Thursday, January 8, 2009

I suck at construction


JohnK says:

So far none of your drawings show that you use construction to draw with.

I'm not going to argue this point that John made yesterday. I know that I draw circles and lines before attempting details, but that doesn't mean I'm doing construction right. As John says, there's only one way to tell if it's right or not. But what am I doing wrong?

I looked at some older copies I did and the one recurring issue is that when I put the transparency over the original drawing ( I'm using PhotoStudio, not Photoshop ) one part will be more or less correct, and then everything else is off, but mathematically by about the same amount and in a different direction.


I figure this means that I'm not getting the distances from one form to another right. And if there's one mistake made, there are several because they all bloom out of the original.

So I decided I would start a drawing and not finish it until I KNOW the forms are in the right place. As you can see below, I've started breaking down the Porky comic cover, and once again, one character has roughly the right forms, but the others are off.

Counting the space with my pencil only seems to work when I'm making the drawing physically the same size, but the ones copied from the DVD player or these sized down comic pages....

The above drawing is ridiculously huge in file size compared to the comic cover. Scaling it down, this is how it compares:

I'm going to dedicate a few hours every night this week to getting this right, and then I'll move on to adding the larger forms. As you can clearly see, I need work and comments.

Maybe I'll join that Cartoon Critique blog.

UPDATES AS OF 01/09/09:

So, I took the drawing above and studied the transparency and made my changes in red. This is what I came up with:

And here's how it looks when resized over the original comic.

I had to resize this differently because the first scan of the drawing ( and first crack at it, pictured above ) had the paper favoring the top of the bed, the second the latter. I'm worried I may not have actually gotten the shapes right, but I'm going to start fresh rather than improve the same drawing. Hopefully, I've learned something. Be back tomorrow with more drawings!

Check back!

UPDATES AS OF 01/12/09:

New changes in blue.

Here's how it looks over the comic:

And now I'm going to do the remaining levels of construction. Hopefully, my theory that if I get the first level right then others will follow will soon be proved, right or wrong.

Please come back.

UPDATES AS OF 01/15/09:

Final changes in blue.

Black outline.

And the final check:

What do you think?


Katie said...

Hi Trevor! I think I might be able to point out a few things that could help you a bit with construction, but since I'm at work I'll probably have to wait a bit to go into it! Construction is tricky at first, but once you get used to the ideas it'll click. :)

Hryma said...

Here we go, I'm opening my mouth (stretching the typing fingers) and going to attempt to comment.
Where I usually go wrong.

We spend to much time jumping from one drawing to the next. We should only move onto the next drawing until we get it completely right. I do it all the time and never finish anything and it's a flaw. keep studying that porky drawing I say. Else you forget the things that are important in that image when you go do another. less is more, true?
Remeber when you were a kid and you start drawing for example hands and you start to become good at hands or drawing people facing left. You always drew people facing left but when it came to drawing them facing right it was terrible, so you practiced drawing them looking right and you became good at it. Then you start to loose how to draw them looking left, so you do half and half and get better at both ways.
And if you didn't stay on that one drawing challenge until you got it you couldn't quite get it.

Then you attempt the dreaded back of head but can slightly see portions of the side of the face, eye, nose and ear. You copy a drawing from a comic and it gets easier each attempt. Then you start using it everywhere because you're not to bad at it.

All the while drawing another character looking left and another right so as not to forget those way.

And that Porky image has all the great elements! So continue with that drawing to loosten up and see the forms of construction more clearly each time.

This may be sacrilage but perfection of the image isn't the most important thing.
It's the construction. As you re-draw it it will become more closer to the original.
You stress otherwise, sphincters tight, hands clench and the thought becomes to much on getting the image looking exactly right and not on the construction, because you get afraid of critique.
"If the image looks the same, it must mean I've done the construction" I subconsciously think this and I'm sure everyone else does.

It shouldn't be stressful, it's meant to be fun and relaxing, so treat it that way.

