Currently browsing Posts Published March 2012

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Episode 12: Mary Infuriates PETA

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Getting started on some more animation practice; Mary Rae sees a bug on the table and smashes it. Today I sketched a few thumbnail poses, and also plotted the timing on a stripped-down exposure sheet on the right side of my page. Boring spreadsheets may seem antithetical to spontaneous-looking animation, but it really just serves the necessary purpose of timing your character’s actions; how you choose to excute those actions is what brings the character to life.

The timing for this animation actually comes from Eric Goldberg’s “Character Animation Crash Course.” I’ll make it my own by coming up with interesting breakdowns and overlapping action. So, look for that within the next couple days.

You’re Outta Bear!

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Well, I guess the Kerkel posts this week were a wake of sorts; my strip’s been eliminated from the competition. On the upside, I’m now free to share the entire run here on the site.

It was an odd contest; the thing I found especially strange is that there is no real feedback or interaction on the Cartoonist Studio site, so I feel like I haven’t really learned much about what constitutes an appealing comic strip. The 11-second animation contest made a lot more sense, and I got some solid constructive criticism from the community. About the only positive thing I can say about this contest is that it motivated me to create a comic strip!

That said, after looking through these, please let me know which one you liked the least, and which one you liked the best. Now that I’ve got the storyline-introducing awkwardness out of the way, I’d really like to continue developing these characters.

Welcome to my new pad

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Drawn on my new iPad of course. It’s a marvelous content creation device (I’m even dictating this!), but I must admit that using it for drawing doesn’t make as much sense as I thought it did when I bought my original iPad about a year and a half ago.

Much like doodling on an Etch-a-Sketch, there’s a certain pleasure in overcoming the iPad’s inherent limitations to produce a competent drawing. All iPads thus far have been designed to register relatively imprecise input from your fat fingers. The basic workaround is to draw as zoomed-in as possible, but sometimes it can be tough to draw without seeing the entire picture at once. Your mileage may vary, but unfortunately for me, this rules out the iPad as a sketchbook for quick ideas or gesture sketches.

Incidentally, many of my drawing apps actually seem to be extra laggy on my otherwise zippy new toy, which I hope are just growing pains resulting from the awesome new display resolution.

Art-wise, I think where the iPad really shines is painting; you can’t beat the massive color pallete, and if you paint in large areas of color/tone and work your way into the details, you don’t necessarily have to do a lot of zooming until the very end.

I’m holding out hope for some sort of accessory or software that will tear me away from my real paper sketchbook, but so far Apple doesn’t seem very interested in latching onto my market segment. But all of my artsy e-books look great!


The Stevie Wonder of Scribbles

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

The usual coffee shop sketches. If they look a little sloppier than usual, it’s because I’m really trying to sketch without looking at the paper. It allows me to capture fleeting motion that would otherwise pass me by if I were to focus on drawing instead of on seeing.

Balancing Act

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Must be Kerkel week. I thought I’d throw out a little reminder that the retarded protracted comic strip contest is STILL going on. Click here and search for Kerkel.

I think this week’s episode is my favorite; every panel with Kerkel makes me laugh, and I drew the darn thing. (That probably means this is the week I’ll be eliminated.)

I’m Always Turning Heads

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Going back to some basic animation concepts here; although I feel like I learned something from the 11-second animation contest, I also threw a lot of these basics out the window–I was in a hurry, and I was anxious to see my characters move.

This picture illustrates basic timing and spacing. If I wanted to have Kerkel angrily react to something by turning his head, and have the action take 16 frames from start to finish, I’d begin by drawing the two “extremes,” as indicated in black. Then I’d figure out where I wanted his head to be at the apex of the move, aka the “breakdown,” and draw that next, as indicated in red. Then I’d draw successive inbetweens, as indicated in blue.

The chart at the bottom, as well as the way I’ve arranged the drawings, indicates the “spacing”–how far the character has moved in that particular period of time. Most actions “ease” in and out, which is why the drawings at the beginning and end of the move are closer together, indicating that the move speeds up as it approaches the breakdown, then slows down.

Once I get comfortable with this concept, I can add some realism by using different spacing for different body parts. His ears could take a little longer to settle than his head, for instance.

You Could Learn a Lot From a Dummy

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Okay, so it’s no substitute for drawing from life, but a mannequin useful for figuring out poses and lighting. As you can see I also used my 3D cartoon head for reference. Now I just need a model hand (real or virtual), and I’m all set.

Good Night Butterball!

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I’m setting a dangerous precedent by not posting my own work here, but some days I find myself doing more observing than drawing. Today I was going through some Looney Tunes, trying to analyze the action, when I stumbled across this moment in “Kitty Kornered.” I think this has to be the greatest cartoon “take” ever. The screenshots above are only a handful of the poses.

I realize I should be studying Disney first, to figure out the “right” way to animate, but I can’t resist this stuff.