Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bill, Joe and Friz sound off pt 2

Hear the radical thoughts of 3 of the most conservative directors from the golden age of animation!

Animation School Lesson 5 - Line Of Action, Silhouettes
Click the link to get a nice big hi rez version of the page above.

Hi students. You've been doing great on the construction lessons, so now it's time to learn another important principle: Line of Action.

This principle is different than construction in that it is not based on tangible reality.
Everything in real life has construction.
Line of action is an artistic concept that sometimes by accident happens in real life but not always.

BUT! It is an important tool for artists.

Line of action helps your poses "read". It makes them clear and understandable and gives them a distinct non-ambiguous direction.

Here are some examples of strong line-of-action in the poses from classic cartoons.
Lines of action can be obvious and exaggerated as in this pose above from Kitty Kornered and the one below of Tinkerbell.

Note how the details follow the line of action and don't go in opposite directions.Here above is a more subtle line of action in the body pose of Wart, the character from Sword In The Stone. Look how the artist combines solid construction with a flowing line of action to create a solid and clear easy to read attitude.
When drawing your line of action-use another principle to help the line of action read even more clearly.

SILHOUETTE: See how the frame above combines construction, line of action and clear silhouettes to make an easy to read composition-even without having any details in the drawings.

How do you get a clear silhouette?
See the empty spaces between the arms and legs and major forms in the drawings above? Those are negative shapes. They are as important to your drawing as the positive shapes. They help make the silhouette read.

All the drawings above-the Preston Blair page, the Clampett frames and the Disney drawings are using the same basic principles. They superficially look different in style but to the trained eye, only slightly different.

The Clampett drawings are looser and more flowing and rounder, while the Disney drawings are more angular-but they all use the eaxct same fundamental principles.

Today, sadly these fundamentals have mostly disappeared.

Most cartoon characters now are rigid, they stand straight up and down, have no clear silhouettes, no construction, no line of action and no design at all. Characters now look like pieces of broken glass that don't fit together and certainly don't flow around the forms and line of action of the characters.

But you can do better.

Copy all the Preston Blair poses-using the same methods you did the construction drawings and then check them in photoshop against the originals to see where you are off.

Then when you are getting close to getting those accurate, try copying the Clampett and Disney drawings.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beautiful People 19 - from memory

Usually I draw my caricatures out of the tabloids, like these 2 below.

While waiting for Eddie to arrive at my favorite pizza place-Lido's in Van Nuys, I doodled up these folk from memory.

You get a different kind of caricature when you draw from memory, maybe more cartoony and more of the essence of the person, because you are not distracted by a lot of details in the photographs.

If you saw the show on Sunday, then post a comment down below this post!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fan caricatures 1

Here's some folks with taste that ordered caricatures from me:

Brianna-daughter of the Famous Aimee!

If you have received yours yet, post it and I'll link to you.

Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When Cartoons Evolved 3 - First Bugs Bunnies

Here's the first Bugs Bunny cartoon - made by "Bugs" Hardaway and Cal Dalton in 1938.Here he is in a typical calm Bugs Bunny pose.
Here he is laughing the Woody Woodpecker laugh 2 years before Woody was created.

..still doing magic.

This cartoon is basically a remake of Porky's Duck Hunt with some proto Bugs traits just starting to emerge. He's kinda like Daffy Duck-really wacky but with some underplayed scenes that predict Bugs' future.

Here's Chuck Jones using the early proto Bugs in a cartoon from 1938 Presto Changeo
He's not the star of the cartoon and is basically a magician's rabbit.

Here's another Hardaway and Dalton Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare-um Scare-um - 1939.
His design is starting to look like the Bugs we all know. His voice is sort of like the retarded early Barney Rubble.
A typical Bugs Bunny routine.
Here he is invoking mock sympathy - making fun of pathos. A very Warner Bros. type of irreverence-very anti-Disney.

To remind you of an important point I made last post: In the old days, artists evolved their ideas constantly. The character designs would change from cartoon to cartoon, director to director and in some cartoons, from scene to scene!

These 3 cartoons here represent 18 minutes of Bugs Bunny's development-that's less than a half hour cartoon. Today's cartoons are frozen in time. They barely change at all over 100s of half hours. The world is opposed to creativity today.

70 years ago, creativity and rapid progress were just taken for granted.

You have to be raised in an uncreative environment in order to blindly accept how bland everything is today.

The difference between a generation that grew up in the 1930s and a generation that has grown up in the 70s or later is stark.

When my parents first saw some modern prime-time cartoons they said instantly: "I can draw better than that." That should be the obvious conclusion.

Here, Evan has provided proof that modern cartoons evolve:

Year 1

10 years later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Animation School Lesson 4 - 2 legged characters-full body

Blogger won't let me upload images and hasn't for a couple days.
I have new posts ready except for the pictures.
Computer torture!

OK, now you know the procedure for copying and learning. Apply the same procedure to drawing these simple two-legged typical 40s cartoon characters.

