lunes, 20 de febrero de 2012

John K Stuff: The Best Tools For Cartoonists

The Best Tools For Cartoonists

...if you wanna work for me anyway.

I am starting a couple projects and will be on the lookout for cleanup artists, inbetweeners and maybe animators. What I need from cartoonists and animators are some basic traditional skills.

Here is a quick rundown of the tools I find the most useful:

This is the most important one for me. I need artists who can draw solidly and make their characters turn around well. -even when I do stylized retro cartoons, the skill you obtain from an ability to draw well is invaluable:

Hierarchy is the greatest tool an artist can use. Construction is just one application of the concept of hierarchy: applicable specifically to the drawing of individual characters within a scene.

But hierarchy is also used in composition, in inking, in background design

and painting,

in layout, in storytelling - you name it. It means basically that you have a major form or idea that governs the rest of the specific details - all the various levels of details are subject to the larger forms they help describe.

Hierarchy is the thing that classic Disney cartoons do so well, and I think is what makes them so appealing to animators - it's the "magic" that we feel watching Pinocchio or Bambi.

The magic is not in the imagination of the cartoons, it's in the execution. In 1940s and 50s Disney cartoons their understanding of hierarchy is completely superhuman and it distracts us from the boring and bland ideas.

The difference between classic Disney cartoons and the modern ones is that the old ones use hiearchy and the new ones imitate the superficial aspects of the classic cartoons.

They even use hierarchy in their fake UPA style cartoons:

Good cleanup is not just a matter of being able to draw smooth crisp lines -although that's definitely part of it. It's being able to wrap them around the solid drawings in the roughs. It's understanding the hierarchy of the roughs and translating that with the clean lines.

You want to use the thick and thins intelligently - with a purpose - to add weight to the drawings and to zero in on the expressions.

It's also a matter of maintaining the guts of the roughs - not always an easy thing to do. You want to keep the characters alive and organic, not stiff and wooden.

Understanding how line of action works allows you to make your poses read with strength and clarity.

Silhouettes work in tandem with lines of action to make the clearest possible posing statements.


Where a lot of beginning artists have trouble working on my cartoons is that they tend to tone down everything and make the drawings less exaggerated than what I give them. An understand of contrasts is essential to maintaining the guts of a storyboard (if you are drawing layouts) or layout (if you are animating).

Contrasts work with hierarchy to make the point of a visual obvious to the audience. Toning down the contrasts make the drawings mushy and vague.

Well you can find lots and lots of cartooning lessons at my curriculum blog and many of you already have.

Thanks to all those who donated last year - I can't believe I went a whole year without posting names! I apologize profusely, I think it was because I had too many jobs at once and was quite distracted.


John K Stuff: The Best Tools For Cartoonists

Du tac au tac avec Goscinny & Uderzo - YouTube

En Francia se solía hacer este tipo de programas de TV donde invitaban a dibujantes para que hagan diferentes juegos y muestren un poco de su habilidad.
En este caso, dos pares de autores (escritor-dibujante) cuentan una historia sin saber bien de que se trata lo que viene antes que ellos.
Divertido de ver para quienes gozamos de este rubro :-)

Du tac au tac avec Goscinny & Uderzo - YouTube