Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Forcing New Information To Stick In The Brain

I copied a couple of my HB Rubber toys to see what I could glean for future use. (HB characters make the best toys)
I took two characters and turned them to see what general characteristics they had in common,
and what features were specific to the particular design of each. Whatever they had in common might tell me about what happens to cartoon faces when rotated - and more, what happens when toys of cartoon faces turn in space. It's even more 3d than a model sheet turnaround.

A couple days later, I tested myself to see if I actually learned anything. Could I reproduce anything I studied? If not, then the study would be for naught.
I also wanted to know not just how to reproduce superficially something visual that I memorized - but more important, did I understand what I supposedly learned? The eye copies what something looks like on the surface, but it takes the brain to comprehend it. That's the trickier part for me. Why does something look the way it does? - not just what does it look like?

crappy one

I absorbed some of what I studied, but not completely, so I went back and drew the toy again, this time trying to get a more accurate copy and to ram the info into my brain.

Could I make a drawing that feels like a toy and not just a 2 dimensional drawing of the characters as they appear in cartoons? I'd have to have an understanding of what makes a character look like a toy.

I tried drawing toy versions of toys that don't exist to test my understanding.

They aren't exaggerated enough yet to satisfy my goal.

Plastic Toys Have Seams
Then I tried drawing what the characters might look like as plastic toys, which have their own unique properties.

It is my opinion that study and drawing practice is a good thing - but only if you force yourself to try to understand what you are studying - and then to apply it to original drawings that aren't copies of something right in front of your face.

Some day Bill and Joe will call from Heaven and let me design a bunch of Hanna Barbera toys - and in the wrong colors. Then all my studies will have had a noble purpose.


RooniMan said...

No Boo-Boo rubber toy? Blasphemy!

Alberto said...

I need to git me some rubber toys! That Fred Flinstone is just ready to pop right out of the page.

zmerrill said...

Pretty good stuff there! Wrong color Hanna-Barbera toys would be nice!

Luis María Benítez said...

Very interesting. I'm following the practices too.

akira said...

man, i want to figure out how to transfer to the alternate dimension where you had a sweeter contract with Nick for R&S and right now ran your own toy empire (in the way that Todd McFarlane does)... (that just made me wonder to myself, if Nick wanted to, could they make a R and S 3d computer animated movie?)

Anonymous said...

Oh man. Too bad I don't have any access to the cool Hanna-Barbera toys that you have. It's way harder to try drawing them from your computer screen or printing the photos out then if you had the toy right in front of you.

Isaac said...

The Boo Boo toy design is too scary... it should look more like the mouse toy, cute and friendly.

Scrawnycartoons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Britt said...

I think might try that too.

Here are some other studies I did John. Always appreciate advise.

my link

Niki said...

I actually think about most of my drawings this way! I really liked the thought of animating a show where the characters looked like toys. Like Toy Story without CG.

Anonymous said...

These are superb - like you say, they have way more 'pop' than cartoony drawings. Great technique of active rather than passive learning - much more efficient. Your drawings are humbling!

Scrawnycartoons said...

Sorry for leaving two comments and for going off topic but some guy made a spumco forum. I just registered and thought it could be fun.

btw you drawing of a Boo boo toy at the bottom looks like it wants to eat my skin. Cool!