Attempts at Proportions

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Attempts at Proportions

Postby Linkara on Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:56 pm

All right, first try at some new new work on the comic, focusing on proportions and improving my human figures. Using a tutorial featured here: http://www.mangarevolution.com/tutorial ... rial_id=68 , I'm giving the new proportions a try for a page I'm working on. Frankly I think it looks stilted and the head STILL seems too small even after erasing it. The figure at the bottom is incomplete, but he's supposed to be lying on top of a table with his neck arched. The camera angle is in a way that we can't see his neck.

Thoughts?
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Postby Black Sparrow on Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:47 pm

That's a bit better, yeah.

One thing you might want to try... hold that picture up in front of a mirror. Because he, like most of your drawings, is leeeaaaaning to the right. But that's not proportions, so we'll let that go.

Surprisingly enough, that is a realistically sized head, which is especially important for super-hero comics such as yours. I had a similar problem for the longest time... heads were too big and shoulders were too narrow; in fact I'm just pulling out of it. So I understand how tough changing the way you view proportions is. Try to accustom yourself to having heads that small.

There are still a lot of minor details to work on. For example, now that you have the height, you should work on width. Your guy's torso is skinny. I don't mean "slender" skinny or "physically fit" skinny... I mean "he doesn't have a ribcage" skinny. There's a slight triangle in men's torsos (women have even more of a triangle than me, too). Really study the torso shapes on those tutorials to see it.

Also, you're still having issues with getting those arms to work for you. In this pic, they look pudgy and puffy, as if both arms were bitten by snakes. There's no real form. Wrists and elbows are nearly non-existant, even if it is an improvement of your usual style. You've got to be a little bit braver if you want those limbs to take shape.

As for the other guy.... I'm not sure you're up to that perspective yet. If that figure is on a table in front of the first guy, then there is going to be some SEVERE forshortening going on. That figure is just not forshortened enough. You need to learn how to make anatomy do what you want it to before you can pull that perspective off. Sorry if that's blunt... you're willing to try fleshing him out anyway, but it won't be what it could be, just yet.

Overall, this is quite the step in the right direction. Now you have to train yourself into seeing it as such.
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Postby Dburkhead on Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:58 pm

First, off, tracking the link you provided doesn't give (IMO) a good reference for proportions. Better (again, IMO) are:
http://www.thejaded.co.uk/studio/drawin ... metry.html (although I prefer a more "realistic" 6 1/2 - 7 heads for figures) and http://mcduffies.comicgenesis.com/tutorbody.html

Also worthwhile is dropping a few shekels on some good artists anatomy books. Some of my favorites include:

Human Anatomy made Amazingly Easy (Christopher Hart)
Figure Drawing without a model, Ron Tiner
The Human Figure, David K. Rubins

I've also got a number of reference books containing, basically photo collections, but that's a subject for a different day.

One thing I find helpful is: don't try to draw the figure than then size the head to fit (which appears to be what you've done here). Instead, build in your proportions from the very beginning, whether you use stick figures (one common approach) or "cylinder bodies" (my favored approach), keep track of those head heights and use them to ensure that shoulders, knees, crotch, elbows, etc. are all in the right place.

Proportion is your foundation. It has to be right from the beginning and it's very hard to fix later.
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Postby Dburkhead on Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:40 pm

Regarding what Black Sparrow had to say about thinness, I agree wholeheartedly. Also your figures tend to be very "flat."

Something I've found helpful with both of those issues is the use of "cylinder bodies" as I mentioned previously. Scott McDaniel introduced me to them through the artists tutorials on his website (click on "Drawing Comics" in the menu). I highly recommend that site. Lot's of good hints and suggestions there.

