ongeKUNSTeld

It’s been awhile. I went to Norway for a few weeks, where I climbed some peaks and read some books — and nothing much besides. Turns out, I really need a computer to get some drawing done. *self-depracating sigh*

Once home, I immediately got back to drawing, first on another Shape of the Week challenge, then on my first editorial illustration for ongeKUNSTeld, a Dutch art blog.

Ongekunsteld, cartoon, kunst, oriental, middle east, fairy tale, tekening, illustratie, beeld, arabian nights, 1001 nights, sprookje, kinderboek, children's book

 

It is here I want to try something new, something I’ve never really done; say — or rather, write — why I drew what I drew. Now, this isn’t going to be a master class in Character Design and Figure Drawing as I’m still learning and struggling myself, but I do hope it might give those of you who are not cartooning experts yet a taste or understanding for what is on a cartoonist’s mind.

  • Size and Proportions
    A normal realistic human figure has a small head and long legs supporting a medium-sized torso. But that is kinda boring, so what you want to do is mix it up a bit. For example: Give your character a disproportionately large head on a tiny torso, with medium-sized stick legs.
  • Figure Posing
    • Balance
      Balance is all about weight distribution. If you mess that up, your figure — its pose and movement — will feel “off”. A case in point here would be the harem belly dancer who looks like she’s about to stumble. However, her visage gives her an intoxicated look, so I suppose you can explain that away, but that is a lousy excuse.
    • Counterbalance
      As a body moves, its weight distribution shifts. So when setting up a character in motion, you need not only think of the main movement of the body, but also of its countermovement to depict this distribution shift. So an example would be, if your character stretches his or her right leg out in front, his or her left arm stretches up behind the back.
    • Congruency
      It would be easy to just forego drawing figures in dynamic poses. But, not only is that boring, “uncartoony”, it wouldn’t make sense in some situations. Let us look, for example, at my very first editorial cartoon. Untitled-1These two characters are supposed to be surprised, shocked, appalled at what they see, but they just stand there stiff and posed, with their arms drooping, as if they’re indifferent. This creates a sense of incongruence, which is detrimental in cartooning art. Examples of more congruent poses would be the stiff, annoyed posture of woman on the left or the gay strut of the Sultan in the former cartoon.
  • “Soundtrack”
    Let us look again at the latter cartoon. See how it doesn’t convey sound — or any show of emotion? Now compare it to the former. Note, for example, the slight crosshatching on the left woman’s face, the tapping of her foot, and the hand-drawn musical note coming from the mouth of the old astrologer. All these little subtle visual cues make a cartoon come to funny life.

Let me know if you want to read more of these sorts of blog posts.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It was Thursday yesterday. So it was that day of the week on which we throwback to, well, old shit we’ve already posted. Anyway. I was looking through some old sketches and I came across these cutesy princesses. I didn’t feel like resharing them since I never really liked them in the first place — I do think they had potential, though –, so instead I decided on revamping their design concept.

Princess, cute, cutesy, children's book, illustration, cartoon, drawing, fairytale

In other news, I did another Shape Challenge which spurred my creativity.

Viking, troll, hunter, cartoon, illustration, WhatMalDraws, ShapeoftheWeek

Finally, I’m currently working on — you guessed it! — yet another makeover for portfolio purposes. I know there isn’t much to show yet, but for those who are interested in seeing how I start off my work process…

work in progress, cartoon, illustration, scoot mobile, scooter, elderly, senior, old man

Shape of the Week: Return of the Gnome

I haven’t done much drawing for the past few days since I was bent on finishing reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It’s a great read with imaginative, inspiring characters in it — like, for instance, industrial remade chimeras, sapient talking birdmen, and human-like women with chitinous heads. But yesterday it came to me that, arguably, the greatest of all characters is New Crobuzon, the city in which the story takes place. I say ‘arguably’ but it seems pretty clear to me that Mieville spent more time fleshing out its background, history, politics, demography, etc., than detailing or explaining the characters — bar one exception, perhaps. So the city becomes more than just a backdrop, it becomes an active agent in the story… Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well, here’s the thing, I was thinking of ‘cartoonifying’ some of the book’s characters. I thought of how to draw machinery, feathers, and city scapes. And then I went on thinking… and thinking… And during all that time, the (digital) canvas remained empty. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Today I decided to ‘kickstart’ myself, again. But instead of going through my usual routine — participating in a design contest, always against my better judgment — I decided to partake in a challenge set by Mallory Carlson at the Nickelodeon Artist Program. Let me tell you, it has been a fun experience. Not only did it get me drawing again, it’s also been really inspiring to see what fellow-artists came up with!

Gnome, dwarf, concept art, character design, cartoon, illustration, whatmaldraws, nickelodeon artist program