Thursday, 26 June 2008

2 - Draw Yourself

(all photos by Paul Tamburro, St Matthews RC High, Moston)

So following straight on from the Charlie Brown images, we have a quick chat see how many people feel they could draw in a similar style, and most feel they can. After all, he's a big circle, a C for a nose, dot's for eyes - how hard can it be?
Now let's have a go then, but drawing ourselves in this style, as if you are in a comic alongside Charlie Brown. Again, I stress that nobody is going to be marked on what they produce, and explain that as long as you have a good go at it then I'll be more than happy. The strugglers I'll go round and help.
Think about how much 'information' you need to include, and what details can be left out. I do a quick demonstration -

-Adding the pen in my hand at the end serves as a little clue to who the drawing is of, and is something that everyone can do with their drawing (do you play sports? A musical instrument?). I give them 10 minutes, and make it clear that no-one is to write their name on their drawing, as we are to play a bit of a guessing game with the finished pictures.
Everyone gets going in pencil first, then after a few minutes I'll bring the black felt tips around, explaining that they need to stand out bold and clear when I hold them up at the front of the room. We all start off with the simple structure of big circle for head, box for body and lines for arms and legs. Everyone is encouraged to add their own distinctive features, be it glasses, freckles, headbands, whatever.

Gathered in, we try to guess who each one is, and what clues in the picture have told us this. I like to go through all of them, finding something praiseworthy about each (clarity, comedy, expression, economy of line), but often we are pushed for time so I pull out 8 or so good examples.

I ask the class why particular images are easier to guess than others. Often it might be because they have filled the page and drawn them nice and big, or it could be because they've not cluttered their drawing with too much information. This is good stuff for them to mull over and absorb.

One of the nice things about this exercise is how quickly it generates 30 characters that you could do anything with - such as produce a school comic story. It's also nice to remind them that everyone's started off with the same simple structure yet came out distinct and unique; imagine the potential variety if we hadn't all used that same template...

Next post - Two Card Characters (sometimes 3 Card Characters)


oliver east said...

you should email a link to these to Tom Spurgeon at the comics reporter. he might flag it up and get some traffic this way. interesting stuff.

Christine said...

Hello Jim. It's Leeds Pusscards here. (How prescient was that!)
I was deeply reminded of you yesterday when I got an email from
'creative forum' on picnic-ing for civil liberties. and thought of the teddy bears.So I looked you up and see this fantastic blog. Still tittering over the Kitty Litter.
Love to hear from you anytime. Brilliant.

Marek Bennett said...

Great idea -- putting yourself into the drawing is a hint that your best material will come from your own interests and experiences.

I've noticed how lots of artists actually LOOK like their drawings (or perhaps it's the other way around...). This exercise would put THAT to the test!

Anonymous said...

Wow what a great blog. I got this link from Steve 'Banal Pig' who posted it on live journal. I like the exercises for kids, and it reminded me of something I saw on drawn.

it is quite fun to check but there are at least two I don't recognise.