Feedback: simplification / shape design
Hey, @Struggler! You originally requested my help in another post (https://www.proko.com/s/CFaT), but since there was a different discussion going on there first, I’m creating this new separate topic so we can focus just on your demands here. To provide some context, I’m attaching your drawings, and here’s what you originally wrote: —- Hi sir, I need your help to improve my work. I want to do cartoon style work but i am unable to simplify it, and that's exhausting. I am not able to making those gorgeous shapes that speaks of life. When I exaggerate something it feels to me that I am doing it wrong. So I want you to give me a honest review of my work so that I can know what I am doing wrong. Thank you —- So, as requested, I’ll share some thoughts! My personal gut reaction to your drawings: I honestly like them. To me, they feel cute and adorable, and I think they also have a nice sense of appeal and storytelling. One thing I like to have in mind is that there is no “wrong way” to draw - art is vast enough to withhold various valid types of expression. And in cartooning, I think this is especially true. But I also understand that we, artists, often idealize a particular style we wish to have, or envision techniques we want to grow upon. With that said, I think it can be important to reframe the question, not so much as “what am I doing wrong?”, but more like “where do I want to get?” I can certainly tell that you are, in fact, already drawing in a cartoon style, since your drawings do have a degree of simplification. The thing is: would you like to simplify even more? If so, what is it about each drawing exactly that you feel you’re having trouble simplifying? You also mention you’d like to make “gorgeous shapes that speak of life” - could this be a hint that what you’re struggling with isn’t exactly simplification, but shape design? (I’m thinking of exaggeration as a part of shape design too, by the way) Let me know if any of this rings true to you and if you might have anything else to share, then we can keep discussing in this thread!
Hi again, @Struggler! I recently remembered something that I believe you might like to know about. I wonder if you’ve ever heard about the concept of “iteration”? It’s an idea from the computing sciences, but it’s also commonly used in design as a problem-solving method. Here’s the Oxford Dictionary definition for it: “repetition of a mathematical or computational procedure applied to the result of a previous application, typically as a means of obtaining successively closer approximations to the solution of a problem.” Essentially, here’s how it works in design/drawing: first, we draw a sketch; then, on a new layer (if it’s digital) or on a sheet of tracing paper, with the sketch underneath, we draw a new sketch, not tracing the first one, but using it just as a base and changing whatever we think could be improved in terms of shape, gesture and overall design; then, on top of just the second sketch, on a new layer/sheet, we draw a third one from scratch again, repeating the same process and with the same idea of making adjustments and improvements; and then a fourth one; and a fifth one; and keep doing it, always taking just the latest sketch as the base and improving upon it, and we do it for as many passes as we need until, hopefully, we feel we’ve reached a satisfactory result. As a practical example, I’m attaching here an attempt I made recently as a study. The first sketch was already simplified and had some things I liked about it, but I decided to take it further and try an iteration exercise. I thought to myself: “What is this character, his facial features and his shapes really about?” I figured it was about the elongated face and neck, the bun, the teeth and the pointy nose - so I did two other passes trying to exaggerate these qualities and dim down other features (hair, eyes, beard texture), while also experimenting ways to improve the shapes, the simplification and the style more and more. As another example, philipino artist Nathan Pangilinan (whose work with shape design I admire a lot) recently showed his process for designing an animal illustration in this post on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFpOu9GAJ7G/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= I find it amazing how much change there was just from step 1 to step 3, which is when I think he really started to achieve some interesting shapes. @Court Jones also shows his approach to iteration techniques in his Caricature course, in this lesson called Caricature of a Caricature. On each stage, he exaggerates even more the unique features of the face, and tunes down everything else - and that’s what leads him to such interesting and boldly exaggerated designs. You might notice Court takes each sketch all the way to a pretty developed stage, which might not be necessary though when we’re just on the early stages of a drawing (as you may have noticed in Nathan’s sketches and in mine). Since shape design was something you mentioned you wanted to improve in your work, I thought perhaps you might like to try iteration exercises as a way to develop this skill (in case you've never tried it before). The best results for this exercise happen if we adopt a mindset of being curious about “how far can I take it?” and if we’re willing to take risks and not be caught up on the fear of “making mistakes”. Hope this helps!
Hi sir, I am sorry for posting on the wrong thread because I had little idea about how the thread discussion works. Actually yes I like to simplify it more and i do want to have great shape design. I love simple yet interesting shape designing but the problem is when I try to make it simple I think that it's not working and I am loosing all the information here, then it started to looking boring and dull and that just doesn't work at all. And whenever I try to keep it simple I just can't stop myself from making it more complicated and I just keep drawing keep drawing it until I ruined it. Maybe I overworked my work because I don't think that looked good enough when I have simplified the drawing, i keep adding the details to make it work.