Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Application Of Studies

Some people might wonder what the point is in copying the drawings of others. I'll tell you. It's so you can apply what you learned from the copies to your own drawings. It's not just so you can be good at copying.
Geneva has been studying the work of Harvey Eisenberg and copying his original poses and scenes.
She got very good at these straight copies so I suggested she go to the next step. ...to take one of those scenes and make up her own poses of the character within the same scene. Add some poses that suggest a continuity- a bit of story business.

So she used the same construction and line of action techniques from the Preston Blair lessons and created 2 original poses in sequence of the original scene.


The poses are well constructed, have clear silhouettes and seem to tell a story - even without dialogue. The fox here is listening for the splash of the character he just kicked into the well.
Then he runs off and seems to be saying" I know! Now I'll get some oil and pour it on the little bugger!"

Geneva is now doing what I call "functional drawings" - drawings that have a purpose and tell a story. That's what it's all about. It's the final goal. Once you are at that point you just continue to learn new things and keep adding them to your storytelling functional drawings and you get better and better.

She started her learning process by studying the basics and step by step learned how to use the principles of good cartooning and staging by copying the works of accomplished skilled cartoonists who really knew what they were doing.

Learning how others did stuff is a good way to propel yourself to the point where you can do good stuff.



I have seen many people become good at copying, but then never think to apply what they learned to their own drawings. Applying something from what you study tests you to see if you actually understood what you copied.


Geneva said...

Oh! What a pleasant surprise to find over my morning cereal blog crawl. Thanks, John! I appreciate your support and kind words!

Elana Pritchard said...

kick ass Geneva!

Anonymous said...

I kinda feel guilty looking at these now. I always have the notion and thought in the back of my head that I'm never going to be as good as someone like Geneva or Katie Rice no matter how many studies or copies of drawings I do (which I've done tons, though most of them aren't even on my blog. Lots and lots of practice.). I try not to be so hard on myself, but the thought is always there. Were you as good as Geneva when you were 15, John?

RooniMan said...

I agree fully.

Trevor Thompson said...

Hey John,

I've been doing studies lately ( Howie Post and SpongeBob layouts ) and the one area I can't seem to improve is time. The drawings themselves seem to improve little by little, but it always seems like the end result took way too long to arrive.

I know that half the job is being able to produce drawings by a certain time so I wanted to know if there are any procedures you can employ to speed up the process or is it just one of those things that improves naturally with continued practice?

Sean Lally said...

Hey, John. Great blog I've learnt so much from you. I'd like it if you would take a look at the Stimpy I drew in my own style and tell me what you think?


introvert said...

Looking at talented people doing these so well, I understand that I definitely need to go back through each of the lessons again one at a time.

Looking at such great inspiration really motivates me to be more critical with analyzing these skills I should be applying. That way, there is at least a remote chance of me actually making those skills a regular habit when crafting any sort of drawing on my own.

Amyiss said...

You'll have to excuse me because I'm a little confused about the curriculum blog, it looks empty, but I assume that's because the bulk of it is private and viewable to those who donate? I'm sorry, you've probably explained it 14 times before somewhere I missed.

Anyway, excellent work, Geneva. I'm impressed with how well you're able to move that character in space, with such confidence!

Also, because my mind runs at 30 miles a minute, in case you didn't know, John, it appears WB is doing a redesign of the classic Looney Toones characters, with a season on Cartoon Network planned. I'm very... meh about the designs myself :/ http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/47905997.html

Geneva said...

Roberto-- I just turned 23. ;) You have so much time! I wish I had started to actually practice when I was 15...

Trevor-- it is a very slow process, learning to speed up. I'm still pretty slow, these drawings took time. But I notice things are starting to come more naturally. Don't rush yourself.

Gad said...

after 4 years of studying animation i finely realize it
in the last few month i have been finely really learning animation... copying old Disney movies and cartoons animations and then doing my own new animation inspired by the copy i did... (and i mean old...40's not 80's)
and i got the idea reading your blog
thanks John

Trevor Thompson said...

Thanks Geneva!

Max Evel said...

Very very cool .

Anonymous said...

Geneva, you're right. I didn't realize that I really do have a lot of time to become good. I started working at these lessons a few years ago, about the age of 12 or so, doing almost every single drawing in Preston Blair's book and correcting them. It's still pretty hard to know that it's going to take years of more practice, but I'll definitely keep at it. Thanks!

tyranno1 said...

Hey John, first time posting from a long-time creeper.

I'd like to know, what do you think of Joe Murray and his Kickstarter project? It wound up being a huge success, 124% of the project was funded, and he's on the way to opening up his online cartoon network for indie cartoonists and filmmakers. I say you should try to do the same thing with the Heartaches and put it on KaboingTV, which Joe Murray has created. Also, I need to tell you- keep up the good work, man! And, the post about the new movie Tangled is really provocative, it shows how bad our media in America is starting to become. The amazing cartoons by Mr. Terry you posted just before drove the point home. We need people like you back in the big leagues! Stop sitting on the fence and make your move before the 80's repeats itself, but much, much worse than the last time. See you later,
Mr. Cardone.

