Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 dimensional VS 2 dimensional design

Howie's characters are made up almost entirely from 40s "cartoon shapes" - the stock Elmer Fudd head construction, pear shaped bodies and tube arms. Their poses are utilitarian: they tell the story but do not distinguish any differences between the characters.
Howie Relies On Basic Principles, Style, Natural Appeal and Cartooniness
Most of his poses are simple profiles, 3/4 views or straight on positions seen at eye level with no perspective. In the hands of lesser artists, this can look wooden. Howie's natural sense of style, balance and appeal - combined with some basic tools like composition, silhouettes, open space against filled spaces, line of action, stretch and squash and the rest make for pleasing and seemingly natural cartoons.

He also has an inate abilty to draw life energy - whch many of the other Harvey artists lack. This is a rare talent that I don't think can be taught. Some have it, most don't.
Owen Stuffs Traditional Drawing Skills Into His Cartoon Surfaces
Owen combines some basic cartoon design shapes with 3 dimensional space, bits of anatomy, more subtle poses and construction.

His heads tilt in 3 dimensional space (with the odd cheat). Look at Margaret walking away. That's a beautiful and subtle drawing. In just a few well chosen lines, Owen has suggested a very natural tilt in her back and a slight tilted angle on her head. We can see a bit of the top of her head. Even though her construction and design is pretty close to Dennis', her pose is feminine (-whereas what makes Little Audrey look feminine is that she is wearing a dress). From a difficult angle, Fitzgerald has put one foot forward, the other back in perspective, and suggested logical physics in her spine and skeleton just by the balance and positions of where the subtle curves twist and turn. To get such a skillful, natural pose takes skill and powers of observation. You can't do it merely with cartoon tricks.

Many cartoonists who want to make a tilted pose will just take the 3/4 angle of the head or body and rotate it CW or CCW in 2 dimensional space - like in Flash cartoons.

Also note the difference in how the perspective is portrayed by each cartoonist.

In Post's drawing the 2 boys are in the foreground looking at Audrey. But they are in profile-wheras logically they should be in a 3/4 back pose. The are in profile together and on the same 2 dimensional plane, standing a view layers in front of Audrey on her 2 dimensional plane.

In Owen's drawing, the two boys are truly in the foreground, one in front of the other and they are looking at Margaret walking away. They also have slightly different poses. Joey's head is really solidly drawn from about a 7/8 back view. The solidity and the angle are strengthened by the pattern on his toque (pronounced "TOOKE") wrapping around the shape and position of his skull.

Traditional drawing skills (like most illustrators used to have) open up a whole new set of creative possibilities for an artist. It gives you many more choices to create from.

It's not how many lines you use that make for a good drawing; it's how much control you have in where you put them.

More to come...