I started my art career as a cartoonist in 2003.
I had a friend of mine who was a professional writer for Hollywood. He had a day job because he simply didn’t make enough money selling scripts. I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re anywhere my age, you may remember when the Hollywood writers went on strike.
Do you know why they went on strike?
Because Hollywood writers don’t make shit.
In 2003, I wanted to produce a cartoon. I had a great idea, or what I thought at the time was a great idea.
It was called Danny Lion and Friends and it was a dorky lion who somehow everything will go right for him in the end, a cool dog (complete with sunglasses) who often bullies Danny Lion, a lady’s man rabbit who often neglects what he needs to do to pursue the babes, and a cute young lady who pretends to be ditzy as to not scare away all the guys but is often (secretly of course) the smartest person in the room.
Every episode would parody something else. The pilot episode parodied the original Star Trek series with of course the four characters taking the various roles while retaining parts of their own personalities.
It started off with the intro, you know, the USS Enterprise flying through space. However, all four characters were throwing up over the ship’s railings (with no regards to physics; that’s part of the humor).
I tried to pitch it without success. Then I got my head out of my ass and stopped trying to pitch it.
Instead, I tried to get the funding for the pilot episode. In the process of trying to get money, I had a better idea for a dark fantasy cartoon.
Why funding rather than pitching? So I can actually make good money. Remember when I previously mentioned that Hollywood writers don’t make shit?
Anyways, we abandoned Danny Lion and Friends for this one. I’m keeping it a secret because one of these days, I still want to produce it.
Obviously, we never got funding or else you would have heard of it.
This, my friends, is how I got into cartooning. I had no art school. I had no previous experience. I just bought a copy of Preston Blair’s Cartoon Animation from the local bookstore and started doing the exercises.
Which leads to gesture drawings
If you ever want to get into cartooning, you absolutely need to read Preston Blair’s book. (And more importantly, do the exercises).
He introduced me to gesture drawings which is now what I base my pinup art off of.
I don’t draw what I see. Rather, I draw initially from the gesture and expand from there.
The above picture may not look like much. Each gesture drawing of Sophia took me about 60 seconds each. I do these every single morning with my morning coffee (I drink 6-7 cups of coffee a day) before I get started with my day.
Yes, they may not look like much.
But they’re everything.
These are the basis of every single one of my pinup paintings. This technique is why my pinup paintings look alive.
Drawing from a gesture absolutely smokes drawing what you see. The former gives the model life. The latter will appear dull next to the former.
I’ll eventually put out an Anatomy 101 course, and the first third of the course will be going over gesture drawings.
It’s one thing to be able to draw what you see. That’s a great skill. Not at all knocking it. Kudos to anyone who can do that.
But, does your drawing look alive?
When you base your work off of a gesture drawing, it will look much more animated. Not animated in a cartoonist sense, but you ever see a happy child? That’s what I mean by animated.
Your art will show so much more expression. And if there’s movement, more movement.
You’ll be able to apply gesture drawing to everything. Not just people.
Most of my paintings have bird silhouettes. You really get to see the movement of the bird because I emphasize the gestures.
Same thing with hair. Same thing with waves. Same thing with trees. Same thing with mountains.
I can go on and on.
I’m aiming to have this course out by the end of next year. It depends on how busy I am with my day-to-day work.