There’s some useful tools for artists burning up the nets, and on the off chance you haven’t seen them, here they are.
- At the end of last week, a bunch of people were mentioning a wonderful set of photos posted by Nina “Space Coyote” Matsumoto (I first noticed it when Ananth Panagariya tweeted) of athletes. These are all Olympic-caliber competitors, but they look radically different from each other; artists will have to extrapolate out to what non-athletic types might look like, but with this variety to use as models, there’s really no excuse for overly-similar body types.
- Taking that variety to its logical place, Yuko Ota did a lineup of her recurring female characters (dudes will be tomorrow), giving a compare-and-contrast to her cast.
- The big news, though, was from Tracy Butler over at Lackadaisy; just because you’ve got a cast of anthropomorphic felines doesn’t mean that you get to cheap out on facial expressions, and Butler put together an absolutely stellar how-to on making expressions pop. It all comes down to anatomy, kids, and the recognition that you can’t really move one part of your face without skin and muscle tugging on a bunch of other parts (unless you’re Botoxed to the point that you can’t frown, but let’s leave that to the side).
- There’s a similar discussion in McCloud’s Making Comics (which, goodness, is coming up on five years in print?), which goes a bit further in discussing how this brow shape here, combined with that mouth shape there makes a basic emotion, and combining the basic emotions makes more complex ones (my favorite being Surprise + Disgust = Who Farted?).
- In fact, you can take that a bit further into instant expression reference if you follow the link from McCloud’s site to The Grimace Project, which allows real-time generation of faces based on the relative strength of one or two different emotions. Now don’t stop at the bodies and faces; if you go out of your way to not draw hands or feet, everybody’ll call you Rob.
- Convention season is nearly upon us in full force (indeed, Arisia happened last weekend), and planning time is here again. Last year SPX and the brand-new Intervention wound up scarce 2 km from each other on the same weekend (and even found advantages in cross-honoring passes, I hear), but this year they’re on consecutive weekends. Too early to tell if this reduces the audience for either, but tables and guest registration info are now available for both. SPX hits 10-11 September at the North Bethesda Marriott, with a 20% discount on exhibitor tables booked before 1 March. Guest registration is at the door.
Intervention hits the following weekend, 16-18 September, at the Rockville Hilton, with guest pre-reg at $30 for the weekend. While the exhibitors are more by-invitation than open-application, watch that space for news of open table space later in the year — there’s always some last minute guest cancellations at a show; alternately, you could contact showrunners Oni Hartstein & James Harknell and see if they can hook you up.