The Man from E.G.G.

A place to put my time-wasting doodles, based upon the exercises outlined in the "How To Draw Animated Cartoons" book by Preston Blair.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yeah, But How?

I was exchanging e-mails with an actual animator-type fellow yesterday (Hiya, Gerard!) and he made the suggestion that it would help my drawing if I were to think of these things as three demensional objects, rather than a bunch of flat circles. Amazingly, I had read the same advice on (I think) Mark Meyerson's blog earlier that same day. (Hmm... Come to think of it, Gerard, Mark and even John K are all Canadians! Well, my folks were from Canada, so maybe there's hope yet!)
I agree with the concept but how does one do it? I thought drawing those guidelines around the various circumferences of the circle made it a sphere that could then be rotated in space. The attached features then rotate with the sphere, in perspective. Again, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated here!

As you can see, I didn't do any serious drawing last night. But as Jack Benny once famously said, "I'm thinking it over!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wolf! Wolf!

I spent Memorial Day trying to tame that snarling wolf head. I was only marginally more successful at this than the basset hound. The main culprit was the muzzle and getting a decent, toothy snarl.

Like the problem I had with drawing eyes, I noticed I kept over-inflating the muzzle. Yeah, it resulted in a nice, cartoony-looking character, but I need to get it down like in the book. I feel I made some progress toward that goal, unlike the previous non-Droopy debacle. I'll be revisiting these problem areas.

Cop-out time: I don't feel that I've really "mastered" anything yet. If this were a class with grades, the best I would hope for would be a "C-" for even my "best" efforts. I know I could work at my own pace and not try to move ahead until I've perfected each and every stage, but I do get anxious to move on.

In Buffalo, I learned to "rock" my car back-and-forth in order to get free of the ruts in a snowdrift. It was the only way to do it if I wanted to move forward. That's kind of how I'm approaching these lessons.

Wanted: One Bassett Hound

I got all fancy-schmancy and bought a set of "drawing pencils" and a pink pearl eraser Saturday. The idea was that I would use the hardest lead for the layouts and a softer lead to finish up. I also switched over to plain copy paper, as my nice parchment-y stationery supply finally petered out.

Then I decided to try to tackle the generic non-Droopy bassett hound. WOW! I just couldn't get it! I wasn't able to figure out how the basic construction shown results in the finished character. As noted, a big stumbling block was figuring out how the mouth/jaw is supposed to be constructed.


I went to the animationarchive site and snagged the actual DROOPY model. See what I mean about "where does the mouth go?" I'll try to work on the real Droopy next and then maybe I'll go back to pseudo-Droopy later on. (That first version of the book is da bomb!)

Friendly Friday

Well, I sat down Friday with the last sheet of cast-off letterhead staionery and my No. 2 pencil to draw some dog heads. Not much to report, other than my usual ear problems.

As you'll see, any warm, fuzzy feelings I might have had evaporated over the holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A "Toaster" Morning

What is a "toaster" morning? It's the kind of a morning where I find myself standing in the kitchen with a slice of bread in each hand. I'm standing in front of the toaster. I've been staring at the toaster for 15 minutes with only one hazy thought, "Now what was I gonna do?"

My daughter's broken out with some sort of splotches all over her legs and torso and she is very uncomfortable and cranky. Which is to say I spent every waking moment concentrating on her last night and zero time practicing my ovals and bunny ears. Mommy is taking her to the doctor's office this morning to find out what's up. Chicken Pox? Hives? Allergic Reaction? Fill In The Blank?

Update: Turns out that a trip to the doctor wasn't needed, as the splotches have just about completely faded away. One theory was that the new laundry detergent we switched to this week might be the culprit. Mommy is busy re-washing everything. Let's see how this festive holiday (Memorial Day in the USA) weekend goes...

So as to post something before my Friday - Sunday blackout, here are some stills from one of my favorite made-for-TV Popeye cartoons, "It Only Hurts When They Laugh." ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Extension Lines

klangley & bardhol mentioned extension lines in the comment section. Here, I have illustrated how I have been using extension lines in trying to tackle various characters. They're bothersome and they don't guarantee 100% pleasing results, but it helps me on an initial attempt. In short, it's not a tool to use for every drawing! Take a look.

