Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Sight Unseen--6

If It's Drawn Like a Duck...
Time is rushing past at a furious rate...I've passed a major birthday since my last post. I'm trying to work out keeping up with several of these outside projects at once, but my damned job keeps interfering.

On October 2 the first Long Beach Comic Con will be held at the Long Beach (California, USA) Convention Center. It looks like they're trying to make it a big deal. Typically for comics conventions these days, there will be a handful of comics people and lots of movie, TV and gaming exhibitors. If you're in the area drop by the Pacific Comics Club / Tony Raiola Books booth (#123) and you might run into me.

I'm not sure how "unseen" today's offering is. These and similar photocopied model sheets were circulating around the studios twenty-umph years ago when I was working in TV animation. By now I'm sure they've all seen print somewhere. Nevertheless, there's always someone who hasn't seen what everyone else has, so here are some lovely lessons on How to Draw a Duck.

First up are two Carl Barks sheets describing how to draw Donald for the comics. I still smile at his dig at artists over-using silhouettes in their strips.

Next is an undated general full-figure model sheet crammed with pointers on proper proportion.
This sheet of heads dates from 1944. Nice expressions and some unusual angles.The last two sheets are cleanup notes covering the little details that make the difference between a near-miss and a dead-on duck.

Perhaps some of you Disney experts can identify the artists on these sheets. There's nothing quite like a well-drawn duck!


john adcock said...

Very nice drawings specially the Barks ducks. I can remember trying to copy Donald Duck from the comics as a kid and failing miserably. On the other hand the Flintstones/Jetsons style was a breeze to copy.

Emphyrio said...

You know what would be interesting? Hearing a Disney-trained animator critiquing Simpsons or Peanuts animation.

So much of the Disney aesthetic, seems to me, comes from being "animatable," it would be cool to hear an expert sort out the good and the bad in those hostile-to-animation character designs, which nevertheless result in undeniably brilliant entertainment.

Smurfswacker said...

Interesting idea. To me the design and animation in shows like Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, etc. is comparable to the "doodle" style of newspaper strip cartooning that replaced the "solid" style of the 1920s-1940s.

Both coincide with a trend toward dialogue becoming more important to telling a story than art. One needs just enough art to sell the gags.

An elaborate art style might even detract from a gag-based show...can you imagine eye-catching "Pinocchio" animation on a Family Guy episode? The simplified art style is the equivalent of a stand-up comedian's dead-pan,providing contrast to the witty things coming from his mouth.

Of course, a "stand-up" style doesn't have to be animatable, so designers can get away with characters that look right from one or two angles.