Saturday, January 23, 2016

Forceful Figure Cartooning

Jack Cole sequence from Plastic Man, 1950

We look at a lot of classic cartooning in the Figure Drawing for Cartoonists course.

Warmup studies by Gil Kane
Mac Raboy model sheet showing figure as descending rhythm of wedges

Opposing figure designs by Heinrich Kley, 1909
I feel that many comic artists run into trouble when they draw by constructing solid body parts-- head, neck, arms, etc.-- and attaching them together to make a person. The results are often stiff and dead seeming, however realistic they may appear on the surface.

 In this course, we pursue the goals of drawing with vitality, clarity, and solidity, in that order. I talk about planes and the illusion of transverse volume, skeletal joint breaks in the creation of legible silhouettes, and stress the importance of subordinating those concerns to the creation of forceful, unified gestures.

Harvey Kurtzman layouts beside Will Elder finishes, for Help #1, 196?. Students are challenged to compare the images and come up with their own interpretation.

I assign a crazy menu of figure drawing challenges designed to drive those skills home, treating each as a game with a unique set of rules. We sketch, for example, from photos of animals fighting, to find the main lines of action, the leading edges, the forceful shapes.

We apply the concepts to classic cartoon characters.

Preston Blair cartooning instruction
The new session begins Wednesday. The last day to sign up is Monday, I believe. Don't delay!

John Stanley sequence from 13 Going on 18, 1963

No comments: