Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rasputin the cat - Design theories

People seem to like it when I blab on about design theories so here are some more.
These are some cat designs I did for another movie concept of mine. I think these are a good example of doing your homework for a design. I had to look at lots of photos of cats and actually sketch my own cats from life. I wanted to have an evil looking cat. I've always like the angles that occur when a cat strikes a pose. I found a breed of giant Russian house cats that was very long and lean with very pronounced angular shapes. Then I worked out the shapes in rough sketches based on the anatomy then exaggerated and caricatured the subject adding the expression and attitude the character portrays.
And most important, especially in this case, the silhouette!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chris Allison asked me about how I work so I thought I'd post my answers.

I've got a question about how you approach these dev sketches. did you gather a whole bunch of reference for this? one of my cartoonist buddies has a great memory and remembers what everything looks like. I always draw blanks and gotta go find reference. Is this a muscle that you exercise somehow, or do you just have an extensive library of sample ref materials or what? I'm pokin around like there's some big secret when it's probably that I just need to start drawing a wider variety of things and trying to build my memory of what they look like.

Well Chris you shouldn't feel alone. I think everybody feels like this and struggles to find the secret to drawing. I sit down and do about a hundred drawings until I start liking one or two. Then I force myself to focus on shapegrouping. That's finding funny shapes that work well together and trying different variables. It helps to start really small and simple so as not to get hung up with details. Sometimes I try to draw too well and get all hung up on one character. If I get stuck or don't have any ideas I search around looking at other people's work and examine what I like about their drawings and try to break it down into the simplest elements. It's really OK to learn from the work of others. I get really sick of the way I draw and I need inspiration just like everybody else.
I always have to remind myself to stop trying so hard and just relax and do a lot of scribbling. I find that using a pencil sometimes makes me too careful and to precious with my drawings. Often I will grab a bic ballpoint and start drawing quick and dirty. You know you can't erase and you are free to fuck up and often I get my best drawings this way. I used to do whole storyboards really small with ballpoints. I got some of my funniest drawings that way.

These pirates below are inspired by Tex Avery. If you really look at them you can see my inspiration. There's nothing wrong with that. I decided not to use these because they are a little too much like existing characters but they make good studies. Every time you draw something new aspects of that style and the "hooks" in it become part of your bag of tricks. Like when you learn to play a song on the guitar the chops are yours to use forever. The trick is to always mix and match styles so as not to get too hung up on one particular style.