Q:First, thanks for leading me to Old City Blues, looks good! I like the MGS fan art, and I'm curious when in the creative process you decided to skip on the faces? I'm sure you know Mike Mignola does it a whole bunch, and I was wondering what you consider "the right time"? Thanks.
That’s a good question! Short answer: I like drawing faces, plan to keep drawing faces for a long time to come. But the last drawings I’ve posted have been SUPER TINY, and when a head (or any object) gets too small to render with appeal, I drop the level of detail.
Long answer: there are a few major principles that inform those decisions.
The first principle, I guess, is that draftsmanship (the accurate linear representation of forms and detail) should be subordinate to design (deliberate editorial choices in representation). Just because you CAN draw something doesn’t mean you have to, or that you should. Or that you shouldn’t. Mignola is a great one to bring up here, and I’m glad you did!
The first cover for Seed of Destruction is RAD. And you can really see Mignola’s draftsmanship coming through. He’s drawing the hell out of that toolbelt. He’s drawing the hell out of that gun, that statue, that chain, and every damn fold in that jacket. He is DRAWING. We should all try to draw that well!
The first cover to Hellboy in Hell is RAD. And you can really see Mignola’s design coming through. He designs the hell of that composition, isolating Hellboy in a field of black. He’s designing the hell out of those figures, eliminating extraneous detail and letting the gesture tell the story. He’s paring down and doing more with less. He is DESIGNING. We should all try to design that well.
Both approaches are really effective, but only because Mignola is both a great draftsman AND a great designer. Even detail-heavy guys, like Ueyama, will simplify when a figure shrinks to a certain size, and it becomes more appealing to remove detail than add it. Ueyama draws the shit out of EVERYTHING, but he never lets his (frankly incredible) draftsmanship override his design.
SO yeah. Draw really well. And be conscientious about how you design your drawing, how you bring your skills to bear, what you include and what you excise. There’s really not a ‘right’ answer to draftsmanship vs design, as long as you’re making conscious decisions. The only wrong answer is to thoughtlessly draw without even considering the question.
The other principle is that the right gesture can say it all. You can say almost anything with a figure that you could say with a face. You don’t need a close-up to show emotion or character. Drawing is communication, and if you’re doing it right, gesture can be the whole sentence, with the face as punctuation. Michael Dudok De Wit is a master of this. Check out his film, Father and Daughter. So much emotion. No faces.
I tried to pull off faceless acting in my own film a few years ago, with mixed success.
So, yeah. Once you’re prioritizing design over draftsmanship, and comfortable with gesture as expression, you can just make whatever call you like! Faces and figures, details and deletions, all are YOURS TO COMMAND!!!
It’s your drawing, right? Own it!
Jaeger Pilot Suit Details (+ circuitry suit) x
Yo, can we talk about the Skull and Orthodox Cross for Cherno Alpha?
It’s not all about packing detail into a drawing; it’s also knowing when to pull back. Any amateur artist could render a painstakingly detailed illustration, but that wouldn’t make their work more “pro” than the artist in the background, who, to my knowledge, is a professional animator.
I really like simplified stuff, and I think trying to establish atmosphere, emotion, and action without as many details could actually be harder for some people. In any case, less ranting, more drawing.
submitted by -nikki0417
It seems from the comments on the Duke Nukem comic that a lot of people don’t really understand what Uncanny Valley is, or why it’s horrible and creepy and something no designer should approve of unless they’re in the horror business (in which case you need to push it to the limit). “Uncanny Valley” does not necessarily refer to things that are trying to be realistic, nor does it mean “anything you think is ugly”. Specifically, the term “Uncanny Valley” was meant to refer to robots, saying that people will like things that look like obvious abstractions of people, and people will like things that look exactly like people, but people are repulsed by things that look almost like people but not quite.
So terrifyingly true, this is akin to the cartoon thing I wrote last summer, but much more logical and commonsensical than mine.