Sunday, March 18, 2012

Giving Personality to your Cartoons

A good cartoon in my opinion should be able to "be read" by any person regardless of what language they speak. In order to achieve this, in toons involving two or more characters, the personalities of each character should be so distinct that the reader should be able to not only make up their own dialogue that fits the visual situation, but also clearly identify the subtie nuance of personality. Study any Disney film and freeze frame a scene. You will always see the intangible nuance of personality, intention, and character displayed in the body language or facial expression. You develop this ability to capture this by exploring your own emotions, and getting into yourself" without a doubt, all goid animators and character designers are great actors and actresses as well.

REAL life Drawing by subwaysurfer

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, there is no substitute fr REAL life drawing. By this I mean drawing that is taken out of the sanitized environment of the professional classroom or studio, where a nude man or woman contorts themselves in unnatural positions, or poses". The real drawing takes place in the unpredictable real world, on the subways, in the parks, in the coffee shops where people are moving, gesturing and reacting in natural ways. Your ability to do character design or caricature will sharpen to a razors edge if you make this part of your daily practice.


"So,...did you do your tribute to Davy Jones?" blurted out an artist friend of mine over coffee,the other day, reminding me that Davy had recently passed away. As you might expect, that is, if you're as old as I am to even remember Davy Jones, our conversation turned to jokes about the sixties TV show, "The Moneys" starring Jones and tge rest of the band, as well as that famous episode where he made an appearance on the seventies sitcom, "The Brady Bunch", because Marsha Brady (Maureen Mc cormick)was his "number one fan!" Of course I was gonna do a caricature tribute to Davy Jones I responded enthusiastically, thoughts of drawing him with the body of a monkey, using a banana for a microphone dancing in my mad caricaturist brain.... I immediately went to work on the picture then realized that I had completely forgotten what Davy looked like. I kinda remembered the thick busy eyebrows, big teeth and "Prince Valiant-esque bowl the hair doo" he sported back in the day, but wanted to get an accurate picture of him rather than rely on memory.

Thank God for Google Images! How dud we artists ever survive without it?! Within seconds My iPad screen was full of wall to wall pictures of Jones.

Wow... He got old!...

I know aging is a part of life, I mused, stroking my salt and pepper goatee, but it's still amazing how we still expect our adolescent icons to remain exactly the way they were when we stopped watching their tV shows.

I found the sixties Davy Jones picture I'd been imagining. But then became more intrigued with the older, more contemporary pictures if Jones. While it was true that he had gotten older, he nevertheless had aged very well. He didn't look used up and drugged out like so many stars look like these days. His eyes still had that sparkle, he was a little heavier but not what I'd consider obese, and...darn it, he had all his hair! And styled in a way that framed his face beautifully.

I was so impressed by this distinguished look that I decided to honor Davy's memory by drawing mire of a caricature portrait, leaving out the humor altogether.

I chose to use my new toy, a red China Marker to do the job, and absolutely loved the result.

Drawing Davy'sportrait was mire fun than a barrel of moniker, and without the annoying smell!