12 Struggling: Finding the right poses.


Alright, so it’s time to start adding poses for my “motion test”.  I’m limiting the poses to five total (including the last pose, which I’ve already finished and colored). If I think I need to add an anticipation pose (antic) or an overshoot (ovs) I’ll put them in later. For now I’ll just want to draw clear, well drawn “key” poses.

Easier said than done.

For the first time since I started writing my process, I didn’t want to post up my drawings.  I’m having sooo much trouble with these drawings.  I’m not happy with them at all. Still, it’s part of the process. I need to show them even when I think I’ve failed or when my skills aren’t up to par.

Generally, when I begin posing out a scene, I draw the gestures of all the poses I’m going to use.  I do this so I can check if my poses are going to work how I want them to, without having to go into the labor of making pretty drawings. This is what they looked like:


Looking at hot dog….


About to take a bite…


and sees something...


reaction shot from pull out (as will be seen further down below)…

Once I’m satisfied that I’ve got the poses that I want, I then begin to flesh out the drawings.

Okay, so I’m used to drawing bug eyed yellow people for a living. The style of the show is such, that I don’t really need to give them really naturalistic poses.  When I’m confronted with characters that DO need to give natural poses to, it suddenly becomes really difficult.  I can’t rely on the bad habits that I’ve picked up in my last 17 years.

So here’s me, trying really hard to make Rob look like he’s holding a hot dog very naturally:


As I drew the drawing above, I realized I hadn’t really worked out Rob’s model as much as I thought I had.  Especially the hair from this point of view.  Also, I wasn’t too sure about the nose, mouth and chin relationships.  I drew the drawing below over the drawing above:


I still didn’t like the drawing, though I thought it was getting better.  I took some time solve the hair problem and I drew the drawing below:


Better hair shape but I STILL didn’t like the drawing.  It felt staged.  He just didn’t look natural. Who holds a hot dog and admires it like that? It looked a bit weird. I thought perhaps it was just a matter of turning the head and shoulders:


But it was even worse when I did that.  I didn’t even bother drawing a nice version, I could tell it wasn’t going to work right away.

I went online and Googled people holding hot dogs. I must admit, in the back of my mind, there was this thought that perhaps I should change the hot dog to a hamburger or a pizza, because the idea of a pretty boy in a tight shirt admiring a hot dog seemed to hint at something I didn’t intend. In the end I convinced myself not to. Mostly, because I personally love eating hot dogs and I just wanted it to be a hot dog. I also looked at it as a challenge to myself.

One of the things I looked for, were photos where guys held hot dogs without it being an ad.

I found that the ones that looked most natural to me, were the ones where guys held something else in their other hand, like a drink. Another thing was that they didn’t really hold the hot dog up high, but kept it at chest level.  So I gave Rob a drink and lowered the hot dog:


It was better.  So I cleaned it up a bit so I can see it better:


…and RUINED IT, by giving him a crazed expression.  I’m going to need to go back  to the drawing above and figure out a better expression than the one I gave him.

I got frustrated and decided I should just keep going with the other poses and come back to the first pose later. Here’s pose two:


As you can see from all my drawings here, I don’t have a light touch.  I scribble a lot until I find what I need. I explore until I can visualize where I want to go and then do another pass to clarify the scribbles:


Once again, fail. I don’t think this reads the way I want. It’s too stiff. It needs to be redrawn in a different way.

I moved on to the next panel anyway:


Not sure about this one either. I’ll need to see what I do with the panel before it, in order to decide whether or not I should keep it. I cheated drawing it because all I did was cut and move the face and arms around from the pose before, instead of redrawing the pose.

I kept going and drew the last pose:


Not sure how it’s working so far.  It seems off. Especially because of the slanted background.  I may need to slant Rob a bit.  Also, I think I need to move the camera down so Rob’s feet aren’t on the edge of the frame.

Overall, I’m just frustrated with the work.  I need to work through it though.  I know at some point, I’ll hit something I think is working and I’ll come out learning something.


Do to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to do very much this week on my project. I did manage to fix the expression on the first pose so it’s not so crazed:


I think it looks better. I also tried fixing the second pose and I think it’s an improvement from the last one. Here’s the rough:


Notice how I tend to just search around for the drawing.  I’m not the kind of artist that can just project the drawing from my head and just draw it on the paper.

Here’s the more cleaned up version:


I’m still not sure if it’s right though. I wasn’t happy with the hand and hot dog so I redrew it in red, but it still wasn’t right, so I moved it (it was on another layer) to a better position. Once I get it where it works best, I’ll combine the drawings together. Something I was making sure I did in the drawing above was to make the irises in the eyes look like they’re actually on the ball of the eyeballs. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just putting circles there but the they worked with the correct natural perceptive of the eyeball.  It’s harder to do than you’d think.

Something I didn’t show was, when I looked at both drawings as a whole, I thought that the heads seemed too big so I shrank the heads a bit.  I’m trying to make sure that these two drawings match the proportions of the last colored drawing. I’m still working out the design as I go. I just can’t seem to make him look just the way I want. Perhaps because I don’t have a clear picture in my head as to what it’s supposed to look like. My hope is to solve these issues as I go rather than make a model sheet. I might still need to make one. What I mostly think about when I draw these is, structure, silhouette, rhythm, and whether it all looks natural.

What bothers me most, is that it’s taking me a long time to draw each pose. If it’s taking me this long to draw FOUR poses, how long will it take to draw a multiple scenes with multiple pose?


Since I just wasn’t happy with what Rob’s design looked like (still), I tried doodling a version on the first piece of paper I had on hand.  It so happened to be the last page of revision notes I had for the show I was working on a week ago. The notes are cryptic if read out of the context of the episode.

I liked the doodles and I used them as a model sheet:


I changed the model of  Rob’s face from last week.  I also added the raven on Rob’s shoulder:




I then began to clean up the drawings, and as usual, have lost something of the “life” from the roughs.



If you notice, the background is blue in some of the drawings.  Why? Because that will be the color of the sky BEFORE the bad guys show up.

I’m going to give myself permission to mess around with these drawings a bit more. Especially the raven’s wings in the first shot.  Still, they are just about ready to be colored.

Before I even began to do a clean up line, I experimented with timing out the scene, just to make sure it would work.  I even thought of roughing out some “anticipation poses” and an “overshoot” pose but I’m not sure it’s what I want.  It may plays just as clear without them.  So far, it looks like it’s going to look good.  Once I’m done cleaning up the last pose, I’ll begin coloring.  Doing that will give me a guide as to how long it will REALLY take to finish my “Illustrated Film”. At that point I’ll make the decision whether or not to render out all the drawings or not.

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