Liandro
Liandro
Cartoonist and drawing teacher
Liandro
I feel that I can't properly critique your color work (because I'm red-green colorblind :P), but it's cool to see how diligent and careful your studies are, @Jesper Axelsson. I agree with @Steve Lenze, the guys you're studying from are a great source for sure. Another resource that brought me a lot of helpful information about color and painting was Sam Nielson's course on fundamentals of lighting, over at Schoolism (https://schoolism.com/courses/art/fundamentals-of-lighting-sam-nielson). And yet another resource many people talk about is the book "Color and Light", by @James Gurney - I wonder if you've ever taken a look at it (I haven't yet). Keep it up!
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Liandro
Hey, @tristanleckie03! I agree with @Steve Lenze: starting with simple forms, solving proportions before shading, saving the details for further stages - these things will give your drawing process a solid ground to stand on. I think you already have a nice thing going on with your mark-making, so working a bit on foundation topics like gesture and structure should definitely help you fill a gap in your skills. I see from your profile you’re currently enrolled in a few courses here at Proko, but if you allow me the suggestion, in case you haven’t, I’d strongly recommend taking some time to go through Figure Drawing Fundamentals first, as it approaches the most basic skills for figure drawing (which is, then, one of the foundations for character and creature design, which I assume are fields you might be interested in). Ideally, after watching each lesson from the course, go ahead and do the respective assignments, then post your work in this community to get feedback, as this could help you improve faster and more efficiently. Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please feel free to let me know. Good studies!
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Liandro
Hey, @Natali Santini, I like it! It reminds me a bit of illustrations from the european Art Déco style, from around the 1920s. I love your choice on the golden background and I think you managed to nicely work its contrast with the face values. There are a few other things, though, which I believe you could try working a bit further. For example, right now, it’s not the eye shadow that pops out the most to me, but the hairstyle - its size, shape and value constrast against the overall picture are making it strongly dominant, at least in my eye. If the goal is to highlight the eye shadow as the focal point, I’d experiment ways of playing down the hair some more, maybe by using lighter values on its shape, or perhaps by seeking other ways to reduce its dominance and emphasis in the overall composition. Another thing that comes to my mind is that, right now, I feel as if the visual language of the illustration is somewhere inbetween realistic and stylized - the hair, brows, lashes and earring look more geometric and flat, while the head and facial features tend to a soft-rendering, more realistic approach. In my perception, this stylistic ambiguity softens the strength of the overall design a little bit, so I’d suggest picking one of these directions to take the illustration more emphatically (either even more realistic or, instead, fully stylized). That’s my take anyway! Hope it helps. If I could help you with anything, just let me know. Other than that, nice job!
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Liandro
Hey, @Dennis Yeary! A simple yet relevant question. The main drawing skills you’ll need to animate cartoon characters are probably gesture and form/structure. In hand-drawn animation, characters often need to have a sense of life and natural movement - that’s when having a good grasp on gesture will be important; and you’ll also need to convey consistency and believability in terms of mass, volume and space across the various animated frames - that’s when the skills on form/structure (and even perspective) should help you. I think these are the main ones, but, of course, any other knowledge you might have that can push your drawing skills further should be useful too (observation, figure drawing/anatomy, character design, composition, cartooning, caricaturing, visual storytelling…) Besides the drawing skills, animation itself also has various other fundamentals which will be essential for you to manage, such as squashing/stretching, follow-through, timing etc. @Aaron Blaise shows a nice overview of these and other principles in his course on Fundamentals of Animation over at his website (https://creatureartteacher.com/product/fundamentals-of-animation/), maybe you might like to check it out. With all that said, I think it’s also important to point out that cartoon animation today has other approaches, too, beyond the traditional hand-drawn techniques. For example, there is cut-out animation, which is widely used for TV and Web and is often preferred by many professionals, especially when working in a more graphic (less realistic) style. Animation softwares tend to have several tools such as paths, symbol libraries and automatic inbetweening that make the animation process and methods a lot different than just drawing frame by frame on a light table. Some people come to the point of believing that animators don’t necessarily need to have strong drawing skills, as long as they master all of the animation specific techniques (although I, personally, disagree with that and always encourage people to practice drawing). Anyway, my point is: cartoon animation is a universe on its own! So, in case you haven’t already, perhaps you might like to take some time to explore a bit more and figure out possibilities, as this could help you concentrate your efforts and invest on growing your skills with more clarity. Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please just let me know. Best of luck!
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Liandro
Amazing job, @mil3s! I agree with @Christopher Beaven, the proportions don't need to be perfect (even though I think you did great with that). I also love the way you've used your hatch marks, they really help describe the volumes effectively and pleasingly. I'd add up just one little extra note to @Steve Lenze's shrewd critique by suggesting that you could perhaps try to vary some more the quality of the shading edges. The photo of the plaster cast shows a wide range of hard, soft and lost edges, while, in your drawing, everything looks a lot more hard and angular. As a personal shading style in a creative art piece, I actually think it looks pretty cool (as I mentioned, I really like the feel of the hatch lines). But if this drawing is an observational study which is supposed to be focused on light and value (as I'm assuming it is), I'd say it could be very helpful for you to notice those edge variations and try to bring them more into your drawing. For example, one of the areas that calls my attention the most regarding this issue is the large groove to the left of the eye (our left): there's a transition from the deeper shadow to the reflected light above it which, in the object, looks very soft, but happens to have a very defined and sharp edge in your drawing, and this makes that plane change feel blocky rather than rounded. Softening the value edge some more (as Steve did in the paint-over the provided you) could help better show that groove area as a rounded form. The same suggestion applies to any other areas in the drawing where you notice the forms should look more rounded than blocky. Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please just let me know. Keep up the good work!
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Rajitmeet Singh
I read “steal like an artist” and found it helpful for understanding the creative process, it’s really short. I hope this helps. Good luck!
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Liandro
I read it too, I really liked it! Although it’s really more about how to “unlock” your mind for creative thinking, but not so much about drawing from imagination.
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Liandro
Hey, @Anubhav Saini! Thanks for reaching out! Good job studying these complex muscle groups! Definitely a challenge, but I'm sure your effort will pay off. Overall, my major suggestion would be to identify the bones underneath and draw all the muscles as if they were transparent - that way, you can track all the origins and insertions more precisely, and this will make your anatomy studies much more effective. If drawing through all the forms starts to make your drawings look visually messy due to many lines overlapping each other, one nice thing you can do is to try and keep a clear visual hierarchy based on line quality: thick and bolder lines for the "visible" forms in front, and thinner, lighter lines for whatever is "hidden" or farther behind. Here are some more specific thoughts referring to each of the different drawings: -- - In images 1, 3, 6 and 7, the Deltoids’ shapes are fine overall, but the insertions aren’t shown, and the muscle just ends as a rounded shape. We could get away with that on the surface sometimes, but if you really want to understand anatomy, you can take advantage of your time while studying anatomy and track the muscles' ends all the way to the insertions on the bones.  - I think images 2 and 4 are the most successful ones in this group of drawings. Even though the attachments aren’t shown as I mentioned before, the overall aspect of the muscles look believable, and there’s pleasing shape design. Based on your undersketches, I can also see you’re thinking nicely about the gesture of the arm. In image 5, which is the same pose, the way the Deltoid sort of “pierces” intro the shape of the Biceps Brachii looks incorrect.  - Image 8, to me, is the weakest one in this group - the anatomy and the design just don’t seem to be working very well. Image 6 (which, I guess, is the same pose as 8 - is it?) has a slightly better resolution on the Deltoids and Biceps Brachii, but the Brachialis don’t look anatomically correct, and the pose looks a bit confusing to me (at first glance, I thought it was a back view). If possible, I’d re-do these ones entirely applying the idea of drawing transparent and showing the bones underneath.  - In 1, the shapes of the Biceps Brachii and Brachialis don’t seem to be bent properly - it looks like they’re being pushed upward as if the Brachioradialis was a large volume underneath, which isn’t accurate. Image 3 (the same pose) looks a bit better!  - In image 9, the Biceps Brachii looks a bit too small, and I also feel a bit of the “snowman effect” in the way the shapes are designed. When thinking of the muscles shapes, consider drawing them more asymmetrical and dynamic (you can refer back to the "How to Draw Gesture" lesson, from the Figure course, in case you need a refresh on this matter). Image 7 looks like an upgraded version of the same pose to me - both size and shape look better resolved when compared to 9. But one thing I like about 9 that 7 doesn’t show is the cross-contours - they do help a lot in indicating the volumes. Although I don't think you need to draw so many cross-contours - usually, one for each muscle section works fine. When it's a longer muscle, such as the Quads of the Erector Spinae, we can add a pair of cross-contours, depending on the pose, but I think that's not the case for the Deltoids or Biceps. -- As another major suggestion, in case you haven’t, I’d recommend starting your studies with the exact same references as the ones Stan shows in the anatomy lessons. Studying the same poses of the example videos allows you to check your work more easily, as you have immediate reference and demo provided by the instructor. Then, when you're done with those, you could expand your practice by chasing other references to try on your own. Finally, one extra recommendation: I’d advise studying the Deltoids and the Biceps separately first. If this is the first time you’re learning them, they can be better understood if studied independently in the beginning. Once you’ve already studied them separately and feel comfortable enough with drawing them individually with anatomical accuracy, then it’s fine to go ahead and study these different group muscles conjoinedly like this. Hope this helps! Please let me know if I can help you with anything else. Keep up the studies!! Best of luck!
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Steve Lenze
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Liandro
Thank you, @Steve Lenze! :D
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Liandro
Awesome exercise, @Jesper Axelsson! It's great how you set up this “self-assignment” based on something you observed and wanted to improve on in your workflow. I think 4 hours is really a very short amount of time to finish an entire illustration, especially in this level of complexity - a realistic figure, an environment, lighting, value composition, visual action and storytelling... a lot of stuff to figure out in a "half-day work", and certainly too little time for any kind of rendering and polishing. Within these constraints, I think you've done a pretty nice job! In terms of adjustment suggestions, here's my two cents, hope it helps: . Tarzan 1 - I'd say it could perhaps use some more darker values in the overall composition to let you enhance depth, atmosphere and global contrasts. And I believe I'd also take some more time to figure out how the hand should be grabbing the vine. Things that need to be worked outside the 4-hour time frame. :) But, as it is, given the context, I think it's a quite successful drawing! Personally, I view it as a thumbnail sketch or preliminary study that could potentially become a fully rendered piece in the future if worked for a (much) longer time. I’m also wondering what is it exactly that your family had trouble reading in it. . Tarzan 2 - I love the pose and the anatomical stylizations. But unless you want it be a “Frank-Miller-y” high contrast visual style illustration, I’d say it could use some more halftone variations to describe the muscle volumes and give you more room to play around with different levels of contrasts and types of edges. Additionally, I feel that my eye is being brought straight to the center of the image (abs and pelvis) because of the stronger details and more contrasting shapes there, but I guess your narrative kind of asks the focal point to be either the spear or, alternatively, Tarzan’s face. Hope this helps. Overall, great work!!
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Liandro
You're welcome, @Jesper Axelsson! Yeah, absolutely! I have colleagues who say to have spent over 40 (yes, forty) hours or even more in just one illustration. Of course this varies from person to person, but, usually, it’s the rendering/polishing and refinements that take up most of the time. From what I’ve observed in my own process, about half the hours often go into this stage - that is, when I say to myself “yay, the sketch is fully resolved, I’m now just gonna make it final”, it means I’m probably about halfway there in terms of working time. Well, I must confess I hadn’t noticed the gorilla on the bottom of Tarzan 1… 😅 I imagined your family had had trouble reading it because the gorilla was not in the composition, thus it was hard to understand the story and what Tarzan was after. Even by looking at the bottom right corner of the drawing now, I’m still having trouble visualizing the gorilla’s anatomy (and a bit of Jane’s too), so yeah, I can relate to how that part has become hard to read. Sorry about that! But I'd say putting some more work on defining the characters' value ranges and contrasts against the background's should definitely help with solving the clarity there. Ah, and I’d totally reinforce considering @Steve Lenze's great suggestion on Tarzan’s pose. And yeah, so in Tarzan 2, you might consider keeping the highest value contrasts and details/textures on those areas of higher priority according to this visual hierarchy you've planned, and then play everything else down some more. Hope this helps! Keep up the good work!
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Christopher Beaven
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Liandro
Thank you, @Christopher Beaven! 😄
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Liandro
Hey, @annyyyyy, thanks for reaching out! 😄 And so sorry for my delayed reply. This is a very nice sketch, and I see @Steve Lenze has already given you some helpful feedback regarding form and structure. I’d definitely second that and encourage you to keep those ideas in mind. Adding up, I really like the overall line and hatch quality in your drawing, but I believe the straight pattern of the shading lines may be hurting the volumes on some areas such as the lower legs, the lower back, the head/hair and a little bit on the buttocks. So piggybacking a bit off Steve’s comment, I’d suggest you try making the shading lines “wrap around” the forms (rather than using straight lines). I’m attaching some visual notes in the images! Not that you should never use straight lines for this (in fact, many artists do, usually for stylistic reasons - sometimes even overlapping layers of “wrapping” strokes over straight) - but just be mindful of how each of these different choices of how to shade affects the representation of the volumes in your drawing and use them deliberately, according to your preferences and intention of each piece. Also, have you tried crosshatching with the side of the pencil instead of the tip? This could help make the halftone transitions more subtle on areas of softer edges, like, for example, near the thigh’s core shadow. Hope this helps. If you have any questions, just let me know. Keep up the good work, and best of luck in your start at the art academy!
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Liandro
Hey, @pa1m! Sorry I don’t know the answer, but I see it’s been a while since you posted this and you didn’t get any response yet. I’ll check out and make sure your message is forwarded to Stan and other people in the team, so hopefully we should get some feedback on this soon. I’ll let you know as soon as possible. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Gannon Beck
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Liandro
Tough ones, @Gannon Beck! Great job!
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Liandro
@Anubhav Saini Wow! Horrifying indeed! 😁
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Liandro
Hey, @vesuvio, I think these are great! The first pose (“imagination”) is certainly my favorite one. Awesome gesture - with good exaggeration - and nice 3D construction. Overall, in the gesture stage, I really like how you’re keeping the lines super simple and nicely flowing. I also find it cool how you’re adding an “extra step” between the gesture and the structure to figure out the aspects of balance and proportions - usually, I don’t think of these aspects as an “in-between step” (they usually come to me “diluted” either in the gesture or in the mannequin), but the way you’re breaking it down as a stage on its own seems pretty helpful. As for the mannequins and forms, I believe you’re also going in a nice direction overall. The way you seem to be thinking about the 3D forms makes the mannequins have a solid feel. But I believe the line quality of the mannequins may be jeopardizing the clarity a little - if possible, try cleaning up the lines just a bit more when drawing the mannequins. No need to worry about precision or being extremely clean though - cleaning up a bit more is a matter of being assertive with the visual message you’re conveying and dosing the “cleanliness” just enough to enhance the clarity so that no forms or parts of the structure feel unclear. If you’re still getting used to your drawing display and controlling the lines feels tricky, maybe try using a line stabilizer tool such as Lazy Nezumi (on Windows) or HejStylus (on MacOS). Also, I’d recommend drawing all the mannequins fully, avoid leaving some of them incomplete. If the goal of this practice is to design the mannequin as a cohesive bigger structure made of smaller parts, it’s good to not miss any parts. This is a recommendation for typical mannequin studies, which I understand is your focus with these. But of course, in other types of studies, if you want to focus on just a specific part of the body, then you can certainly develop just that specific area of the drawing which you’re focusing on and leave the rest of the figure as more of a rough sketch. My take on answering your question: if you’re currently in progress with the Figure course, I’d recommend finishing it entirely before starting Anatomy. If you’re done with Figure already, I’d say you can definitely start the Anatomy lessons as your next step. Hope this helps! Thanks for your patience in waiting for my feedback. :)
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Liandro
Hey, @paper! Sorry for the late reply, I appreciate your patience! I like you painting! I think the different versions you made kind of bring slightly different feelings and styles. Personally, I prefer the one to attached in the original post because it feels like watercolor, mild and more pleasant to look at (at least to my personal taste) - and I really like how the girl’s face pops against the light faded background. The updated version, with stronger constrasts and digital iterations, feels much busier and intense, which I kind of like too, although not as much as the earlier one - and in the update, I feel the girl’s face kind of got a bit lost with the darker shadows and amidst the busy background. However, I do think the blizzard efffect looks clearer in the updated version - there’s are visible hints of snow flakes and a sense of movement and wind which doesn’t appear in the original version.If you’re still taking any suggestions on this piece, one that I’d give would be to maybe try adding the blizzard digitally as you did, but keep the softer contrasts and more “watercolory” brushwork you had earlier. That’s what I think I’d do anyway. Hope this helps!
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Liandro
Hey, @Anubhav Saini, sorry for the late reply! Looks like @Steve Lenze has given you a very helpful feedback already and clarified how you could solve the major drawing issues. As a complement, since you mentioned you wanted the character to look angry, I sketched a quick gesture over Steve’s drawing just to illustrate how I’d push the pose a bit more towards an angry body language. Feel free to tone down the “cartooniness” and adapt the overall idea to whatever style you’re going for. And keep in mind that, besides the body language alone, the character’s facial expression and the narrative context in your story should also help accentuate the idea that he’s angry. Hope this helps! And please let me know in case you have any questions. Best regards!
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paper
@Liandro oh hell yeah dude,that video was awesome!It remind me of how important it is to think of the concept and ideation of the picture as much as the technique and craftsmanship of it!
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Liandro
I’m glad you liked it, @paper! Thanks! 😄
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Ferencz Erzsebet
Very inspiring video, a full Proko course from Liandro would be really helpful. Great teacher, great ideas, great animations.
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Liandro
That’s very nice of you, @Ferencz Erzsebet! Thank you! 😄
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Chad Bever
Would check out a course from Liandro in a heartbeat. Great vid!
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Liandro
Thanks a lot, @Chad Bever! Glad you liked it! 😀
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