Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tommy's Lesson 1

I started by explaining the most fundamental parts of good cartoon drawing:

1) Construction:
I pointed out that the center lines that slice through forms are not parallel to the edges of the forms.
I pointed out that on a 3/4 view you see more of the side of the head and face than from the front view (which many young cartoonists don't realize).
Here are very simply explained facial mechanics. When you smile, you cheeks push up. When you frown they pull down. The mouth goes with them. So does the rest of the face, but to a lesser degree.

Rule of thumb: Whatever causes an action pulls everything else along with it. The farther away from the cause of the action a part is, the less it is affected.

Example: If you throw a punch, the fist is the main part of the action, but your arm pulls your shoulder and your back, your torso, hips and right down to your feet. Everything moves but to different degrees.
Here is a common mistake I see even among professionals. When you draw hairs, make sure they are on top of the form and don't cut holes into it.
Once you have a basic understanding of what construction is for, then you should learn to pull your forms along a definite line of action. This is so that the whole character portrays an attitude or emotion with body language.

A line of action is not merely a curved line...
A vertical "C" line of action is no line of action. If the head on shoulders are sitting on top of the ass, then the character has no direction.

A line of action is like an arrow. It has to point somewhere, forward or back. The chest has to be either forward or behind the ass. Remember: Keep Chest and Ass in different longitudes.

Another important concept" Lines are less important than forms. Lines are merely the borders of forms.
When drawing one line on one side of something, look all around the form so that you aim the lines to enclose a whole form inside.

I gave Tommy some exercises to study and practice after his first lesson.
Tommy's exercises and practice drawings after lesson 1.


Tommy hates drawing this baby. But I make him do it for his own good because so many characters use elements of its construction.

I recommend to everyone that you draw the whole page of Preston Blair hands. Hands are difficult to draw and learning their basic simple forms will subtract many years of misery from a cartoonist.


Tommy pays good money for these lessons, and has generously agreed to share them with other young cartoonists who want to unlock the mysteries of good cartooning. You can have them and more for a mere paltry donation. Of course you can have them for free if you are a dirty rat.

Here are some wonderful folks who are definitely getting into heaven.





Buy your indulgences here:






http://johnkcurriculum.blogspot.com/

34 comments:

John said...

Massive thanks John this is real helpful.

I think I'm getting there slowly with my drawing, there is definite improvement from when I started learning 9 months ago.

I wondered if you could give me advice.. I have started to try and do some animation. Now it's just me in my bedroom so I have no in-betweeners or clean up guys.

Each time I try to animate I spend ages cleaning up my pencil lines and then I seem to get out of the flow and forget what I'm animating. Do you think I should do ruffs? real ruff, fast and frenetic, and then clean up later if I feel like it?

Steven M. said...

Great job, Tommy. Your on the road to greatness.

mr paal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eidenbrock said...

when my paycheck comes in, you can expect 10 bucks!

Forbidden Hippo said...

More great info.

Alright, so I have been making it my duty to not let a day go by where I don't spend a few hours drawing, mostly copying pictures from my Preston Blair book. I am very slow and still don't quite understand everything I'm looking at but I feel like I am improving. This website has been my biggest inspiration and I am very grateful for the information you share with the world.

It is important to me that I have my drawings critiqued. I do not have my own scanner but I suppose it would not be too big of a hassle to find a friend who does.

John, what step do you recommend I take to further my education? I would be thrilled to be a part of the group you train. What do I need to do to make this happen? I love this art form and I want to be the best artist I can be.

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

I'll donate when I'm able to. I could not very well just learn so much vslueable information from your lessons. Even on non lessons.

Archie said...

Hey John, how much do i have to donate to get lessons?

lisa said...

John- I know how much you love Preston Blair, as do I. Several years ago, I was friends with the publisher who put out the PB animation book. I received a signed copy. Would you be at all interested in trading a sketch of Ren and Stimpy for the book? I'm a huge fan of your work. So let me know what you think. Thank you, Tony

Luke said...

So John, when you said the lines are not parrelel to the borders of the form, do you mean that they are not suppossed to be, or just that they were not in that picture. The center lines should always correspond to the shape, as opposed to always being circular, no?

