Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stiff Warm Ups and Studies

I am slowly, painstakingly trying to beat new information into my brain.
2 things I have been working on are facial structure and legs - with attention to balanced poses and how they work. Like many cartoonists, my eye lies to me a lot and I naturally draw things out of proportion.
I think I am just beginning to understand how the major facial muscles and features interrelate with each other. The curves all weave in and out of each other in an organized, logical pattern. For example, the cheek starts under the eye socket, puffs out and then weaves into the smile, then reverses direction and aims into the top of the chin under the lip. I have been faking it for decades, as many cartoonists do. One day I might actually do it from memory where it makes some sense.
I missed it in the drawings below.
Legs Feet BalanceAnother mystery that has plagued me forever, is how to draw natural and balanced female poses. It seems an immense and complex problem. Just drawing a leg or a foot in even one position is difficult, but then to understand how they look from every angle, and in what degree of tension...
I find that it's not enough to just draw and copy things. I have to try to understand the why of what things look like. Otherwise I am just making superficial copies of a specific pose without being able to draw other poses later.
So when I am copying, I look for knowledge and understanding. Not just the specific shapes I am copying, but the general forms and relationships causing the specific shapes. I try to find things that make some sense and then write them down in the hopes I remember them and can put them to use later.
I don't have the greatest memory, so I have to do lots and lots of drawings, studies and analysis. I need my own personal tutor who'll fix all my drawings and tel me exactly what's wrong with them and correct them in front of me.

I envy the artists who seem to understand the sense of anatomy and perspective through instinct and feeling. There aren't many. Frank Frazetta's one of them. He has some otherwordly gift. - Owen Fitzgerald's another. These two artists don't just copy and repeat stock cartoon shapes and poses; they customize every pose and angle to the scene.

I'm not sure why I want to know all this stuff. There are many famous cartoonists who had successful careers and made entertaining cartoons without ever doing natural poses - even cartoonists who are renowned for their human drawings - like Al Capp and Milton Caniff. Don't get me wrong; they are both talented storytellers and stylists, but like many cartoonists - stiff.