Saturday, February 06, 2010

Drawing Emotionally

I scrapped the beginning I had before... Pooh was already in the shot and in mid action - but to get that to read I was holding on this 'mid action' pose for a good amount of time and it was bad/unclear. Now I've got him walking into that first bit of action and it is much better. It's important to think about where your character is coming from and going to... How does the character enter the shot? How does he exit? How do you cut between shots and why?
You'll notice that there is a lot of anatomy in there already... My initial pencil test was all about staging and timing and feeling... But very loose and general. Pooh is a trickier guy to draw than one might think... Technically and emotionally. Since he is 'stuffed with fluff' and has only buttons for eyes, he must be animated in a certain doll-like way. He can't form an S curve with his body and can't really bend over forward or squash or stretch much. To get a look of squash in anticipation, one must take advantage of his soft legs and get him down really low. There was one pose I was working on (not included in the above test) that worked ok in a really ruf test but when I got to tying it down, I just couldn't get it to look right. It was a pose of Pooh being a little mischievous in his happy way and crouching down just slightly, bringing his paws to his face and bending over slightly with his legs close together. How un-Pooh like! His actions are usually very simple and innocent. I changed the pose entirely and was able to get the same feeling that I needed, but I had to think like Pooh to get there. He is a lot more belly than butt and his belly is generally what leads him, he will stick it out often with happy expressions of how he is feeling.
His emotions and attitude make him difficult to get into emotionally as a character as well... Getting into a character's head is tough when they are described outright as having 'very little brain'. Pooh's range of emotions are pretty much happy, confused, thoughtful, hungry. He always tries to look on the bright side of a situation.

I found a post awhile back on an animation blog about 'drawing holistically'. I can't find this post again right now and I'm not sure if I know exactly that drawing/animating holistically are but I've been thinking a lot recently about what I think drawing emotionally is and how to do it. I think the idea is to draw from the gut, and with emotional source and intent. In the case of animation, forget about anatomy and the rules for a time and draw the essence of what you are trying to communicate. Kevin Koch has a great post about animating from the gut and Eric Goldberg talks about drawing the essence of a pose first and adding the anatomy afterwards. See page 55 of his book Character Animation Crash Course or listen to his podcast interview with Clay Kaytis at Animation Podcast.

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