Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Private Lessons

I started giving private lessons to a fellow named Tommy who moved out to LA from the midwest to pursue his dream of being a top Hollywood cartoonist and getting beaten down by the man. I ran into him at the supermarket the day he arrived and he dropped his eggs all over the floor and did a Tex Avery take. "You're....HIM..." Jesus. I almost called the manager. Then he demanded lessons. I took him under my wing last week and gave him 2 hours of instruction, making him draw in front of me, then going over the drawings myself. Then I sent him home with a couple assignments to practice. Here are his practice sketches after lesson 1.
I am starting him on basic construction.
I made him draw lots of hands. Hands are difficult.

second batch
Tommy is studying basic cartoon construction and I can see he is undrstanding it.. Next I will help him refine these:

Proportions: Seeing and measuring them
Line Quality: Drawing a bit less rough
Negative Space: Seeing it and not shrinking it- making space your friend

You can't draw enough hands. Hands are tricky. Luckily Preston Blair has devoted a whole page to simplified hands in many positions. I recommend to anyone having trouble drawing hands to copy all the PB hands- and try to understand the logic of the way they are constructed- rather than just memorizing each position.

Then when you get confidence in copying PB's hands, look at some real hands and see if you can simplify them into carton shapes. That way you'll se if you understand how they are constructed and will be able to focus on the forms while ignoring all the complicated details: knuckles, wrinkles, hairs, veins etc.

I also gave him tips:
Stay organized: keep track of everything you draw, and store different things in folders
Clean your workspace every day: Don't leave a giant mess on your desk at the end of the day. You will waste valuable time next day hunting through the mess trying to find what you need.
Write Down Everything You Learn and Observe: The more you write don what you are doing, the better the concepts stick to your brain.
Apply what you learn to your own work: I can't tell you how many people study things, and then ignore them in their own work. It's a mystery to me that I will never fathom, but if you make a conscious effort to do it then all your studies will be rewarded by better drawing, a wdier pallette and maybe even a style of your own some day.