I just want to cartoon. Do I really need to learn traditional drawing and stuff?

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  1. #1
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    I just want to cartoon. Do I really need to learn traditional drawing and stuff?

    Hey ya,

    I recently started studying and practicing art as well a sketchbook here.

    The thing is: all the realistic and traditional drawing is killing me. I'm practicing 2-4h/day but progress is being very hard for me and after the 1st hour I get really annoyed.

    But once I grab my "How to draw" cartoon books and start practicing cartooning, time just flies and I love it.

    I want to draw "good" because I want to draw cartoons, any type of cartoon (for the games I develop). I also want to do animation. But again, animate cartoons, not realistic people and stuff.

    For that reason, do I still need to keep struggling with Loomis, Anatomy, Bargue plates and so on? Can't I just focus on the cartooning books?

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  3. #2
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    Someone just PMed me this from "Richard Williams - The Animator's Survival Kit".

    Got it

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    Yes, you can! In fact, you can tell everybody here to take a flying leap if you want.

    I used to *hate* perspective- but at a certain point I realized I wasn't going to make the art I wanted to without going back and seriously studying it. At that point it was actually very interesting to me because I understood how it was relevant to what I was doing.

    If you are looking for instructional material beyond the books you are happy with, I might recommend looking into Glenn Vilppu's teachings, which are aimed more directly at cartoonists and animators. How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way is also a very good book. Someday you can come back to Loomis and anatomy when you really understand the need.

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    Cartooning, caricature and animation are typically stylized and exaggerated reality. So yeah, you need to understand reality and how to interpret it. Drawing "well" is the key to that understanding. Bargue plates? No. Figure drawing, with an emphasis on gesture? Yes.

    So yeah, focus on the things you are interested in...I would never recommend doing still lifes to someone interested in animation...sketching at the zoo? Sure.

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    Like Dose said, decide for yourself what you need in order to achieve what you're after. Look into how your favorite cartoonists trained. Watch "Crumb". Look at Disney "making of" books. Watch vids of cartoonists drawing. Try classic animation exercises like expressive walk cycles, animating a sack of flour, etc.

    If you want to draw realistic comics you're going to need a lot of life drawing. But there are oodles of successful cartoonists whose work is not remotely realistic. Ultimately the storytelling is much more important.

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  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dose View Post
    I used to *hate* perspective- but at a certain point I realized I wasn't going to make the art I wanted to without going back and seriously studying it. At that point it was actually very interesting to me because I understood how it was relevant to what I was doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Bargue plates? No. Figure drawing, with an emphasis on gesture? Yes. So yeah, focus on the things you are interested in...I would never recommend doing still lifes to someone interested in animation...sketching at the zoo? Sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by mickeymao View Post
    Like Dose said, decide for yourself what you need in order to achieve what you're after. Look into how your favorite cartoonists trained. Watch "Crumb". Look at Disney "making of" books. Watch vids of cartoonists drawing. Try classic animation exercises like expressive walk cycles, animating a sack of flour, etc.
    Thanks for the different opinions! They have something in common: focus on what do you want to do and learn as you need.

    I think I'll change my learning schedule as something like this, in something more pleasant, yet focused on what I want:
    1. 2 hours cartooning from the books I have
    2. 1 hour studying animation/watching old school animations
    3. 1 hour of gesture drawing


    @dose: Vilppu Drawing Manual looks great! Too bad I spent a lot of cash in drawing books recently. But I'll add to my Wish List.

    Last edited by alfredbaudisch; May 22nd, 2012 at 02:12 PM.
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    Even if you want to draw like the cartoon network kind of cartoons, it'll be really handy to know the basic rules.
    People will often notice that some things are off if you don't know what you are doing, if you catch my drift.