JohnK said...

They should NOT be parallel.

they should be farthest apart around the widest part of the form and closest together near the top and bottom.

derivativecomics.com said...

Hey, Mr. K...

Have you seen http://www.drawingforce.com/ ? If you set up a pay site like this, with video demonstrations and a easy-to-remember monthly fee, I'd both pay and ruin a good pair of pants (from spontaneously sperming at the idea of such a site).

kurtwil said...

Once again, the Tommy lessons are fine stuff JK (thanks also to Tommy for sharing!). These kind of posts are one reason I keep coming to this blog, and will donate again next year once I know my financial situation.

As for "Pooberty Fist", very energetic story, for sure! Hopefully Spike TV or another "mans" network will greenlight it. Or might there be a ladies version of that story lurking somewhere?

zmerrill said...

So how can I learn more from the great John K?

Zoran Taylor said...

@JohnK- Thanks for the clarification. It did sorta sound like you were saying they shouldn't go in the same direction, which of course would make no sense.

TheGhoul said...

John can you do a article on exaggeration because on my characters, I tend to distort the face a lot with expressions.Perhaps Im getting too zany with it?Also Im struggling to try and find a good color scheme for my character.

Erik B said...

Hey John,

what kind of pencils do you use for those drawings, i see you use orange and blue pencils a lot in your drawings, are those special drawingpencils or just ordanairy coloringpencils?
and why do you use them?

drawingtherightway said...

Great post! Should we also use the skeleton foundation when drawing these or is that mainly for planning out original poses? Also in the Blair book it appears that in the construction drawings of the characters that he drew their limbs straight ahead... shouldn't we start out with simpler shapes such as cylinders or is his method alright to use?

JohnK said...

You can if it helps.

Mr. Tangent said...

@JohnK So I'm sure you get asked a lot, but whatever became of the Ultimate Box Set for Ren and Stimpy, preferably remastered (with all the missing stuff from the previous DVDs, on Blu-Ray)?

Oscar Grillo said...

All of this is quite sweet and useful but my advise is to run away from these type of conceptions and start to think, like the analitical cubists of the 1900's, in terms of images reflected in shatered mirrors. In the age of digital perfectionism, savage distortion is the only way to represent truth.

Eidenbrock said...

John- in the assignments, what did you mean by "Cartoons from real"?

Olivier Vuillemenot said...

I made a donation on august 12 but I'm not on the list ... Am I not eligible for Heaven ?

JohnK said...

Hi Oliver

if you did, then you must be on the last list.
Thanks!

John

JohnK said...

Ok I found it and put it in this post. Sorry!

Zoran Taylor said...

Mr. Grillo, with all due respect, people are here to LEARN. If Picasso saw you saying this stuff to people who are learning to draw, he'd konk you on the head. (He was just that kinda guy.....)

Zoran Taylor said...

*Remember, he's the one who said, "I spent my whole life learning to draw like a child".

Phil Willis said...

This is beyond genius!

Thanks so much.

Can you please make sure you update the links in the johnkcurriculum.blogspot.com blog as well.

It would be great to have an easy indexing of Tommy's lessons and progress for future visitors.

Keep up the great work.
--Phil

Olivier Vuillemenot said...

Thanks John !

david gemmill said...

what about opposing lines of action where the body and head are pointing one way and the legs are pointing in the opposite direction to balance. A lot of mickey's have those. is there any formula or rules to follow for a "break" in a line of action? (or like a sideways V)

Pedro Vargas said...

This is great information! Thanks for sharing, John! I never knew about the vertical "C" line of action as opposed to a line of action that points to a direction like an arrow, where the chest has to be either forward or behind the ass. Well, I guess that's always been pretty self-explanatory, but I've never noticed it when reading or hearing about it up until now. Man, there's so many things I have to learn! Thanks again!

Zoran Taylor said...

I second Mr. Gemmill's question. Some hints on that would be useful. Thanks!

zmerrill said...

Should line of action always be included in drawings whether there's a skeleton or not? Trying to clarify from the Preston Blair book.

smackmonkey said...

It's nice to see the progress of the young acolytes. To everyone - Keep up the good work!