Practice practice retry practice.

I've missed things, but that's plenty of writing for me today.

Trevor Thompson said...

Thanks you two!


I'm working on more versions of it when I get some time this weekend. I'll update as I go.

I guess the one thing I'm left asking is how does getting copies right relay to you getting construction right on your own original characters and scenarios?

If it's your situation and character, shouldn't 'right' be determined by you? I understand why John makes a big deal out of this stuff, and I want to learn, but I've thought before what you said Hrym, about not getting it exact, but that you're using it anyway....


I'm getting closer, and will keep going until it's right.

Thanks again Katie and Hryma!

- trevor.

Hans Flagon said...

It is so funky that your line of action (or what I am assuming as such) does not go through the center of mass, but instead, perhaps in front of the face, or elsewhere.

Do you realize you are doing this? I wonder how it is affecting your sense of weight and proportion. Perhaps you are using those lines for other purposes such as judging negative space or such.

ArtF said...

pretty good. one suggestion from me would be to loosen up a bit. don't think too much about getting the shape exactly right, be more organic. i guess these are more than one suggestion but they belong in the same family. more natural, less mechanical. good job, man! like Katie said, construction is tricky at first, but once it clicks, you can't help but see it in every drawing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vincent Waller said...

HI TREVOR I SENT SOME NOTES (SUCH AS THEY ARE)Sorry didn't see the cap lock was on.
Anyway check your email. Focus on the big shapes, less focus on the exterior deatils.

Kelly Toon said...


I'd say fill up a page with just spheres and eggs with the perspective elipses drawn on them. Right now, look at porky's head circle. Why does it have a straight vertical line through it? His face is pointing to the right of the frame, so you need a line that curves over the surface of the sphere to direct the placement of his features. Right now, though the details are pretty good, the construction looks flat, it needs weight and depth.

Good luck, sorry I can't type more but my fingers are numb!!!

Anonymous said...

Say, Trevor, I read your comment on John's blog and I wanted to know: do you like those rap groups like, say, Run DMC or Public Enemy or even Wu Tang Clan?

I like a lot of stuff from the early 90's and late 80's, but at some point, this shit needs to...die. And I say this unapologetically.

Trevor Thompson said...

Yeah, man. I like it old school.

I wrote a few comments on John's blog, actually. He and I are kinda going at it. He's not listening to me, or the music.

But hey, he likes polka, I think it sounds like flies fucking. No accounting for taste, really.

- trevor.

Anonymous said...

Well of course, everyone's entitled to their own opinions. John can enjoy his stuff, and I'll stick with my Slipknot, SOAD, and Wu-Tang Clan.

Won't make me hate him anymore as an artist. Shit, as long as he keeps up with the cartoon stuff, I still respect him.

Trevor Thompson said...

Same here.

zoe said...

Hey Trevor,

Would you mind if I did a long critique of your latest study(w/ pictures) on my blog, instead of just a text comment?

Please let me know if this is OK.


Trevor Thompson said...

Go for it.

Marc Deckter said...

Hey buddy - thanks for the nice comment over at DUCK-WALK. Yeah I'm not on AIM as much these days...

Anonymous said...

Oh Trevor, one last thing: do you mind looking at some posts I did on Spum-Blog? I'm doing a comparison of the Games and Spumco era episodes of Ren and Stimpy, and I could use some promotion.

zoe said...

Hi Trevor,

I put up my critique over on my blog so I could post the pictures.

I hope it makes sense.


smirkstudios said...

I really like to see this. Artists together helping each other. I had no idea that people could be helpful in this world!!! I really like Hryma's comment.

Also, J.R. Spumkin, I think you're right about the music thing. Everyone has something that makes them tick, and mine is metal. (altho the late 80's and early 90's rap was pretty cool.)

And for my two cents, study what you can and keep practicing every day. as Hryma said, dont spend so much time "jumping" and do a bit more studying. Also, make sure you don't lose interest in your studies, for that is like quiting almost :D