This was a quick tutorial on how I go about making my sketches when I was on The Simpsons, or for any drawing. One thing I always tell people is to not worry about the end result, focus on the pose and the story you're trying to tell. Every pose has a story, weather simple or complex. The way a person stands can tell you a lot about that character, but this has more to do with character design than just drawing bodies. I added a pic so you can see my process. 1. When drawing a body I always start with a line of action, it's a guide that will help you flush out that perfect pose. Of course you also want to think about what emotion you want your character to have, and the line of action will express that. Oh and I almost never go with my first sketch, I always make several sketches until I find the right one. 2. From there I start roughly sketching out the torso, arms, legs, etc. Nothing detailed just yet, I want to get the right feeling for the pose before I start adding details. *notice how I pushed the 2nd pose to get more emotion. 3. When I'm happy with the way the body feels I'll add hands, feet etc. For me the hands and feet are an extension of the arms and legs, all flowing together. Remember bodies need to have fluidity. I also start to fix model problems like proportions and what not. 4. Still sketchy I start adding face details because I might want to change the body a little if I see the face. I also start to "commit" to my lines, meaning making them more refine rather than just quick strokes. This makes the drawing for solid, but notice how I'm still sketchy. Oh and always draw through your forms, example: Homer's sleeves and body, I draw the whole circle not just where I think it should go. *The lines on the floor is a little trick I use to help my characters feel grounded, or like they're actually standing on something. It's just a quick 2 point perspective and with it I can make any changes to make him feel like he's standing.*
Normally this would be the last part of my job because we don't clean up the drawings, but from here you can take some tracing paper and clean up the drawing. You can see in my clean up that I had to adjust his model because his body was looking a little to big. That's basically it in a nut shell. This is how I make any drawing, weather simpsons or not. Everyone works differently so just keep practicing and you'll find something that works for you.
"If you don't like your job, you don't strike! You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way!"
-- Homer Simpson, 2F19 "The PTA Disbands!"
With the WGA strike still driving a stake through the heart of network television, I began thinking about how FOX's three animated shows ("The Simpsons", "Family Guy", and "American Dad") are probably going to take the longest to feel any sort of squeeze as the result of the empty writing rooms, given how far in advanced they're produced. Still, if this thing lasts much longer, even those shows are bound to run out of episodes.
Years ago, when I was in high school, I tried to flex my comedy writing skills by utilizing the Simpsons characters in their own comic strip. Looking back at them, they weren't perfect, but after studying the show extensively on DVD, I now feel I have a strong enough grasp of the characters' personalities to utilize them in original stories again. And what better subject to tackle than one that the show's writers themselves probably see nothing funny about whatsoever?
Phew it's been a while. I got sick the first week of December, then had my wedding, then xmas, and now I'm back to drawing hehe. Someone asked me a while back about using a line of action with 2 characters and I never got around to making an example so I thought this would be a good opportunity. Here's Homer and Krusty doing the famous loop on a mini bike trick. That was a great episode actually. You can see the line of action flows between the 2 characters like an "S", but it doesn't always have to be an "S" shape. Just remember to make it flow! I ran out of room on my paper that's why Krusty's foot is cut off, sorry! Done on my usual newsprint with prisma colored pencils. Enjoy!
The most important part to drawing any character is to observe what real people do and how they use thier bodies to act out certains emotions. Watching movies, etc. is a good start. Watching the Simpsons is a good reference point because it's all about real life acting. You wouldn't think it but homer moves more like a real human than you think. Another important factor, in animation especially, is that no character should be standing straight up and down. No one in real life does it either, even army kids don't stand completely up and down, their backs are slightly arched.
The one thing that will really bring your drawings to life is the 'line of action' or the imaginary line that dictates how the body will move. You can also think of it as the back bone of a character. This line should always be used in setting up a pose, as you can see in the pic I posted, I get a wide range of emotions with no faces using only their bodies. When all else fails, get up and see how your body bends and shapes when trying to act out emotions. Think to yourself, "how would I be if I just hit a dog with my bike?" or, 'What are different ways I can clap?"
I think the one thing I see the most with people learning to draw is they jump into the details too quickly. They want to get the facial expression and details of the face before establishing the body. I suggest doing what I have done and fill up some pages of thumbnail sketches portraying as many expressions as possible. The body language should always come first, the face just backs it up.
Apologies to those who were expecting "Tiny Toon Adventures" fan art.
After doing those Simpsons comic strips last week, I started thinking up other ideas for the characters. In analyzing the show's character interactions, I noticed that Bart has his little clique of friends (Milhouse, Richard, Lewis, occasionally Nelson, etc.), but Lisa is usually only seen with Janey. The reason? Every time Lisa makes a new friend, the character is played by a guest star, virtually guaranteeing that said character won't return in a future episode. Case in point: Allison Taylor from 1F17 "Lisa's Rival" (played by Winona Ryder) and Alex Whitney from 5F20 "Lard of the Dance" (played by Lisa Kudrow).
But the thing about comics is that they're a purely visual medium, so you don't have to worry about voice acting. The Simpsons comic book has taken advantage of this, bringing back guest star characters like Jessica Lovejoy and Cecil Terwilliger, and I figured that in the Simpsons comic universe, Lisa still hangs out with Allison and Alex on a regular basis. They seem like they'd make a good group, anyway.
Finally, I was able to scan and post my Lisa drawings. I did these actually a little while ago but just didn't have a free moment to scan them, so here they are! Lisa is actually one of my fav characters because she's very dynamic and wholesome. She just isn't the standard "nerd", she has feelings, wants, fears, etc. I can imagine that if she were a real person how hard it would be for her in school but at the same time she isn't a charity case because she still does what she likes and is confident doing them. Anyway, 10 points to the first person to guess what the second pic is in reference to. I had fun with these, I think I might do some secondary characters next. Prisma color pencils on newsprint. Enjoy!
If it weren't for the fact that Alison, Alex, and Jessica have celebrity voice actors, I think there could be a lot of potential for episode ideas among these four kids.
So I drew this lineup of Simpsons schoolgirls and now I don't know what to do with 'em. I could make it into a signature banner for the No Homers Club...except I'm there so infrequently, I doubt it'd be worth the effort. (For a board full of people who know everything about "The Simpsons", there's surprisingly little meaningful discussion going on over there.)
I really just did this as an excuse to practice my inking. I've been sketching and inking a lot of stuff lately in an effort to smooth out my linework. I think it's improving!
Finally finished this one. I had trouble figuring out just what poses to do for Maggie because there's not too many that really nail her personality. I don't know what I was thinking with the ice cream one. Of course you can't have Maggie without her enemy Gerald the unibrow baby. Anyway this finishes the main family, I think I'll do some side characters but only 1 or 2 poses each. Done with Prisma color pencils on newsprint. Enjoy!
Here are some sketches of everyone's favorite TV mom. I'm keeping these sketches in line with the characters' personality. Unlike Homer, Marge is the glue that holds the family together, so she isn't as "wacky" as the other members. That isn't to say she doesn't have her quirks, like cleaning her cleaning supplies. Done on newsprint with Prismacolor Pencils. Enjoy!