Friday, November 23, 2012


At this time of grateful reflection, how can we not give thanks for the internets?

My storyboarding co-workers and I were talking just the other day about the days of old when illustrators and artists had to hoard huge filing cabinets filled with images clipped from magazines and books, photographs etc for the need of reference... How demanding that was on the time and space of an artist, not to mention the anxious sense that almost any new image might be worth capturing for the library and that you were constantly on the prowl. A few years ago one of the studios I was at inherited a legendary film artist's files and they were  vast, requiring months of shipping, storing and organizing boxes and cabinets filled with photos and slides, enough to fill an the equivalent of a one bedroom apartment.

Now we have literally a world of reference merely a click away. A few more clicks and you can save hundreds of such images to a hard drive as small as a keychain.  The only downside is that there are no real excuses anymore for not being able to make a viable sketch of whatever assignment you've been given. The only other caveat is that if you can get firsthand experience of something you have to draw, there still really is no substitute for that.

Here are two image examples that popped up on Facebook recently.

This image of Hitchcock pointing directly on axis at the camera is a beautifully taken shot. The finger point on axis is one of the hardest things to draw, in my opinion, especially since the key element of the pointing index finger is by necessity not in clear silhouette. The fingers obscure the hand proper, except for the oblique area in the web of the thumb and forefinger... It's a toughie, but this excellent photo helps... (although the shadow cast by the finger muddies the image a bit)

A few days later this shot of "Chris" from TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND coincidentally popped up in an unrelated comment. It has to be one of my most favorite solutions to this difficult graphic problem (sorry James Montgomery Flagg!) The graphic style of this show looks a lot simpler than it is, there is a good deal of careful subtlety going on in what appear to be simple shapes. The Picassoesque perspective on the pointing fingernail is in pure genius IMO.

Granted, this is the sort of reference you could readily use a mirror for, but the're both keepers for me. Thanks internet, don't ever change...


Bob Logan said...

Beautiful shot of Hitch!

Love the blog format change!

Be well!


Mike Caracappa said...

I don't know...I'm inclined to disagree a little about the finger shadow on Hitch. Graphically I think without it his hand would kinda be a blob shape over his face. The shadow I think helps separate his hand from his face more, or at least it he shadow defines it more as his hand.

But that's just my .02

Arna said...

Ha. Interesting to compare these two shots. I also like the shadow on Hitch's finger- it pushes the digit forward in space. Funny how the two compositions use the same division of the frame and a slight extra bit of air on scr. right.