One thing from his site that I recommend, which a lot of people frown on, is tracing. You shouldn't start with tracing (IMO), but when you're having trouble "getting" a pose or likeness from a reference photo or drawing, sometimes by tracing it you can get past whatever blind spot is keeping you from seeing just what the problem is.
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Postby C.w. on Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:49 pm

How to draw the Human figure from the mind in only 178 easy steps
- or -
Learn to draw in people in 43 sleepless hours.

http://the-structure-of-man.blogspot.com/

I can't entirely vouch for this since i only recently got to lesson eight, but so far what he's teaching is jiving with what i already know. The only thing that really bugs me is his whole new agey invention speil. It's sort of interesting on a theoretical level, but sort of stupid on a gut "what the blazes is he talking about" level.
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Postby The Neko on Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:37 pm

Understanding proportion is only a part of the battle, really. A lot of it is figuring out how to create the illusion of depth so the audience believes they're looking at a scene rather than a bunch of paper cutouts. The other issue is that even with good proportions, a lack of anatomical knowledge ruins any real major improvement. And then there's the matter of making sure poses aren't boring or stiff.
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Postby Brockway on Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:37 pm

It almost looks like you are just trying to draw it out in one go. I usually draw a very very very sketchy blurb of the pose and layout I'm going for on paper, I mean reeally sketchy, like loopy scribbles, then I use it as a referrence when I draw on my laptop using my tablet.

The head doesn't seem too small to me, but his upperbody seems too long and his arms too big compared to his chest. He'd probably be turning his head some, or he would be pointing the gun toward where his face is, uh, facing.
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Postby Linkara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:29 am

In all sincerity, that last one I completely erased and just did in my normal style (albeit with some modifications based on what I had learned). The thing is, I had spent the whole weekend having my comic critiqued and ripped apart and after drawing that I just felt miserable. It was no fun to draw at all. ^^;;

So, I've taken another go at it albeit this time I'm focusing mostly on head dynamics using facial expressions based on this spiffy tutorial: http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/47118559/
Sadly it does make the characters look like Rob Liefield rejects in the upper right panel, but hey, they're both pretty pissed and you would be, too, given the situation. ^_~

Also, the odd pose in the lowest panel is because originally it was supposed to be Lightbringer punching Darkbringer across the face (and doing a minor uppercut in the process, hence why his right side is angling down like that), but I couldn't figure out how to get Darkbringer into the shot without it looking dumb or unclear what had just happened. As such, I changed it instead to just a single panel of him looking tired, pissed, and ready to kick ass. His right arm is like that because he's futiley trying to cover up the fact that he's bleeding pretty intensely there and on his leg.
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Postby Dburkhead on Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:55 am

This shows some improvment in your use of expression. One weakness with the bottom panel is that you seem to have trouble with "dynamic" posing of your figures. I believe I mentioned Scott McDaniel's site uptopic (too lasy to look)? Well, I'll reiterate that here, but pointing especially these "Drawing exercises":

Cylinder Bodies
Sports shots
Dual sports and heroes
and
Dynamic figure drawing #1

Spend some time working on those and I think you'll find improvement in the structure and posing of your own figures. (I know I did.)
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Postby Black Sparrow on Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:37 am

Your detail in that one is getting better... but, alas, your heads are back to being a bit too big. This gives the comic a more "cartoony" feel, making it less dramatic than standard superhero comics.

For fight scenes, you may want to play with perspective some more. Don't just give us a panel with a straight-on shot all the time. Try a 3/4 view every once in a while. Fiddle with perspective. Experimenting is the only way to learn.

Also... where did Lightbringer's right hand go in the second panel?
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Postby Linkara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:13 am

It's behind Darkbringer's head? ^^;;

I still disagree about theads, I think it looks fine now even if it is a little large. I fear if I make them any smaller I truly WILL resemble a Liefield drawing. And I have been doing more 3/4 perspective in other pages, just not the ones you've been seeing here... but not with as much proportion work as here.
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Postby Thera Dratara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:00 am

actually, I don't think the heads are too big, I think it's just that they're too perfectly round, making them balloon like. Give a jaw! :)

I also agree on the flatness part, I also suggest you should be working on your hands. It's really easy to grasp the hands, but you really need to sit down and think of a way to draw the hands systematically and start practicing till your paper is filled to the brim with hands so to speak...
Actually, I can advise you to do that with every bodypart that gives you trouble.
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Postby Komiyan on Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:41 pm

Ok, you're still having trouble with faces, but thankyou for making your heads more human shaped. One thing;
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Never draw these wrinkles in particular! All they serve to do is make the character look really old.