JohnK said...

Hey Robert,

I tried commenting on your blog, but for some reason couldn't get it to go through.

I wanted to tell you not to be discouraged. I like what you are doing and just to keep doing it.
Your pal,


Kali Fontecchio said...

Good job!!!

Mykal Banta said...

An amazing lesson. Not just copying, but applying! I just wish my skill matched your teaching!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry John. I saw the comment, and thanks! As I said, it took years of practice just to get to that point. I even had to experiment with the pencils I was using just to get that half decent line you see on all of my current studies (I used to use cheap, crummy #2 pencils and mechanical pencils at first, which severely limited the quality and solidity of my drawings, then I gradually started using other pencil brands, eventually getting comfortable with using a combination of 2B and 4B pencils and almost any Col-erase pencil).

I've learned way more from a few years of reading this blog and many others than any art class I've ever taken throughout my middle and high school years. Period, and it's also opened up my eyes to a lot of things I may have never discovered if it wasn't for your blog, like Count Basie music (and really most of the Swing Era artists I like), Kirk Douglas films, Milt Gross cartoons, Rod Scribner, etc.

Phew! I think I made my diatribe way too long, but I just needed to let these feelings out. Right now I'm correcting those Top Cat drawings by laying them over the photos and correcting the mistakes on my paper in another pencil. Is that okay?

C said...

Great drawings!

And nobody should be down on themselves. I forbid it. I have no authority to forbid it, but I do anyway! It's easy to get discouraged, but persistence really does pay off.

Age isn't important either--lots of people learn drawing way out of their kid/teen years and there's nothing wrong with that.

Think of others as inspiration/a learning tool, rather than some sort of superiority. Most artists are willing to help others out from what I've seen, so there is no harm in asking others for advice if you wish.

If anyone dares tell you you'll never be good, send them to me and I'll feed them to my cat.

Martin Juneau said...

It's fun to see some greatest applications to studies from cartoons materials. It shows that the peoples who have the idea at first having their ideas right. Not just put a character on some scenes like what happen in media's today.

It will learn me to want to become a serious cartoonist and draw roughly. (Tough i'm not too bad compared to others peoples who draw in angles.) Maybe i shall study it one day if i should take my drawings more seriously.

Keep your great work Geneva!

TWill said...

Wow, those are looking awesome Geneva. Keep up the good work.

Jeff Schinkel said...

I think Geneva's rendering of the well in that picture is really fantastic and worth a closer look.

She slightly changed the angle of perspective on it (a slightly lower horizon line) which looks even better than the original to me. The little roof and the crank to raise and lower the bucket are wonderful and have some real life and character.

Overall, she added her own little flair to it to make it even better than it was. Great stuff, Geneva!

Cali-4nia said...

Great job Geneva! Very crisp drawings, and like you, I find John's blog to be inspiring, and a great starting point to learn about cartooning.

Deino said...

I am not a cartoonist, but a painter and I've been learning from great masters for a time now. From Michael Angelo and Rembandt to Cezanne and Matise and many more. Copying is esential, but to really learn from them, you've got to try every aproach that is posible. It´s great to see we all visual artists learn the same way :)

I actually been wanting to study some cartoonist, like Uderzo! Such a kickass artist.

Niki said...

Yeah, I have the problem of applying learned skills. I actually do a ton of copies but since I only apply once in a while they only amount to my measuring ability.

Anonymous said...

the great thing I've found is that once you get the basics down, and have put in many hours of practice, you can start to anticipate the features of a character without having to look so much at the design for every curve and detail. Especially on facial features, which used to always trip me up on creatures with elongated snouts like foxes, wolves, or dogs.

Scrawnypumpkinseed said...

Wow! Really great work Geneva! It's great to see cartoony artists at work.

I agree with what John said about applying technique. I see so many blogs claiming to influenced by this and that but when I look at their work I see none of their "inspirations" principles therein.

Its only an influence if you learn from it and apply it to your work. Its not an influence if you just like the work but take none of its teachings onboard.

J C Roberts said...

This is why you can't just copy by duplicating line for line, the key here is to decode the process, not just to become a human xerox machine.

Every time you copy something this way, you'll pick up more and more techniques. When you can duplicate what they did, you're part of the way there, but when you can duplicate why and how they did it as well, then you'll have something and will be better able to take the ball and run with it.

You could even study the kind of stock Disney designs posted here a few days ago, just so you'll know what overused expressions and setups to avoid so maybe we'll see some fresher material in the future.