As you can see I'm still working on the basics and trying to get comfortable with the concept of "bunny ears!"

Thanks or the comments & hints, BTW! Keep scribblin'...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Dog Ate It!

Good lord! I didn't work on any drawing exercises last night. I did precious little more than doodle with my daughter while I fed her dinner. So here it is...

I hope to do some more "serious" cartooning tonight.

P.S. My daughter also contributed to this masterpiece!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Progress of a sort...

I decided to really slow myself down. I ended up using one sheet of paper for two days:

I tried tracing the bear head to get a better feel for what I was trying to copy. I then drew some extension lines to guide my free hand drawing. (Fellow-blogger, klangley, suggested a similar approach. Just goes to show you that great minds (and otherwise) think alike!

I then moved on to the oval-based cartoon characters in the middle of the page. I drew six ovals in a row and then filled in the details. I should have spaced them out better, though, as the bulldog and elephant were kinda cramped. The hats were problematic for me, but I was amazed that I handled the elephant's trunk as well as I did.

Saturday, I decided to try to tackle those @#%! ears again. I still don't have a really good feel for them, but practice makes adequate (I hope!) On to Sunday...

Since the bulldog head got so squeezed on Saturday, I decided to give him more room on my next pass. I traced the head and broke it down into their components and then took a pass at it, on a larger scale than I had been working. (What's that black area around his eyes supposed to represent? Reminds me of Mack Swain!)

A minor epiphany: I was throwing everything off by drawing the eyes too big for the head! On my second pass I deliberately drew them smaller and it really helped.

I sketched out a few basic ovals doing this and then noticed I was speeding up and becoming really sloppy again! The tilt of the eyes suffered as well. I drew another "Barney" using the smaller eyes approach and liked how the face became more fleshy. Not on model by a long shot, though!

There's still lots of work to do, but after only a week, I am noticing progress of a sort...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Focus! Focus!

As you can see, my attention is wandering. I'm still working on the very first circle-based example. I decided to try some of the cute-animal faces from the bottom of the page. Shudder! Rabbit ears - I never could draw 'em. I'll try to tackle them once I get some more "chops."Also, I drew a little cave-man head for no reason what so ever. Ok, maybe it's just a generic-looking guy who needs a shave. Go ahead! Throw me in cartoon jail! I'll have more to post Monday morning. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Few More Jerky Circles

I've slowed myself 'way down and went back to work on the bearosphere last night. I haven't yet gotten it down, but I felt like I was making some (glacial) progress. Still fighting the very most basics, though.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jerky Circles

As mentioned, above, I had skipped the very most firstest part of the Preston Blair Book exercise #1. This is where you draw a circle, turn it into a sphere and then turn it into a cute li'l bear. Gues what? Drawing a decent circle is just as tough as drawing a decent oval! I actually traced the first row of circles just to see what it "feels" like. Here 'tis...

Here's something I found out by tracing... The "final" bear head doesn't seem to conform to the spherical skeleton construction tha preceeded it! The snout and general tilt of the head gives it away. I'll keep trying to perfect this section and then re-vist the oval section. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Blair Sketch Project

Here goes nuthin'!

Ok, I bought that Preston Blair instruction book 25+ years ago (they were TWO DOLLARS back then!) In my copious spare time I am stumbling through the lessons, thanks to the inspirational post shown, above. I will be publishing the results here. It isn't going to be pretty! But on the other hand, there'll be plenty of room for improvement! Right now, I can't even draw a decent oval...

This is part of lesson one. The idea is to take a simple face, learn to draw it and then rotate the head into different positions. I really have to work on the proportions (being on-model) along with my egg-drawing skills.
This is more of lesson one. The egg is pointing in a different direction. I still have the same issues as noted above. I hope to go back over both of these exercises tonight. I'll post the follow-up results.

(I just realised I skipped the exercise on the very TOP of the page, which is constructing a shperical head for a bear character. I made one little pass at it in the upper left-hand corner of the egg exercise. Back to the ol' drawing board, to coin a phrase!)