Monday, October 25, 2010

The Mouth Area

In reality, the mouth area seems monstrously complicated. All the details flow in and out of each other and are intricately connected.
It's a far cry from the TV style "realistic" flat floating mouths. Whatever is appealing about real life is totally lost when translated into animation.Anime mouths go out of their way to exist completely independently of the heads they are supposed to be part of, which is kinda funny.
I'm trying to take all the wrinkles, muscles, details and break them down into the most basic forms.

The more wrinkly or muscly someone is, the more complex and difficult it is to keep track of what wrinkle attaches to what crease or muscle.

30 comments:

David Gale said...

Rupert Murdoch has a great face for analyzing all that stuff that goes on around a mouth.

HenriekeG said...

This is why I usually draw cartoon animals.

J C Roberts said...

Right after this topic was brought up in the recent Arnold post I came across one of his movies on TV. Just watching one quick scene and studying the mouth in motion, I saw he has a few "layers" of muscles at the sides, alternating in prominence as he changed expressions.

They were all involving the kinds of creases and buldges that are difficult to simplfy into line drawings or animation. For what it's worth, I always found many of the mouths in Ren & Stimpy were some of the most expressive ones I've seen at that cartoon level of detail.

Blitzen said...

Nyeh. Every mouth I draw is a slightly curved line. Screw realism.

marcushelbling said...

Keep up the great work, John!

Rooniman said...

I laughed at the anime mouths cause it's true, their mouths are floating all over the place.

Sly said...

What's especially funny is when anime character's mouths are open, but they have lips on the side of their face.

Martin Juneau said...

Their mouths movements is somewhat the most hilarious piece they made for Anime. Sadly, everyone imitate this nowadays for no reasons.

Sketchtacular said...

Nice post, I hate anime mouths.

Daniel said...

Great studies John. When you figure this stuff out you should a post about, so I don't have to... :P

Daniel said...

Great studies!

Dubious Duck said...

Don't mind me asking this but why do you throw American animation under the bus in favor of Anime? In this countries prime back in the thirties and forties we were light years ahead of anything that the Japanese have ever produced.

Dubious Duck said...

I mean no offense, its just that I would really like to see America make a comeback.

The Butcher said...

Do you think maybe anime mouths are the way they are because the artists just get lazy and not want to control the form in 3 dimensional space?

Maybe there's a cultural difference and it's seen as funny or cute in Japan.

Luke said...

Hey John, on the crokked smirk, the high cheek are needs to squash up farther than the other, doesn't it? It does on my face.

JohnK said...

You would think so, but I copied a photo and that's pretty much what it looked like.

Bill said...

Anime mouths are easier to draw and animate since you draw the head, then the mouth.

This and other time-cutting techniques have become a habit in the indusrty because animes are made on short time schedules.

Leedar said...

Wrinkly faces might be more complicated, but don't you think they make it easier to show form?

That's why I have grief with drawing young female faces; you add a line to try and show that their faces aren't completely flat and they look 10-20 years older.

It feels almost impossible to show adequate levels of form using basic ink lines without rendering or making everyone look middle-aged.

***

I've never understood why Japanese artists often cop-out on the face, when they put so much effort into everything else (cultural gripes aside).

kurtwil said...

Ahhh, there's so much more life in these sketches than the evil CGI FrankenYogi has in its entire flick.
Great sketch pointers here too.
Thanks for sharing!

Mitch K said...

Great studies!

EalaDubh said...

Absolutely the WORST cartoon mouths were the mid-80s ones American shoes outsourced to Japan, that tried to look distinctively 'real' but weren't. Egon Spengler from The Real Ghostbusters springs immediately to mind, because those prominent lips coupled with that pointy immobile chin made it impossible not to seem like he was able to swallow his own face.

Lohen said...

The first pic reminds me like a real Popeye.

Luke said...

Interesting John, must not the person maybe wasn't happy enough. Moutsh are certainly the one thing that makes or breaks a life drawing for me, Well, among other things. How the thigh connects to the torso is hard for me to grasp. You should be a police sketch artist.

drawingtherightway said...

You would think so, but I copied a photo and that's pretty much what it looked like.

This must complicate things further because this means that not all the rules can be applied to everyone's faces. I guess it's not too much of a problem as long as you have a picture of the person making the specific expression you want for reference.

SoleilSmile said...

You taught me to watch out and make sure my characters had a chin. I am forever grateful to you for the advice :)

Martin Juneau said...

Years ago, the CRTC having in their plans a station devoted only to the Japanese Anime shows but now it's like we will never have. With the forced retirement of Anime in YTV and the ridiculous snobbism of Teletoon to air nothing about Anime (And i can say, ThunderCats is not a anime, even if it's animated by Japanese.), they will never see the light of the day.

Off-subject, but if you have Teletoon French, they started to air My Life Me. But it's totally unbearable. All of this shit is made for mocked to real Anime like Animaniacs ridiculised the traditional animation. It's by there we want to teach young Canadians to Anime? Luckily, they know the real ones thanks to the mangas they read in full-pack.

BTW; My Life Me is not a japanese cartoon, it's a French-Canadian cartoon who try to be Anime.

Davis Chino said...

Love this focus on structure.

Great studies, but I wonder if you're fully appreciating the role of the "node" in the shape surrounding the mouth? It's that fleshy wad at the corner of the mouth--a fibrous jelly-bean shape that anchors the zygomaticus to the orbicularis oris (a rare case of a muscle "inserting" onto another muscle and not a bone, and one of the reasons muscular interactions around the mouth are so complex).

This is one of the reasons extreme facelifts look so unsettling--the stretching from the corner of the mouth obliterates the natural mass of the node--it's still under there, but the skin is stretched unnaturally across it, and doesn't allow for the natural bunching/sagging/bulging.

EalaDubh said...

"The first pic reminds me like a real Popeye."

Actually, it reminds me of John McCain.

pappy d said...

Great studies!

Vincent O. Moh said...

See, many Japanese anime are intentionally designed to be cheaply animated and produced as quickly as possible. It's a problem when comic artists mistakenly think that the style they seen on run of the mill anime should be a grand pinnacle art form to be emulated.

They should instead look at the more avant-garde stuff and expensive productions to find and take in more interesting stuff