Monday, April 21, 2008

Mars Here On Earth

As I have mentioned before, we cartoonists and animators easily fall into creative cliches and artistic ruts, by drawing the same things the same ways over and over again for years. (We are encouraged to do that by non-creative management and a broken production system, so it's not completely our fault, but we also are slaves to trends unless we will ourselves to go against all that is conservative and holy.

We get stuck drawing the same stock expressions, poses and character designs and don't even realize it.

This applies also to background artists. You can see the same stock trees, plants, houses in tons of cartoons. Trees are always the same brown, sky is always the same blue, foliage and grass is always the same green.

The only way to break out of this pattern of animation sameness, is to observe the world. Take a trip to Mars if you can afford it.We went to the Huntington Library last year and took a bunch of pictures of their desert exhibit. You can't believe how weird and varied the life forms of just one environment are!
The way they have landscaped it is like a tour of evolution. You can see certain types of forms in each area and then a million variations of the forms. Like these cacti that are flattened star forms stacked on top of each other.Here's a Martian star cacti with pubic hair.

If you are a painter, you can get a ton of color ideas and break out of the primary, secondary pouring colors straight out of the tubes cartoon palette.

If you don't want to draw stock flat cheat designs anymore, you can study the hierarchy of forms in infinite varieties. (I'll do a post about this soon)
Textures also come in a thrilling variety.

How many times do you draw the exact same bark texture on your trees? Go out and look at how many different really interesting kinds of bark there are. (In Canada all cartoon background objects , not just trees, have the exact same surface texture, trees, houses, dirt, mountains are all covered with the same Sheridan College Layout Class surface itch.)

How many colors can you find just in these rocks alone?

Humans and Martians also come in many forms.