So I posted last night about appeal...and I felt unsatisfied that I didn't really articulate exactly everything that I wanted to. Appeal is such a nebulous subject and hard to express that I wanted to add some more. It's a very personal matter of taste as well. So scroll down and read that first post first! Then this one. No cheating!
Of course it’s an over-simplification to say that simplicity is the only thing that makes for an appealing drawing (see previous post below). I’m just saying that it’s
good insurance: if you feel like your drawing isn’t quite appealing enough, try simplifying and see if that helps. As far as drawing for storyboarding (my main focus here) it's a good rule of thumb to leave out what you don't need to aid in communication - the whole point of any storyboard drawing.
As I’ve said before I think proportion and rhythm are two other keys to appeal.
Proportion is a very subtle and important element in drawing. I can’t think of a better example than Mickey Mouse. Mickey is an extremely simple design but very challenging to make him look consistently appealing. It’s because his proportions are tricky. The relationship of how close his eyes are to his nose and how high his forehead is (and every other relationship on his figure) are very hard to keep just right. Floyd Gottfredson drew super appealing Mickeys. His proportions were always superb. He managed to even draw Horace Horsecollar and Clara Cowbell (or whatever their names are) with appeal and they are really dicey characters! Their designs are pretty weird. But he gave them proportions that I find very appealing.
Very few people can draw Mickey as well as Floyd. Just search around on the internet and I'm sure you'll see the difference after looking at a few other Mickeys!
Proportions are so subtle that a little difference can have a big effect. We’ve all traced over a drawing we like and then when we look at our tracing, it’s just not as good as the original. Making small mistakes in the proportions (as well as making the elements not relate to each other as well) is usually what makes our drawing appear not as good.
Floyd gave them a great rhythm too. This keeps them appealing as well. Check out all the great rhythms on this page (click to enlage)!
I think that’s what I don’t really like about Jack Davis (see previous post below). His sense of proportion, frankly, doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t really like his sense of rhythm too. Just my taste, I guess. It’s like me saying I prefer the Beatles to Eric Clapton or something. We all tend to like what we like.
Another thing I find really makes for appealing drawings (and great design) is to use a good variety of small, medium and large shapes. Large shapes give the eye a chance to rest. Small shapes draw the eye so put them where you want the viewer to focus his attention (usually the face and/or hands). Using a good variety of the three kinds of shape give good variety and appeal to a drawing.
Here's a design by Milt Kahl with a great variety of S, M and L shapes (click to see bigger). Great rhythm too.
And sometimes Jack Davis seems to get involved with drawing lots and lots of small shapes. I just don’t find that too appealing. That’s just me though!