Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Cartoon Caveman At Work...

This past week at Sheridan College, two of my current 2nd Year students, Amir Avni and Mitch Kennedy, asked if I would do an on-camera demonstration of how I take a drawing from initial rough gesture through to the final sketch. It was all very spontaneous and we set up in the classroom right after I'd finished this week's lesson to their group. In a matter of minutes the camera was set up on the tripod looking down over my left shoulder and I started sketching away, keeping a stream of consciousness commentary going all the while I was working. Hopefully this will illustrate the ongoing thought process I experience as I am working out a drawing. By the way, I apologize for the initial stage where I am gesturing in quite lightly in blue pencil on the paper. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was just too light for the camera to pick up. However, once I start working out the basic forms on top of the scribbled gesture, you can make out more clearly what I am doing. As for the chosen subject matter, let's just say that there's nothing more appealing to me than doodling a cute gal!

Again, my sincere thanks to Amir and Mitch for coming up with this idea, as it really was quite fun to do and I am actually quite flattered that they asked me. Please be sure to also check out their blogs to see a sampling of what these clever students of mine can do themselves:

Amir Avni
Mitch Kennedy









The finished sketch. By the way, if this were an actual assignment, I would lay a fresh sheet of paper on top of this and refine the drawing much more before inking it.

39 comments:

Kitty said...

Oh wow ... you have just made my weekend! :-D

I really enjoyed watching you at work ... my daughter was watching too, and at first said 'oooh, that's Tinkerbell' before she changed her mind.

Excellent blogging - thank you so much!

murrayb said...

yay PITT pencils! I tried out a fabled blackwing, maybe because it was a 25+ year old pencil lead, but I like pitt pencils better. buttery smooth.
Very inspiring Pete, you make it look easy.

Pete Emslie said...

Kitty - Yeah, there is probably a bit of Tink influence there. That just seems to happen naturally after having worked with Disney both on-staff and as a freelancer over the last 20+ years.

Murray - I actually still have a box of Blackwings in mint condition from when I bought them about 15 years ago. (Don't tell Jenny Lerew!) The Pitt Oil Base pencils really are smooth to work with, as you say. I have one of my students to thank for introducing me to them a couple years back. I also love the Design Ebony pencils too. All of these pencils provide a soft, dark line that makes you feel like you're "sculpting" the form rather than just drawing outlines.

amir avni said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it Pete, we all had fun! I think it turned out well, and the readers enjoy it too, which was the original intent.

Adam said...

Thanks Pete, very educational, loved it.

Clinton said...

Pete, Amir, Mitch - Big THANKS for sharing! I use soft faber castell pencils for my sketching. It does get messy, though, I may have to go back to non-photo blue again.

Rodrigo said...

Sweet. I think I need to work in other than just mechanical pencils. . .

Thad K said...

Pete-
Thanks for sharing this! It's really insightful to see an expert do it step by step.

And it's refreshing to see the kind of stuff that will translate well into CARTOON animation - the BEST kind of animation! Lots of students here would say otherwise but I digress.

petoski said...

i love the cartoons job!

i draw too, but only a 1% of your job!!

jojooo!!!

thanks for the video veri instructive!!

Roberto said...

I've been keeping my eye on your blog for quite a while now and I just wanted to express my gratitude.

In some of the other posts, you've mentioned "sculpting" the forms. Thanks to these videos, I can see what you mean. They sure tell a lot on their own! Once again, Pete, thanks for these very educational videos.

Rossco said...

This is great stuff Pete. Very helpful.

Many Thanks.

NateBear said...

I'm always impressed when an artist can be so articulate about drawing. As you certainly are!
Hearing you really clarifies some of my own thought process while drawing.

TotalD said...

Hi Pete, it's Brewster. Nice to see you finally. Life is funny. Terrific drawings .

Bitter Animator said...

Fantastic. I love that, Pete. You certainly know your craft. I can't think of the last time I saw a drawing that was so solidly constructed yet totally appealing in all its 2-dimensional glory at the end.

Inspiring stuff. Thanks.

Joe said...

Thoroughly inspiring!

You should definitely do more stuff like this.

Ryan G. said...

Hey thanks for doing this Pete. Its great watching talented artists draw.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Awesome, thanks!

Bill Field said...

PETE!!! You Cartoon Rock Star! Great to see the master at work--in the flesh- on digital video (That sounds weird- but you get it). I am truly glad John K. linked to you months back, because this 20 year cartoon vet has learned sooooooo much from your genorous posts. I like Ebony pencils, Kohinor's woodless pencils(Their color woodless PROGRESSO line is really great, and affordable), Wolff's Graphite, Semi-Hex and Lumograph. Pete- your guidance for caricaturing TV stars, in my case, the cast of Hawaii Five O, has proven priceless for this pencil-pusher... I cannot say enough in praise of all your efforts! Props as well to your students for getting you on camera!-Bill

Pete Emslie said...

