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...


Niki said...

I try not to go crazy with to many lines, I still do it for hair though.

Anonymous said...

I thought using cheats in animation and comics would be considered a taboo among animators generally, especially something like the perspective in Post's drawing. For the most part, I'm pretty confused.

Elana Pritchard said...

How do you always post exactly what I need help with? It's kinda eerie...
(or I just need help with lots-o-stuff)

toque= Canadian?

Cali-4nia said...

I'm really glad you're taking the time to do this for us Mr. K. Who know's what the industry will bring in another few years when the school budgets cut deeper into the arts programs, and no one will be able to draw at all anymore! At least those interested will be able to come here and learn for themselves.

RooniMan said...

Woah. Fitzgerald's skills blows Post out of the water, but I still love them both.

Patrick said...

John, this is gold. I love it when you break down drawings (and animations) and explain how the mechanics work and how the basics are applied to make something beautiful - especially with good contrasting examples such as these.

You've often talked about how the Warner's characters have specific personalities, as opposed to Disney characters being generic. I would love to see you explain this more in depth, say why someone like Daffy is a specific personality whereas Donald is generic.

Martin Juneau said...

I will next time to a new comic story to be more close to the appealing cartooning than trying to be too serious. Tough i can't stand Manga so much.

Paul B said...

you've made thi topic very clear John! thanks for that!
I like both artists, I think Harvey Eisenberg it's like a mixture from both in his Tom & Jerry comics, he maintains the appeal and simple shapes from 40's characters and adds new angles an three dimensional design.

Isaac said...

Cheated vs logical should be on every animation and design curriculum. All the designs today are cheated, seems like artists don't know what's real perspective and anatomy any more. They rely so much on cheated drawings that there's nothing left but the flat cheats.

JohnK said...

"I think Harvey Eisenberg it's like a mixture from both in his Tom & Jerry comics,"

Good observation!

I'll clip some of his comics and look for that in a future post.

Kali Fontecchio said...


Meredith D. said...

"He also has an inate abilty to draw life energy...This is a rare talent that I don't think can be taught. Some have it, most don't."

I must disagree with the above comment. All skills are just skills that can be taught and practiced, there may be innate abilities but everything can be learned with the right teacher and the willingness to learn.

JohnK said...

Some things are just pure talent, and I don't know how you teach talent.