Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Double-barrelled postings

I'm anxious to post more here soon, so here's a double post- scroll down for all the fun!


Alright, now we're getting to it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out while we were on vacation. And, being proper fans, we went out Friday night to pick up our copies at Midnight. So as you can imagine, we spent the next day reading, and reading, and reading. I finished it that night. Not to spoil for those who haven't read it yet, but it was EXCELLENT! So naturally, my friends and I spent much time that week talking about everything that happened in it, and our thoughts on the how and why and what next of it. My mind was full of thoughts and ideas about the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter books. I couldn't stop thinking about all the characters, and what happened to all of them. As I sat there with my sketchpad, looking to draw something, it wasn't much of a stretch to settle on the characters from the books.

One of the things I love about the series is the world-building that went on throughout each of the novels. Rowling managed to take a seemingly-thin concept ("kid wizards at school, right...") and made it a living, breathing, "real" world to millions. Not to mention what the movies have done for all the images she described. The great thing about novels is that they let us imagine for ourselves what everything described looks like. So, all of us have our own ideas of what Harry Potter, Dumbledore, or whoever looks like. But, I'd never thought to draw them before. And, since I was so itching to draw, this is what I started with.

I settled on a more cartoony style for the characters, for two reasons. One, less realism with the characters invites less comparison with the movies (as much as I love the movies, I don't always agree with what I see). Two, the image of Voldemort pretty much came fully-formed into my head before I even started sketching. And, as he doesn't look very realistic (for a back-from-the-dead snake-guy), I thought cartoony might be the better way to go. Optimally, I would have drawn this image of Voldemort using french curves.

Harry was another one who came to me pretty much fully-formed. There's really only three features you need to do a reasonable Harry Potter drawing: the Hair, the Scar, and the Glasses. So that's what I went with. Hopefully I managed to impart a little look of determination into the sketch. My thinking was this was a late-in-the-game Harry. And, again, the cartoony face. Less lines also means less opportunities to screw up. Imagining this image in 3D makes me think of some type of anime character with improbably pointy hair.

Expect more HP characters...

Music: "Flash Gordon (Theme)" - Queen


This was the first sketch I did while on vacation- it had been so long since I'd drawn anything at all (other than layouts for paintings), I really needed to warm up with a sketch. Basically, I needed to see that I could still draw. If I couldn't make a person look like a person, all the enthusiasm in the world wasn't going to help me any. This poor person had the misfortune to fall asleep. I'm pretty pleased with the sketch, though one of my weaknesses is placement- had I planned better, I would have turned the paper, thus avoiding the partial decapitation. A lot of times, I will find that the picture "gets away from me", taking on its own directions as it needs. layouts only get me so far, and the picture will frequently change as I get more lead onto paper. This is fine when sketching from imagination, less so when sketching from life. Something to work on.

Life drawings are a tricky business, particularly when you're attempting to achieve some manner of likeness. For me, likenesses are a happy coincidence when I'm trying to just get the form right. For me, and for many artists, I think, success is when someone can look at a drawing of yours and say, "oh, that's such-and-such". A skilled artist can convey likeness in just a few lines- Mike Mignola, another favorite comic book artist of mine, is well-known for his very minimalist style, often using and handful of lines to suggest features. Yet, his adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula had some of the most accurate likenesses to be found in comics.

I'm hoping to convince, cajole, or bribe some friends into sitting for some figure sketching at some point. Hopefully someone would be able to recognize them in my sketches.

Music of the Moment: "Supermassive Black Hole"- Muse


thad said...

I like your HP sketches- The Animated Adventures of Harry Potter and Dumbledore's Army coming in 2009!!!

Tinker D said...

Thanks! Of course, I'm now seeing some kind of poster in my head with all the kids... something for later, perhaps! There's more HP goodness coming- whenever I think I'm done drawing them, one kid or another pops up.