Monday, July 05, 2010

Swipe File: Howie Post Exteriors

A lot of artists keep "swipe files" for reference. Kirby and Wood used to talk about it. No one knows what everything looks like and an organized swipe file of photos and other artists' interpretations of things is handy reference.

I am not good at drawing backgrounds or coming up with interesting camera angles. Howie Post is a great reference for me. He has already done all the work of studying what the world looks like and has simplified it. When I look at a real scene - like a park, or a street or a living room, my brain is confused by all the clutter of the details and it's hard for me to see the simple shapes that hold all the details together.When I look at Post's scenes, the world makes more sense to me. He has eliminated the clutter of real life and boiled it down into bite sized easy to digest chunks. He also draws the simplified shapes with flair and cartoon license. Nothing is on a straight line. Everything is swollen in old style cartoon fashion.
He doesn't generally stage things left to right - which is my natural tendency, having been bred in Saturday Morning cartoon studios.
I like the way these 3 girls are grouped together in perspective. Their feet are not lined up in a horizontal plane like you see in most TV cartoons. Howie breaks up his comic panels into multiple angles and shots to keep everything lively and natural.
He has also worked out a handy 3/4 walk position.
Doing quick sketches from these panels helps add variety to my own finite collection of poses and angles.
Howie draws nice sidewalk and street scenes. He varies the types of fences. Here's a stone fence. I usually resort to drawing the stock wooden plank fence when I draw a fence. Maybe now I won't.
If you ever wanted to draw a nice stone hole, now you can.
Simple cartoony trash basket.

I don't suggest stealing these layouts exactly for your cartoons or mine, but sketching them and trying to understand the general shapes and concepts makes it easier to create new scenes.

I think I'll keep adding to this online swipe file. It'll be an easy way to find reference quickly.