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    We actual do still lifes in animation school but that's for background painting class. We also have life drawing classes every day cause it's so important. I only did it for one year. First year they forced us to do them accurately, like no exaggeration, just pure observation. Once you masters the basics they let you caricature your life drawing in the 3rd or 4th year. Or you can just study. We do all the life drawing as gesture drawing, the max we spent on one figure was 10 minutes. Generally 30 sec to 5 mins. If you want to do animation or cartoons you don't have to do 4 hour studies. Just try to learn the basic proportions, structure, weight, balance, etc. In fact if you only have 2-4 hours a day that's okay because our life drawing class was 3 hours.

    At this point learn line drawing first. Shading is done in animation like for layouts but if you're just drawing cartoon characters line is essential because it's all you get to describe the form. Learn good clean up techniques, look up pencil tests of rough vs clean up animation to see the difference. Also don't be afraid to draw backgrounds. For cartoons it might not be as big of a deal, but animation requires a lot of perspective skill, anyway it doesn't hurt.

    Also if something is boring now but you can learn from it do it anyway because the effort will pay off in the future. Yeah it seems lame but the best people in my school are the ones who put in the effort to do the boring art school exercises. The people who suck just draw ponies all day (look at deviantart), don't be like them;learn and make better cartoons!

    You might be interested in Rad Sechrist's blog. He covers tips on cartoony drawing and analyzing cartoons which you're into: http://radhowto.blogspot.ca/

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    If you wanna make GOOD cartoons, then yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Medusa View Post
    Even if you want to draw like the cartoon network kind of cartoons, it'll be really handy to know the basic rules.
    People will often notice that some things are off if you don't know what you are doing, if you catch my drift.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    If you wanna make GOOD cartoons, then yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    Also if something is boring now but you can learn from it do it anyway because the effort will pay off in the future. Yeah it seems lame but the best people in my school are the ones who put in the effort to do the boring art school exercises. The people who suck just draw ponies all day (look at deviantart), don't be like them;learn and make better cartoons!
    Gotcha, thanks. I'll keep studying anatomy/gesture at least an hour/day.

    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    If you want to do animation or cartoons you don't have to do 4 hour studies. Just try to learn the basic proportions, structure, weight, balance, etc. In fact if you only have 2-4 hours a day that's okay because our life drawing class was 3 hours.
    Amazing, that's better because I'll be less annoyed and will enjoy the learning process more.

    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    At this point learn line drawing first. Shading is done in animation like for layouts but if you're just drawing cartoon characters line is essential because it's all you get to describe the form. Learn good clean up techniques, look up pencil tests of rough vs clean up animation to see the difference. Also don't be afraid to draw backgrounds. For cartoons it might not be as big of a deal, but animation requires a lot of perspective skill, anyway it doesn't hurt.
    Lines are my main concern at the moment. All these years programming made my hands too used to a keyboard and too bad with a pencil. So I'm trying to improve my line/values and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    You might be interested in Rad Sechrist's blog. He covers tips on cartoony drawing and analyzing cartoons which you're into: http://radhowto.blogspot.ca/
    His explanation on gestures is the easiest one I have found so far. The Rhythm approach is very user friendly. Thanks for pointing the blog!

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  18. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfredbaudisch View Post
    @dose: Vilppu Drawing Manual looks great! Too bad I spent a lot of cash in drawing books recently. But I'll add to my Wish List.
    There is a fair bit of his stuff around on the internet, notably a series of articles for Animation World Network. With some googling you can probably get yourself an introduction to his ideas and some of his exercises.

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    Bargue plates or anything involving slow, exact rendering don't seem all that necessary for animation and cartooning. But drawing from life is still going to be incredibly useful - especially going out and sketching people and animals in the real world moving around, acting natural, doing the things that people and animals do.

    Doing tons of life sketching will give you a good grasp of body language and how people and other animals move and behave, and you'll build up a good understanding of facial expressions, different body types, and everything else that makes a cartoon or animation work well.

    Also study storytelling, and composition, and look into the principles of filmmaking - knowing how to present a story is pretty crucial.

