff said...

For the drawing tips!

And the entertainment of your ideas.

Sorry I can't chime in as often as I'd like, things are busy now...

Tony W. said...

I'm here for the drawing tips. Keep it up!

Iron maiden said...

Im also here for drawing tips

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

I'm here for the drawing tips! I don't have time to keep up with all the lessons, but I come here daily, and try to apply the steps and lessons to my own work. I hope to catch up with the rest of them soon.

Thanks for everything, John!

Josh Heisie

Jay said...

Absolutely here for the drawing tips. You're a great teacher and, even though my style and goals are different, have learned a tremendous amount from your lessons. Good principles apply anywhere.

CSC said...

For the tips!

Mattieshoe said...

John, I'm all for having a separate blog for lessons.

There's just so much content here about so many aspects of cartoons that it becomes hard for us students to find and complete your lesson posts.

I also think Feedback is really important, and a more specific blog will make it easier for you to get to the people taking this seriously and help them out.

Wilson Ramires said...

Exelent Post! I can't wait to see Kali's layout!

S. M. Denman said...

Many thanks for another fantastic lesson!

When I first found this blog I came for the drawing tips, but now I also enjoy reading your commentaries and opinions just as much as the art lessons. Both are extremely insightful!

Michael said...

I'm here for the drawing tips! The history and tips on avoiding or improving the middle meddlers situation is also important. I think that perspective has real value in improving how creative ideas can flourish in stale environments. The fact that your screaming in cartoon language makes it easier for some middle meddlers to swallow or at least safer to show them your cartoons about the problem. The recent chainsaw story should be taught and thoroughly analyzed at Wharton.

Justin said...

I definitely come here for drawing tips and the tutorials you post. However, I find your commentary on the current state of animation very useful and interesting as well.

callie! said...

I'm here for the tips, tutorials, and weird toys, a tradition that started with Yogi With Man Hands. I have trouble implementing the tips/tutorials, but I really think they helped change at least the way I approach drawing.

Christer said...

I'm here for the drawing tips and for when you present the classical stuff. I'd probably try to join your cartoon college if I had the time :l

Marty Fugate said...

I'm here for the drawing tips. I'm a freelance cartoonist doing three cartoons a week for a chain of weeklies. Being a fan of "Ren and Stimpy," I stumbled on this site -- and realized how much better my work could be. I came for the laughs and stayed for the lessons.

Vince Iuliano said...

Terrific site, thanks for all the information. I always thought your cartooning resonated 50's kitsch while maintaining a new fresh style. GREAT stuff. Thanks for the lessons..

Vince