Monday, January 16, 2012

"Hey, Nineteen"

One of the shining highlights of this year's CTNx (Burbank, CA) was seeing so many character sketches compiled into books by industry pros like Alberto Ramos and Nicolás Villarreal. Naturally, ones from the pretty girl genre always get my attention, especially when they push the designs to the absolute extreme while retaining a sense of cuteness and occasional eroticism.

I can't do that. At least not yet.

During his panel discussion, Regis Loisel once perked up and exclaimed with a smile, "Mickey Mouse!" when one of his nude females appeared on the screen during the loop of slides. I think it was a joke about the relationship between bare breasts and the pair of large, circular ears of Disney's famous mouse. Loisel's raven-haired version Tinkerbell (Clochette) is one of my favorites. She is curvy, expressive and full of life when he draws her.

Needless to say, this passion for drawing pretty girls is a common one amongst many artists, both male and female. Maybe we share a need to take that magic home with us in our sketchbooks these fleeting moments of communion with beautiful women through a glance, or a brief moment of blissful hypnosis as we stare and fantasize for as long as decency and politeness permit.

"Push the pose as far as you can until it breaks, and then bring it back" I heard these words at the start of almost every drawing session in Character Design for Animation with Nicolás Villarreál at the Academy of Art University. Good design is at the root of every memorable character, and achieving this is not easy. My own laziness when it comes to habitually studying successful designs is becoming a bit of a liability. I think it comes from a stubbornness that assumes that I will eventually invent my own unique voice by brute force. But why "reinvent the wheel"? Better solutions are out there and I could probably absorb and modify them much faster than create them on my own. The 19 sketches on this post all lack that "push" in terms of shapes and gesture that would really make them come to life and put a smile on my face. But, I'm getting closer. (Blue prismacolor marker, Pilot V7 Extra Fine ballpoint pen, Prismacolor Col-erase blue pencil.)

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