Friday, January 12, 2007

Thoughts on drawing for storyboards-PT 3

"Negative space and overlapping shapes"

In all my days as an animator, story guy, and just plain sketch artist I've always had trouble with trying to get a pose right and make it "read from across the room".
I kept trying and trying and one day back in the Disney days, my good friend Tom Gately{Now an animator at a certain studio in emeryville- shamelss "freindship dues" plug} told me the most obvious of reasons why my drawings weren't reading.

"Your sillouette value is off"

Darn it! He was right and I couldn't get it out of my head. Now I know that's animation 101 but the easiest thing to understand isn't always the easiest thing to execute. For example I understand that an Archer needs to hit the bullseye from a far distance but I probably can't hit that bullseye for beans unless I work at it for some time and keep trying.

So ever since then I've been haunted by Tom's words in my head. Every drawing I've worked on to this day feels like it has his eyes of concern watching over saying "Your sillouette value is off".

All this time I tried to understand and break it down to the simplest form and the two principles out of the many that stuck out, where Negative space and Overlapping shapes.

When these two ideas are grasped and put into action your sillouette values will start to pop off the page. If your sketch or production drawing isn't working you might want to check and see if the drawing is breathing; is there enough air around and within the pose to see every part of it's acting or reason for being?

When overlapping shapes are concerned I always tell the students in my class to use the items on the model to show shapes in front of other shapes. Use the waist line to show the forms and directions of the body, the neck line and collars and even existing wrinkles in th clothing to help show that the knee is in front of the thigh. Props like wrist watches or helmets or anything the person is holding can also help when it comes to overlap.

Anyhow I think you get the picture. I still have to think about it when I draw and I'm glad Tom told me the truth when he did. I just wish his voice would get out of my head.

To help illustrate the point I drew over this wonderful page of Mickey's drawn by the master of sillouette Fred Moore. What's amazing about it was how clear and precise every drawing is and yet very very loose. I found this page on the great Disney History blog by Didier Ghez.



chromasketch said...

interesting article, thanks for the info

Randeep Katari said...

Great stuff, definitely attempting to be much more aware of this myself constantly - tomorrow's another day! Hope things are going well!


Jeremy Bernstein said...

Great observations Dave. Sometimes it seems so simple, yet you really have to fight hard to get everything to work correctly.

Jeff said...

¡Sí! Eso es para lo que me esfuerzo siempre que suba. ¡Siluetas fuertes! Intento subir sin diálogo y hacer que lee apenas con actuar. Eso es una manera segura del fuego de saber cuándo sus siluetas están leyendo. La negativa a ésa es sus tarjetas se parece aplanar hacia fuera sin embargo. Apenas necesito quizá agregar una cierta perspectiva adentro allí en alguna parte.

J said...

I had my first class with Tom today.
The guy is a master...
I hope everything is well Dave.


Louie Escauriaga said...

thanks for the storyboarding tips!

antikewl said...

Always a pleasure to read your posts, Dave. Superb stuff.

Jenny Lerew said...

Great post!

...and I know I'm being redundant, but I still want to comment!

James Chiang said...

hey Dave,
your drawings are wonderful. I've heard many great things about your story/sketch work. reminds me of the old Walt Stanchfield classes.

katzenjammer studios said...

knowing and making drawing principles second nature and intuitive are two very different things. a very true point, that's probably why its so important to keep cranking out work and being critical of our own work.

great find on the freddy moore drawings, amazing drawings, and great extraction of the drawing principles too.

Lee-Roy said...

great tips. thanks. question, though. do overlapping shapes count as sillhouette? well, either way, they help communicate the pose.

Dave Pimentel said...

Im glad everyone likes these posts


Yes! As you said overlap helps communicate the pose and it all has to do with Positive and negative shapes. Understanding and executing clear overlapping shapes and lines will help the outside contour of a drawing and also define detail within the drawing.

The drawing can get muddy otherwise.

K.B. said...

Thanks for posting this.Gold.

Art Sir said...

awesome stuff

i'm curious do you think this overlapping shape and negative space idea

isn't it similar to the idea of tension and release which is weight.

the overlaping shape is where the weight is and the negative space is the release.