Saturday, December 7, 2013


Continuing my lesson on making characters more flexible:

3) Another trick to keep the figure a subject of interest was used heavily by artists and sculptors during the Italian Renaissance: contrapposto. While the top part of the body faces one direction, the hips are twisted in another. This is especially effective in sculpture, because the figure forms a beautiful 'picture' from whichever direction the spectator views it. In drawings, the technique is rather snake-like in appearance, creating an unpredictability; one never knows how the figure will 'end up' from head to toe.


4) One can also occasionally strive to indicate that the viewer's POV is slightly above or below all or part of the figure, as in my attached glenda.jpeg, where the POV is definitely from below, giving a unique, foreshortened angle to the shoulders, breasts and skirt.

This gives your audience a surprise, keeping its interest. The quality I aim for in my own cartooning is surprise; in composition; in figures; in content.
 It should be remembered that as we discuss all this twisting and turning, a stiff, doll-like approach to the figure can still be used to great effect. I use it  in the sketch below. This type of stance provide a bald expose of the character's essentials. "Here I am, now what are you gonna do about it?"

After these words, I apply comments, hints, and quick sketches to three of the student's own drawings: "The legs of the figure in the foreground lack construction, bulging in a way that suggests improvisation[---]wonderful in itself, but in my quick-n-dirty jotting, I've gone a bit literal and indicated more definite shapes & joints to them. They are unrealistic, but supple because they are constructed in pieces with joints connecting them. A more definite illusion of walking could be achieved by indicating the slightest swing to the arms. The head is cast slightly downward, and there's more of a lean to the body. The waist is bent forward, and therefore, the line indicating division of shirt& pants is curved as if seen from above."

"For my sketch addressing your pedestrian [---], I've employed a lower POV as mentioned in the lesson. The man's shoulder closest to us is higher than the other. Arms and legs are all given slight inward curves to indicate that they have weight and are being lifted. The cuffs of his shirt and pants resist slightly, and hang down, also being of matter, and therefore, weight."

If you are interested in lessons from an affable 30+ year cartooning veteran, please PM me at; $25 per lesson/subject.
Bill Tytla's showy, mobile, comedic drawings were a heavy influence on the Terrytoons 'style' from the early 1930s thru to the late 1950s. It can be observed in Jim Tyer's work in particular. Sequence from BLUEBEARD'S BROTHER. (Click pic.)
Twistingly Yours, MK


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