Monday, January 25, 2010

Comic Books Require Extreme Drawing Skills

Comic book artists and animators are among the most skillful at figure drawing (foreshortening) and backgrounds (3 point perspective). These are skills little required in many areas of fine art today that favor abstraction but are essential to make it into drawing comics or animation. The type of figure drawing expected is basically Florentine Renaissance style drawing that is little taught today.

Students interested in working in comics or animation should be provided useful instruction in drawing solidly constructed people, objects and buildings in consistent proportion. I once heard a student proudly tell Jim Lee, the famous comic artist, that he draws for 2 hours every night. Lee told the student that wasn't enough. He said you couldn't break into the comics world unless you draw for as many as 6 hours a day.

The drawing instruction has to be of the right type. It needs to help students accurately and interestingly represent people in action, objects like cars and furniture, and environments like buildings and rooms in 3 point perspective. Dave Master, formerly with Warner Brothers, said it used to make him cry to see a talented student who wanted desperately to work in the animation field and had taken art classes for years but came to him with an art portfolio that didn't demonstrate the level of drawing skills needed to even get an entry level job in the animation world.

Students should see the quality of work done by serious comic artists by going to comic book conventions like Wizard World and Comic-Con held every year in cities like Chicago, New York, San Diego, Austin, Toronto, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others where hundreds of hopeful comic artists display and demonstrate their skills at "Artist's Alley".

Animators and comic book artists take drawing seriously. Click on the image at left to see a larger version to examine the understanding of anatomy and the buildings in the background drawn in 3 pt. perspective.

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