Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some Cute (And Not So Cute) Doodles!


I make no bones about the fact that I love to draw cute characters. Cartoons that are cute and appealing are what I grew up with, and I still far prefer that over the ugly schlock of today, therefore that is what I gravitate towards in my own cartooning. Here are some more examples of recent doodles that explore that theme.


In the one above, I decided to scribble out several animated poses of the same little guy bouncing his basketball. Though I have never animated per se, I have always enjoyed bringing a character to life through continuity poses and expressions. Of course, this is the essence of what I have done for many years in illustrating children's books for Disney. Ideally I would love to start illustrating books with my own characters, but I'm not sure that children's book publishers even like cartoons anymore. Regrettably, they seem to have forgotten that the most famous kids' illustrator of all time, Dr. Seuss, was in fact a cartoonist.


These were a couple of quick impressions I scribbled of other diners at the restaurant I was at several weeks ago. The old guy reminded me a bit of Ed McMahon and the young girl had similar features to Drew Barrymore. The cat was not actually in the restaurant, but snuck into my doodling just the same.


Okay, I guess these ugly rascals can't be called "cute", but they were fun to draw. After finishing up a Suduko, I started aimlessly doodling a couple of ugly mugs, which then led to a whole series of unsavory mobster types appearing around the edge of the puzzle. I particularly like the psychotic looking fellow in the lower right corner and the wall-eyed rascal in the top middle. The whole exercise was really meant to explore facial features of varying shape, size and relative placement on various head shapes, which is something I stress constantly in my Sheridan College Character Design class.

18 comments:

Katie said...

That page of man faces is great!! Definitely not "cute", but appealing all the same. The three on the top are my favorite. The Drew Barrymore-ish girl is lovely...what a pretty and interesting design!

Brett McCoy said...

Wow, the kid with the basketball looks just like my little 5 year old son... he has HUGE blue eyes and he LOVES basketball, too!

I love the gangster faces, they have kind of a Bakshi-esque look to them.

Emily said...

I very much enjoy seeing your doodles! I have to say I prefer the ones you drew of the diners and the old-fashioned thugs...very funny!

Alberto said...

I'm extremely envious that these are "doodles." I wish creating solid, appealing characters was something that i could just intuit.

Would you consider putting up more tutorials?

Willem Wynand said...

=O i love this stuff, can't believe you can just pump out these amazing expressive faces without any construction or anything... or did you erase them? andway good job =) hope you continue to beautify many more newspapers =)

Pete Emslie said...

I'm glad you folks like this stuff.

Willem: There is certainly a lot of light, feathery gesture and blocking in of structure on the first two samples, especially on the little boy, as I need to maintain some consistency of form and proportions throughout.

Admittedly, there's not much conscious construction on the mobsters' ugly mugs, as my method for those is to just start with a nose or pair of eyes and add on from there. If there's a sense of solid form there, it's just from relying on an intuitive feel.

tilcheff said...

Master Pete,

It's always an honor to look at your drawings! Thanks for sharing!

It's soo good to see beautifully designed and posed characters that look fresh and just delightful. This is the true sign of top skill!

Best regards
Nickolay

ps. 'Doodling' is a funny word. I keep telling the students that they should never 'doodle', but always draw with a clear goal in mind. Only if they have a goal they can know whether they have reached it or not :)

kurtwil said...

Nice doodles, Peter!

Have you found using computer tools (wacom, etc) a limiting factor when doing sketches? If not, which tool do you prefer?

Brandon D. said...

Pete if you ever wanted some commercial/advertising work for any of those companies you could scan the sketches. Then attach them to a blind submission email to one of those companies and see if you get a response.

Tony DiStefano said...

You would of made a great animator.
AS far as books,self publish Pete.Your bound to be succesful.Ill be the first in line to buy a book!

Pete Emslie said...

Thanks Tony, but I have very sincere doubts as to how I'd take to animating. While I believe I have a certain strength in posing and bringing out the personality in a drawing, the mathematics of animation timing has always intimidated me. I'd love to try it sometime just for fun, but I have no regrets about deciding not to pursue it back when I was leaving high school and choosing my career path. I'm far better suited to being the print cartoonist that I chose to be instead, and I'll credit my love of 70s era MAD Magazine for that!

Roberto Severino said...

I love the sense of fun you managed to put into these drawings, Pete, even on those mobsters. Even they have some sense of appeal behind their faces. Nice work!

David R said...

I agree that children's book illustration has no use for cartoons anymore. I owuld also throw in P.D. Eastman and Richard Scarry (not to mention Steig and Feiffer) as the type of stuff no one is doing anymore. It all seems very slickly designed - as if they all come from an advertisting or graphic design background. You don't see a whole lot of animation types illustrating books anymore.

ę„ŠDodieSeaver0202 said...

I do like ur article~!!! ........................................

Eric Scales said...

The girl on the Proudly Canadian one makes me think of what Madeline Kahn must have looked like in High School.

Eduardo G. Reyna said...

God bless you Mr. Emslie!
I am an admirer of your artwork from Mexico City. I am following your blog and I really enjoy watching your drawings and reading your writes. I am a caricaturist myself, but I don´t consider my work as good as yours.I also work as an English as a Second Language teacher for the National University of Mexico.
Please, keep drawing and blogging!

Mitch K said...

I love these doodles you do(odle), Pete!

^Archie^ said...

Brilliant are what they are!!!
U r simply amazing!! "doodles" ????? they look more like the work of a brilliant concept artist /character designer.. u've inspired me 2 work more on my sketching skills!!!