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  22. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Bargue plates or anything involving slow, exact rendering don't seem all that necessary for animation and cartooning. But drawing from life is still going to be incredibly useful - especially going out and sketching people and animals in the real world moving around, acting natural, doing the things that people and animals do.

    Doing tons of life sketching will give you a good grasp of body language and how people and other animals move and behave, and you'll build up a good understanding of facial expressions, different body types, and everything else that makes a cartoon or animation work well.

    Also study storytelling, and composition, and look into the principles of filmmaking - knowing how to present a story is pretty crucial.
    Turns out I have 12 animals at home, as well I just love animals in general. So that will be an easy task to keep watching, studying and sketching them! Thanks for the tip!

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    Cartooning is reality simplified and exaggerated. Unless you're going to be drawing Shapeless Amoeba's Adventures in Abstractland, your cartoons will likely wear clothes, sit in chairs, ride vehicles and go places. So you're going to be studying and analyzing all those things anyway. If you need to draw a guy in a flock of pigeons you're going to need to look at pigeons, figure out what the essential features of a pigeon are and how to portray them. This, by the way, is what a realist artist does too, except at the end they figure out how to render the pigeon realistically and you figure out how to make it look funny while still looking like a pigeon.

    So no, you can't really escape learning how to draw from life. But you can probably skip a few thousand hours rendering the shit out of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Cartooning is reality simplified and exaggerated. Unless you're going to be drawing Shapeless Amoeba's Adventures in Abstractland, your cartoons will likely wear clothes, sit in chairs, ride vehicles and go places. So you're going to be studying and analyzing all those things anyway. If you need to draw a guy in a flock of pigeons you're going to need to look at pigeons, figure out what the essential features of a pigeon are and how to portray them. This, by the way, is what a realist artist does too, except at the end they figure out how to render the pigeon realistically and you figure out how to make it look funny while still looking like a pigeon.
    Amazing, thanks. I'm creating a balanced study schedule that mixes the best of both worlds.

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    But you can probably skip a few thousand hours rendering the shit out of things.
    I loved this

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    Agreed. You could of course make cartoons without studying it things, but it will depend on what you had in mind. If you don't actually want to DRAW, but do little weird cartoon strips for newspapers, then that's going to be one thing. But if you want to do anything on the level of Tom and Jerry, Balto or even Disney style, then you'll have to reach a whole new level to make it believable.

    Disney have a long row of interesting 'making of' vids on youtube that really describes what goes into capturing a character. This stuff is not just good for animation - this is stuff that you, presuming you want to be a cartoonist as a trade, better learn. Here's one for the Lion King that sums it up reasonably well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkb0r...eature=related

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    When submitting a portfolio to Disney animation specifically, they request (or at least, did back in '96 when I was "apprenticing" with them) ONLY a sketchbook full of gesture sketches.

    No finished refined pieces, no cartoons, no reels. Just gesture sketches.

    I imagine, unless you intend to freelance, getting into any studio at all from cartooning to animating will require a solid foundation in life drawing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvans View Post
    When submitting a portfolio to Disney animation specifically, they request (or at least, did back in '96 when I was "apprenticing" with them) ONLY a sketchbook full of gesture sketches.

    No finished refined pieces, no cartoons, no reels. Just gesture sketches.

    I imagine, unless you intend to freelance, getting into any studio at all from cartooning to animating will require a solid foundation in life drawing.
    I'm not sure if that's true anymore. I had the opportunity to go to one of the Disney Inspire Days back in 2007, and they seemed pretty open to reels, story sketches, vis dev portfolios, etc, when applying to the Talent Development program. However, for most job types in animation understanding gestures (learned through gesture sketching!) is really important I guess in animation gesture drawing could be considered a foundation skill - even if you don't show it specifically in your portfolio, it'll show in the designs, how you draw characters when their acting, etc.

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