Thanks for all the kind comments, folks! But this video wouldn't even had been made, had it not been due to the interest of my two students, Amir and Mitch. Definitely the most satisfying aspect of teaching at the college is the creative interaction with students who are also very dedicated to the craft. In addition, all these students are far more tech savvy than I will ever be, so it's nice that they can make stuff like this happen. Frankly, I was quite flattered that they asked me to do it.

Anna said...

Wonderfuly, thanks for posting this. I am glad Amir and Mitch wanted to do capture it on video, bravo for them. Its always excited to you your sketch on characters and the diffrent stages that come along with it.

Rodd said...

Thanks Pete for the video. To hear someone talk through the process really helps to bring it all together really well.

I always wanted to hear and see some of the other great caricature artists out there (ie. Kruger, Op De Beeck, Hirschfeld, the MAD mag guys etc) do the same but its nearly impossible to even find a good book explaining their thought process, let alone a video (as far as I know).

I'm a unsatisfied, creatively frustrated (with the industry) cartoon guy still willing to learn and get as much knowledge as I can from guys like you and other mentioned blogs. So thanks again for sharing your skills! It's invaluable info.

kate yarberry said...

thanks this is great!

MikeSnj said...

Very useful. Make more of these.

Charlie J. said...

http://hjfhjk.blogspot.com/

Hey Pete,
Thank you so much for doing this! I copied the drawing step by step, do you think you could take a look at it?

J Casual said...

I always thought you were taller.

Kevin W. Martinez said...

Hi, Pete,

I'm probably one of the only people in coastal Southeastern Texas thatwants to learn how to draw cartoon forms (The only Art class in my high school doesn't even touch upon anything like this), and I still got quite a lot out of your video.

For the past 2-3 weeks or so, I've been doing tons of practice trying to tweak and get the hang of forms (experimenting on existing cartoon/comic characters with thick lines, like Calvin and Hobbes and Billy and Mandy, drawing real-life forms by observation and caricaturing), most of it fueled by the information on your blog. Some things don't come naturally to me at all, like hand construction, some types of perspective (mainly involving eyes) or even the line of action, and I'm still seeing some of the stiffness I want to move away from.

Seeing someone actually draw a cartoon-type form, and keepingh it so natural and away from thetemptation of stiffness to boot, is enlightening, even if it's by video.

I guess I'm off to practice some more.

Pete Emslie said...

Hi Kevin,

I'm glad that you've found the video helpful. I'll be posting ongoing drawing tips and some of the handouts I use in my college classes, so hopefully it will add to your knowledge. Thanks for the feedback!

Mitch K said...

Hey Pete! Thanks for the plug!

This whole thing was Amir's doing, though. I can only take credit for providing the tripod and propping up the desk. haha

Cute gals = wicked. You should demonstrate all of your lessons with cute girls in turtle necks.

Skid said...

Awesome, I love demos like these! Can't wait for your future posts on drawing tips and the like.

Gregg said...

Thanks to Amir, Mitch, and Pete.

Always a treat to watch a pro at work.

The, don't draw like it's an outline comment was great.

If it were an actual assignment, what would you refine?

The hair, hands, or everything?

Thanks again.

Cory Crivari said...

Hey Pete,
I didn’t realize till now after looking at your picture at the drawing table that you look like Pecos Bill – a cartoon character designed by Ward Kimball. All you need is a cowboy hat and cigarette!

Ken Mitchroney said...

Thanks Pete
Nice to know someone out there can still do it right. Beautiful.

Marlo Meekins said...

I've seen your caricatures and I just love them, you are one of the very best!

GhettoFab said...

simply amazing! Thank you for sharing these!

Pete Emslie said...

Marlo - So nice to see you here! I'm a big fan of your work, too. Fact is, I'm always amazed at how much you are able to distort and abstract the subject, yet still retain a great likeness. You are fearless in your approach and I admire your ability greatly!

Philip Thomas said...

Really great post. Very inspiring and educational. Thank for sharing!

Greg Manwaring said...

Big Pete!!!

My daughters sat with me "ooh'ing and Ahh'ing" as we watched you make your drawing!

It was nice for them to see a master at work!!

Fantastic stuff!!

Your buddy,

Greg

rduht said...

We always Wow Power Leveling and world of warcraft gold

B2-kun said...

Thank you for posting such an informative and educational video of your drawing process. Quite inspirational!