Note that they both have "pear-shaped" bodies. This was pretty common in old cartoons. Bugs, Daffy, Tom and Jerry, Mickey, Donald all have slight variations on the pear shaped body. Once you understand how to make the basic shape, you can then apply it to variations in proportions for other characters.


Step a- MEASURE PROPORTIONS -how many heads tall is the character you are copying?

Step b - Mark proportions on your drawing paper. Match the proportions you are copying.

Step 1 - Draw line of action (we haven't covered this yet, but just do what Preston does in his step 1)

Step 2- Rough in the basic forms of the character.

Step 3 Draw center lines through the forms that wrap around the shape of the forms.

Step 4 - Draw basic forms of next level of details-eyes, arms, hands, feet, legs

Step 5- Draw smallest details- make them follow the forms that they sit on:
Pupils sit on eyes AND FOLLOW THE SHAPE AND POSITION OF THE EYES- they don't exist as little unvarying dots as in The Simpsons and many other cartoons today. Look in the mirror and watch the shape of your pupils change as you move your eyes.
hairs sit on head
Shirt wraps around body

Pear shaped bodies aren't the only kind of body, but they are the simplest and will help you understand the basic concepts of:
Flowing details that wrap around construction

Once you start to get a handle on that, we can try other types of shapes and forms.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Animation School Lesson 3 - how to check your copies-PROPORTION

All these characters below have the same head construction. Then why do they look like different characters? The proportions of the shapes that make up their heads are different. Slight differences in proportions make a huge difference in the look of something. (They also have different details-ears, hair, etc.)

I've been looking at everybody's copies of the Preston Blair book and I see improvement already in all your work!

Preston is a magician.

Here's a big tip:
When you copy something you want to get is as accurate as you can. You need to train your eye to see mistakes. There's no room for interpretation when you are copying.

Here's a method to easily check your copies. Remember this word: PROPORTION

Part of what makes a character look like who it is, is its proportions. MANY characters can have the same construction, but they have different proportions-like Elmer Fudd and Coal Black and Peter Pan and Pinnochio-all those folks are the exact same construction! -THEY ARE MADE UP OF THE SAME TYPES OF FORMS-A BIG ROUND CRANIUM AND A SMALL BABY JAW.

1) Bring your drawings into Photoshop.
2) Bring Preston's drawings that you copied into the same Photoshop file.
3) Re-size the Preston drawings to match the size of yours.
4) Put the drawings next to each other.
5) Make notes of how your drawing differs from Preston's
6) Make a copy of the Preston drawing and lay it on top of yours on a layer
7) Make the layer transparent so you can see through it to yours.
8) Make more notes on where yours differs from Preston's.
9) Redraw your copy, this time trying to fix the mistakes you found.

This fella's copy is pretty good, so there isn't a lot to correct. Some other artists are less accurate.


Keep at it and then come help me change the cartoon world in a few years!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Animation School Lesson 2 -Squash and Stretch on heads

OK, here we go kids. If you haven't already drawn all the drawings from lesson 1, then don't proceed to this lesson. You need to already have a firm grasp of solid construction before you can start stretching the crap out of your drawings. Otherwise they will look like mush.

Preston makes an important point in his notes: The top of the head (the cranium) is not as pliable as the bottom half (the jaw, cheeks and mouth).
This is based on reality.
Real living heads are constructed of 2 parts:
1 The cranium.
In real life it stays solid because it is made of bone.
2 The jaw.
It is also solid and made of bone-but it can MOVE. And when it moves, it stretches the skin with it.
Got it?

Take a look at this average typical man.

That's the basic concept you need to understand when you start drawing different expressions on your constructed characters.
When something opens its mouth, 2 things happen:
1) The jawbone lowers, thus stretching the skin.
2) The lip muscles stretch into different shapes according to the expression.

In an old cartoon, a lot of characters don't actually have jaws-like this Preston Blair dog. Instead he has a cartoony stylized version of a jaw. It's just a balloon that stretches when the mouth is open and squashes when the mouth is closed.

It suggests what happens in reality but is not physically the same as having actual bones in your head.

So my point is-even though it's not real-it still has to feel natural in order to have a convincing effect on the audience.

Note how in the drawings at the top of the page, the dog isn't even opening his mouth yet his jaw squashes and stretches anyway.
This is a cartoon invention, based on another thing that happens in reality.

When you smile, your smile pushes your cheeks up towards your eyes and compresses them.

When you frown, your smile lines pull your cheeks down, making your cheeks look longer.

OK, now that you understand the concepts of squash and stretch and why things stretch when they do-remember it's not arbirtary distortion-go ahead and start copying all the drawings on this page.

IMPORTANT EXTRA TIP! When stretching and squashing something, try to maintain the basic VOLUME of what you are distorting. This will help keep your animation drawings looking natural.Remember to use construction when drawing! Don't draw straight ahead!

If you don't know what construction is yet go back and do lesson 1: