Anyone remember these guys in that little pamphlet from the 1990s?
|Darkwing Duck (Disney) drawn by me, circa ©1995.|
Flash forward to today, when I get requests for me to teach how to draw Manga or Disney characters, or any kind of animation/illustration. I simply say no. Manga, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, is a style of Japanese illustration used in comic books and graphic novels. Think hair every color of the rainbow and really big eyes. It's cool, engaging, colorful, and easy to see why people want to draw that way. I was hooked myself when I was a kid. (When are they ever going to make that Robotech movie??) It's a beautiful style of cartooning, but it is not what I teach, and honestly anyone who is a professional animator or illustrator - be it for Disney or Studio Ghibli - that person is a professional artist who has already mastered how to draw from life. Every single one of those illustrators had to take a load of art courses learning how to draw skeletons and every part of the human body, how to draw a bowl of fruit, how to properly shade a circle to make it look like a sphere, how to capture the texture of a feather, how to draw movement. Their illustrations look so easy and effortless to us because they have spent years studying every curve of the human face, the way hair falls, the way muscles change when we tense an arm or brace our legs for a race. Those artists practice again, and again, and again, much like a musician perfecting their musical tone. Then - and only then - will that artist's cartoon images look so good, because they've learned how to draw a realistic version of a person and can then boil those lines down to the essentials and create simplified cartoon characters that still convey personality, emotion, and natural human movement (or in the case of Darkwing, more duck-like movement).
|3D Darkwing Duck study drawn by me, circa ©1995.|
So yes, I know how to draw Manga and Disney and pretty much anything like that but my focus is teaching the fundamentals - drawing realistically from life and from direct observation - because I firmly believe it'll give you more satisfaction as a budding artist than just copying the lines another artist laid down first.