Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's like a Rorschach test

After doing preliminary inking on the final 10 strips (only one of which is now completed), I needed to do *something* while the ink dried. I decided to give myself a challenge: draw all my characters in one strip with correct proportions. While that didn't go well, Photoshop did come to my rescue.

Once I knew I was a proportion failure, I decided to investigate silhouettes. The main characters all appear in cutout form at the bottom of each Precocious page. It's a nice effect, but the cutouts are based on the very first "official" sketches of the characters. I played around with the shapes, trying to imagine how they would appear. They say you've made it as a cartoonist when your characters can recognized by their silhouettes. I have not made it.

Things I learned, character by character:

Roddy: The placement of the ears means all fluff points are covered. Still, as he's a generic cat shape, the form is very recognizable. Roddy is the only character without a specific accessory, as he is distinguished by his black color. Bonus note: When I was inking Roddy, I discovered that he looked kinda good with his muzzle and cheeks not filled in - would it be too dramatic if I turned him into a black and white Socks-style cat? Hmm...

Bud: His Scottish fold ears really makes it hard to keep him in proportion with the others. Bud often ends up with a tiny head. When Photoshopping the sketches, I would drag one over the other, so Bud *technically* is close in proportion to the rest. His lack of upward fluffiness, however, makes him look more compact.

Suzette: The outline of her bell, collar, bangs, neck and muzzle all conflict horribly. Also, just like Bud, Suzette's ears going down tends to result in her being drawn as really tiny.

Dionne: Long hair tends to block out everything, so I had to work to find a way to keep the form visible. The result was a semi-twirl thing, which does look nice. Of course, I see Dionne in the outline because I know what Dionne looks like. Would anyone else figure out the character from that pose?

Jacob: I was worried his folded ears would look like a big block in silhouette, but I think he's decently recognizable.

Max: Both my doggies with big ears have the same problem. While normal drawing should show the back ear to fit cartoon logic, the rule does not apply in silhouette. I should have done a more direct profile. Max also needs more conservative fluffiness.

Tiffany is one I feared, because most of he quirks are hard to show in outline. I decided to try to give her a dynamic pose, like I did with Dionne, and the result was an abomination unto the lord. I would have been better making a direct profile with the braid adhered to her back. This pose make it look like a creepy third arm.

Autumn - Man, this bitch is HARD to draw in a way that would make a decent outline! Not only did I draw her facing left, which is difficult for me, but so many of her features conflict with other features. Argh.

Oh well, it was a fun experiment. It also took up my entire evening, which should have been spent inking. Whoops!

No comments: