Friday, 13 February 2009

Digital Ink - Pervert Man

This is the point where I normally start to get excited. But the last few months have taught me that getting carried away and losing perspective means that your work mirrors your trail of thought.

One thing I have being doing whilst I have been learning to draw at a better level, is researching and looking into inking. Another extremely tedious part of the animation process. Inking is the lines around the character and there are many different ways to do ink drawings. The interesting thing about it is that you don't choose your favourite style, it chooses you. You just look at it and know: that's right I like that.

For instance, modern cartoons animated in Flash use BIG BOLD out lines and then do the details inside these lines with a thinner pen. I absolutely hate that look. It's a disgusting use of inking to make things look 'cartoony' and it doesn't, it just looks wrong and ugly and graphic designy: not cartoony. Dexter's Lab, Johnny Test and virtually every Flash based cartoon have adopted this method and I detest it: no matter how good the show is, it bugs me.

Inking gives the character their definitive shape. It gives them depth and appeal and if done well, even a sense of perspective. I am going to do a post on this in my T&P blog, because it something I need to get better at and further investigate. I know my favourite shows when it comes to inking and I will discuss them on that blog.

Anyway, to my work. I am pretty crap at inking. There was one drawing in Eligh's Dark Fable that I was so, so proud of. It was perfectly inked and it look great. It was the scene where the boy jumped out and tried to catch the butterfly: it looked great and I don't mind patting myself on the back for that scene. Anyway, I decided to bring Pervert Man up to a digital state as a kind of 'test' to see how this style of drawing will translate to Flash.
I have always been so timid with Flash as a tool, relying on a the computer to do a lot of the work. But my drawing practise and research is leading me down the right path because each drawing I do is better than the next. This basic outline gives me the foundation on which to build on. Because I know all the basics are how I want them: the proportion is right, the line of action gives a sense of weight and movement and the pose is good: this means I can concentrate on all of the little details that would be lost if I tried to do a straight forward drawings with no prior planning. It gives me a bit of breathing room.

When I then come to line the drawing in I don't have to concentrate on the basics of the drawing: they are already in place. This helps me to get all the angles and body overlaps correct because I can concentrate on the superfluous details that help bring the character to life. It also helps me to see where I need to adjust things to make sure everything adds up. For instance here, the head was too high, but my 'net' helped me to see this early enough to change it. If I had tonned ahead with the drawing, it would have been wrong.

Then I simple remove my guide and I have a full drawing left behind to work with. I am particularly proud of the his saggy man-boobs in this drawing because of the way they look like they are slipping off of his chest. This was a deliberately accentuation to gross out the viewer. They are supposed to despise Pervert Man. There is a lot of action in this drawing and its a significant improvement on all of the other drawings so far, but it isn't perfect. The pointing finger should be joined to a continuous line to help carry the eye, this would give a larger sense of movement. Because the hand bends down, you lose a lot of the impact of the post. Lesson learned though. I need to get this far with all of my other characters before the trailer.

This is a preliminary colour version of Pervert Man. I have known since I started drawing him that he would be wearing a second hand purple catsuit that he picked up from a thrift store. Pervert Man has a back story that won't be revealed during this project: but he started out like any ordinary person. The suit it far too small, thus his belly and fat hangs out. He had to cut the suit in two to even get into it. The gloves are Marigold's and I originally wanted them to be two long so that bits the fingers were loses and hung down...but I couldn't get the look right so I abandoned the idea. His shoes were originally going to be condoms...but they aren't, though they could be. His feet are based on the Dwarf's feet from Snow White. I love how much you can do with them, they are incredible versatile. Overall, all of the characters outfits need to be a little, dare I say: 'gay'. This is a homage to the fact that you can no longer get this fact past people. All they see now is a man in Lycra and they find it funny. They can no longer remove themselves from a sense of reality and the 'typical superhero' is now a stereotype reduced to stag doo costumes. "No More Heroes Anymore"

The lining here needs significant work. It is too thick for a start and considerably wobblier than I would like. But this is due to the tools I have to work with. I need a bigger tablet so that my 'sweeping' style of drawing can be further exercised. I am drawing with my wrist, rather than my arm and it loses some of the impact of my real style. But, this is progress non-the-less. Animation wise, I will be working with 'extreme' poses and moving between them using typical computer animation techniques. I don't want to, but time will be a short after I have finished making a whole comic book as well.

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