Question: Have you ever heard about the word "style"?
Reposting as a blog so this can be reblogged.
Question from anonymous:
Have you ever heard about the word “style”? Honestly, while I do agree that artists like Liefield are complete hacks, drawing bodies in “unrealistic ways” isn’t wrong by default. Or are you just going to completely dismiss the concept of “caroony art” altogheter? People like Skottie Young or Humberto Ramos are plain doing it wrong?
Fair question. I was hoping this question would come up, actually; if it didn’t, it was a subject I was planning to address.
From the attitude of your question, I’m guessing some of my tumblr has you bent out of shape. Of course I’ve heard the word “style”. You seem to make the assumption that style and respect of anatomy are opposite concepts that have nothing to do with each other. On the contrary: Anyone who draws has a style. Their style is influenced by other artists’ styles, by what they see, what they like, what they learn, what their personality is like. My style is heavily influenced by Gargoyles. I can’t ignore the existence of my style to draw correct anatomy.
You accuse me of dismissing cartoon art, when I’ve done no such thing. My line of work, my main, usual one, is storyboards for animated shows. I’ve worked on varied styles from Mega Babies to Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat to Arthur to Fred’s Head to Golfers Anonymous, where human proportions were all over the place, but you can still fit a skeleton structure underneath the wacky designs and make the characters work properly. Why do you think Disney studios insist on their animators going to weekly life-drawing sessions while they’re working on their movies? So they know how the body works, and how to translate that knowledge into their drawings. That’s why Jafar moved as convincingly as if he were human, and why the Sultan, who was the design opposite of the Grand Visier, did as well. They had cartoony moves, but they didn’t look as if they were made of rubber.
Okay. What about even more cartoony? You mention Scottie Young, who has a delightful cartoony, scratchy style that is extremely appealing to me. He still follows the rules of posing and respects the body movement (and as far as I know, has never drawn a woman excessively distorted for the sake of sexiness, which is the point of this blog, after all). His art works because he knows the rules.
How about this?
Hm. I guess it does.
That said, comparing cartoon art with comic book art is kind of like comparing… not apples to oranges, but Granny-Smiths to MacIntoshes. They’re both great tasting apples, but really different. Comic book art, style aside, strives to show us human(oid) proportions on characters, and while style shifts from one artist to another, we know and like the good ones because of how they treat their anatomy, posing and storytelling. Darwin Cook has a style of his own, as does Bruce Timm, and so do people like Cheeks Galloway and yes, Humberto Ramos. What I’m looking at mostly with this blog is how they treat women in their comics. Since you mention Ramos, I did a google search on his art and I’m finding things like this:
where the women have tiny waists, ball-joint hips and dislocated heads/arm/lower legs, you’ll forgive me, but I take issue in this being a discouraging representation of women to women.
However, not all is lost. Some artists can, and do, break out of the molds of spine-breaking for the sake of sexy. Take Joe Madureira, for example. He of Red Monica. Take this drawing of Wonder Woman he did:
Holy crap, what’s wrong with her waist? I mean, her head and shoulders and arms are all awesome be then it’s like she has a fifteen-inch waist behind there, and the spine’s pretty strained too! Hey, wait, what’s the date? Oh, ‘98.
Now check THIS one out, done 10 years (of experience, learning, practice) later:
That… That is gorgeous work. That is anatomy at the service of Joe Mad!’s style. That is something I, as a woman, can appreciate: a powerful woman who’s kicking ass.
The cop-out of “Screw you, that’s my style” is an overused excuse brought by people who either want to try to hide their shortcomings or don’t want to learn how to work any better. Seriously, the rules of drawing, no matter how you draw, are to go back to basics and structure from the inside out. That’s what will make your drawings look right, no matter what style you use.