Preston Blair inspired drawing

16 Jul

I have been trying to draw from the book written by Preston Blair about animation for several years now and giving up because it was just too hard. However, with all this life portrait drawing, clothed figure sketches and the like under my belt, it seemed more feasible to try and do the examples in the book and create some examples of my own.

After spending 3 weeks on 6 pages, I thought I was ready to do a test, to see if I grasped the principles discussed by Blair. My piece was a couple of mice in a festive mood (perhaps drunk?). I didn’t expect much, but I tried anyway. Below you can see my first (and only) sketch. I’m a firm believer in master Yoda’s words of wisdom: “There is no try. Do, or do not.” (Mind you, this is Muppet Yoda, not CG Yoda.)

Jolly Mice pencil sketch

I used a sphere for the head and a basic skeleton for a cartoon mouse. After I had the basic poses done, I added the features and then the details (I really need to work on hands and feet). The result was better than I expected and made me believe I was on to something.

Next day, after having spent some time on Livestream with young artists drawing their Manga art, using Easy Paint Tool SAI, I thought I could do a digital drawing in the Mac equivalent of SAI (which is Windows-only), Sketchbook Pro. I even did some live recording on Livestream (here, here and here—no audio).

Jolly Mice illustration sketch

Looking back at it, I can see it has potential, but also that I still have a lot to learn, both in how to use Sketchbook Pro (which hung up on me during the recording) and, more importantly, how to design a character.

However, I didn’t want to get hung up by details. The intent, what I wanted to show, was more important than the exact details and even the execution. And boy, did it show these are jolly mice!

I’ll be practicing my cartoon sketches for a while so I can finally do an adaptation of a fairytale in comics format. The style and design should be early 20th century Disney, because I think that style best fits the telling of fairytales. I’m sure once I’ve started I’ll be writing about it on this blog.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your thoughts, ideas and any praises in the comments section.

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