I tried drawing over the top of that panel in order to give it a more dynamic feel-
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I'm still getting used to my tablet, so scuse the mess. Notice how lightbringer's head is turned to a more 3/4ths angle to look at him, rather than straight ahead. Darkbringer's shoulders are higher, as he's got something raised above his head. His eyes are narrower, which is a good way to show anger.

As for the head shape you're doing- it's better, but heads aren't the perfect egg shape you have them at. Try looking at random pictures of actual people, not comic book people, and copying them in a realistic style. I was once told that you can't stylise without knowing realism first, and that sounds like good advice to me. Look at the way a face is arranged- compared to yours, the eyes are smaller and closer together (generally the length of one eye apart, which is a neat trick to remember), and the mouths are bigger.

Don't look at anime tutorials for these things, anime is already hyper-stylised. Look at actual real people.
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Postby Linkara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:34 pm

Actually all things considered that looks pretty good even if you did just get the tablet. Interested in being the real artist behind Lightbringer? ^_~

It doesn't look sloppy at all, in all honesty, it actually looks pretty good. The "mostly-rounded egg shape" is something new that I tried due to the nature of the face tutorial and I'm trying to stylize it more so it's not so rounded. Also, I hadn't thought of using a 3/4 shot for his head, but that actually makes perfect sense, thanks! And yeah, the mouth lines were also a part of the tutorial and I also thought they made more sense on someone older but I wanted to go with what the tutorial said to make it look as close to the right thing as possible. And actually, at least in the Darkbringer's case, with his mouth wide like that, if you try to do that in real life, the mouth lines do appear...
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Postby The Neko on Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:48 pm

I have to say, though, that I have no idea how the panels are connected in action at all. And I'd say that the layout, while improved, is still pretty boring.
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Postby Linkara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:10 pm

The Neko wrote:I have to say, though, that I have no idea how the panels are connected in action at all. And I'd say that the layout, while improved, is still pretty boring.


Understandably. The page is actually pretty incomplete, especially since I haven't drawn any background into the body shot yet. And actually, I've decided that there's no need to have the full body like that since the dialogue wouldn't take up very much of that space and there's not much to look at in the background. As such, I'm cutting off the legs at the waist and adding a few more panels in its place.

In addition, it doesn't help that you're looking at the page without any context about what's going on. Also, by my estimations, this storyline is already going over what I usually do (about twenty pages, this one is estimated around 23 so far) so I want to get in what I need to without having a lot of two-panel pages or such.
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Postby The Neko on Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:14 pm

A page should be able to make sense visually without the text. The text only gives you context.

The biggest problem you have is that you rely on text to explain everything, even things as basic as what the characters are doing when they move.
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Postby Dburkhead on Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:57 pm

Storytelling with pictures is a whole 'nother ballgame from just drawing. It's a skill and an art in itself.

One book I highly recommend:

Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner.
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Postby Faub on Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:13 pm

Wrinkles, used correctly, provide a huge range of emotions. :D

First, I must congratulate you for a supervillian who wears a button down shirt, suit vest and tie with bicycle pads as his uniform. It's the tie that gets me. That's awesome!

http://lightbringer.comicgenesis.com/d/20070207.html
This page is indicative of your problems:
  1. Jelly-filled doll Anatomy
  2. Flat Perspective
  3. Inactive camera
  4. Lack of visual drama
  5. Missing backgrounds
  6. Lame visual effects


I will say that you aren't the only one who suffers from this. These problems are fixable.

http://www.thejaded.co.uk/d/20050529.html
Notice the first panel how the assailant is almost completely visible yet the victim's head barely fits in the panel. This demonstrates depth in a panel. Also notice how the assailant bends to lift his leg and kick his victim in the face. This is an example of a dynamic character.

