Monday, May 15, 2017

Cartooning from the Model

As the name indicates, my Figure Drawing for Cartoonists course at SVA alternates between three subjects. Some days we focus on the figure-- the skeleton, muscle groups, feature spacing, forces, dynamism,... Other days it's about the rules of drawing-- creating illusions of depth and form in perspective, effective staging of poses,... And some days are for cartoonists-- methods of figure construction, cartooning styles, body language, costumes, and the comic format.

My favorite session is the one where we have a costumed model perform with props while the students improvise a comic short story. We begin with a close look at the work of Alex Toth, who mastered the art of integrating inventive panel compositions with speech balloons and other graphic elements. Students are given five minutes per panel to format their life drawings into comic pages with impromptu dialog, captions, motion lines and sounds.

I usually carve out time to take part in this exercise for the reason that it's really, really fun. This latest example doesn't quite cohere, but it's still a pleasure to try matching snappy dialogue to effective camera angles.

Come say hi at the SVA info session this Thursday. Figure Drawing for Cartoonists runs on Wednesdays starting June 7. There's also Inking Comics on Tuesdays and Cartooning Basics on Thursdays.

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