Monday, September 20, 2010

Classic Character Studies

When I want to learn how to draw classic characters, I don't only look at the model sheets but it's a good place to start. I try to find the earliest incarnations first.
After studying the models I then also look at animators' drawings, storyboard drawings, toys and comic book or comic strip drawings too.
I look for the most appealing incarnations of the characters and try to incorporate them all into my understanding of the charcters.
Here I tested myself to see what I remembered and understood about Huck. I got the angle at the top of his head backwards and will correct it next time I draw him from memory. (Hopefully) I remembered that his butt is lower than his belly - very important to his personality.
Model sheets are only the jumping off point for characters. If you slavishly just try to imitate a handful of model sheet poses, you will inevitable lose a generation or more. Each good artist who adds poses and expressions to a character enriches the overall character and that's worth absorbing - and ultimately adding to yourself.

After studying some early HB model sheets, story sketches and comic illustrations, I tried my hand at sketching some thumbnail gag ideas to see if I could get a grip on the character. Huck is very hard to caricature. He has too many subtle angles.

17 comments:

RooniMan said...

Does also drawing the toy versions of the characters help?

Zartok-35 said...

I'm always surprised and shocked at the very idea of copying model sheet expressions instead of drawing your own when you mention it. I always thought doing something like that defeated the purpose of drawing things, and just wasn't done.

I really like the 3D Yogi bear drawings. Nice texturing!

Isaak said...

I wanted to take the opportunity to ask you what you think of the developing Avatar series. It looks good to me, but then again, I love Power Rangers. Also, my previous questions still stand if you have the time to answer.

Thank you

Roberto Severino said...

Funny. I was doing a few drawings of Jinks the other day. He's fairly easy and fun to draw, but you seem to draw him way better than I can. You already have him looking "on-model" and accurate on your first few tries.

Okay, now I feel like drawing Hanna-Barbera character studies again. Please post some Quick Draws and Baba Looeys if you can. They're one of my favorites of the early HB cartoons.

JohnK said...

Hi Isaak. I don't know anything about what an Avatar series is.

Almost everything I like is at least 50 years old...

Lester DiLorenzo said...

Great! I look foward to these types of posts from you the most. Very helpful, and I love seeing your process, from start to finish!

TedM said...

First off those Huckleberry Hound and Mr.Jinks pictures kick ass. Do you sell those on the internet? Because Huckleberry Hound is one of my all time favorite cartoon characters. And second for the record Avatar sucked it's one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. Stick with original series Star Trek reruns. There the best.

Damiano D said...

I love when you post commentary like this, it's really informative and just plain logical. I gotta say, I love how sharp Yogi is looking in your sketches. Is this polished look something you picked up from your toy studies?

Scrawnycartoons said...

I'm glad your studying early HB characters because I've started watching a lot of old ones too, especially Huckleberry hound.

I even printed off a few of your HB drawings to test my new printer. if you're gonna print something, why not something cool?

Shawn Dickinson said...

Wow, there's a real science to this crap! Good stuff!

Isaak said...

Bill Littlejohn died. Have you heard of him, because I just learned about him? Wikipedia says he tried to unionize Disney.

drawingtherightway said...

Funny that you posted this because the other day I was searching for model sheets online! I can see why some model sheets have notes on them for the animators too. Why don't all model sheets have notes? Some don't even show the basic shapes to use when constructing the character.

patrick sevc said...

This is great, thanks!!!

אלירן said...

John, i have a question...
do u like Teddy Newton shorts on PIxar? like "Your Friend the Rat" and "Day & Night"?

Is also doing simple animation with great layout. What do u think about them?

Iron maiden said...

hey john have you seen this toy article

"best toys Of 2010"

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/best-toys-of-2010-2392588/#photoViewer=1

If those are the best toys i wonder what are the worse?

cartoonretro said...

I love these, especially the page of Jinx studies.
S.

Alberto Guerrero said...

Great job like always.
I also love the way they used to draw the characters in Hanna-Barbera.
These characters are so iconic that you can see them everywere, even now that we don’t see them that much in tv or toys.