These are visual effects:
http://www.morningstar-comic.com/archive.php?page=0004
http://www.morningstar-comic.com/archive.php?page=0005

Notice how the background is shaded so the special effects look brighter. Notice how the effects act as a light source. Notice how the camera is positioned above, close and far away. These are movie effects designed to add visual drama to a scene.

Linkara wrote:In all sincerity, that last one I completely erased and just did in my normal style (albeit with some modifications based on what I had learned).


No. Wrong. You're not going to learn anything doing that. Throw away your normal style. Junk it. Trash it. Get rid of it. Forget you ever used it.

Take the advice people are giving you. Take it to heart. Find out why they are giving it to you.

What I see is someone trying to draw a human figure from his head without first seeing it with his eyes. You are drawing what you think you see so you draw a head, hair, eyes, a nose and a mouth. It's pretty obvious you don't know what any of these things actually look like. You may think you do, but you don't. There's nothing wrong with that.

Use some photo references and fix that problem:
Wresting
Martial Arts
Running

Take a photo and try to reproduce it. Don't draw what you think you see, draw what you see. Then compare what you drew to what you were drawing from. Odds are, what you draw will look nothing like the photo. That's okay too. It's part of the learning process.

The skeleton people have been trying to get you to use is about structure. You can't just draw a human figure. It's too complex. You need to break it down into parts. Define how the hips work. Define how the shoulders look. Where are the hands? What are they doing? Where are the legs? What are they doing? Work on body language.

Work on proportion. Don't try to draw proportion. It doesn't work. Draw proportion. Draw a circle for the head. Measure the circle and use the proportions you've been shown to measure off the body. Draw the body using the measurements. Don't "fix" it if it doesn't look right to you. Fix it if it's not in proportion.

This isn't an instant fix either. You need to do real work. It's hard and it will take years. (Or you could be Prettysenshi and do it in months)

Get a book on perspective. Before you draw your panels mark your vanishing point(s). Use them to draw your backgrounds. And draw backgrounds. Get into that habit. Don't just draw a few lines. Get into it.

Use some photo references for your backgrounds too:
Cityscape
City street
Sedan
Sports Car
Helicopter

Again. Take one of these pictures and try to reproduce it. Find the perspective points.

Look at devices, uniforms, weapons, etc. Use photo references for those too:
Guns
Knives
Surveillance
Police Uniform
Armor
Police equipment

Okay, that was a lot just to say Pay attention to what these people are telling you. :P
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Postby Linkara on Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:41 pm

faub wrote:First, I must congratulate you for a supervillian who wears a button down shirt, suit vest and tie with bicycle pads as his uniform. It's the tie that gets me. That's awesome!


Not sure if you're serious about that or not. ^_~ Subsequently - the knife in the above page from my comic is made of energy, something he conjured up real quick. Also, despite what one person said above, it's not a gun he has, he's forming a sword out of magic. It's an ability demonstrated in one of my books (where the Darkbringer's powers come from) so that Sorcerers don't have to carry around cumbersome weapons. He's also not very skilled at it, hence why his sword just looks like a blade on top of a cylinder.

Great examples there, Faub, thanks. ^^ I will say that I attempted to use Lightbringer's light blast in the middle panel as a light source, it just didn't turn out that well. I will also say that I attempt to find photo refs for certain poses and I need to use them more often to get a better idea of what it is I'm trying to do.

Just also want to say thanks again to everybody who's been helping me out in this thread. I'm attempting to incorporate as much as I can into it (albeit I sadly lack the funds to buy the books).
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