Thursday, November 02, 2006

Things They Don't Teach In Art School #4

As we've discussed before, when you are trying to create good art symmetry is not usually your friend. Symmetry flattens things out and makes them uninteresting. Contrast is desireable for visual interest and symmetry is the opposite of contrast.

Again, why symmetry is bad:

Okay so we don't want both sides of a figure to be symmetrical. We need to find variety in our poses so that each side is different. I know of a couple of simple tricks to help you do this.

I found this model sheet on the ASIFA Archive Blog. Cool, huh?

And it has some examples of a cool trick I like. You make one side of the drawing the gesture, and make the other side the structure. In this one, the spine forms a nice simple curve while the belly sticks out, showing you the form of the shirt and pants:

Be aware that it switches back and forth from side to side in most drawings (like it does in both of these bird poses). Below, see how the spine is a simple straight and the belly shows the structure, then in the head it switches: The underside of the beak is the gesture line and the top of the head is the structure side:

One side of the figure is a simple line. It's the line of action, it contains the gesture and the force of the pose (usually it's the side with the spine). The other side is a more complex line and it contains the other stuff that makes the drawing look like it has volume: it has all the anatomy, the breaks in the clothes, etc.

This also creates a cool visual contrast: there's a simple side and a complex side. That creates a contrast that's pleasing to the eye.

A figure with two simple sides looks too plain and uninteresting.

A figure with two complex sides lacks force and has an unclear gesture.

Okay I will tell you the other trick soon (maybe most of you already guessed it). In the meantime look for more examples of this trick on your own!


Anonymous said...

This is clever and I don't believe I ever would have made this insight on my own. Thanks, Mark!

Boris Hiestand said...

fantastic! You're a hero!

straights against curves?

Sam Nielson said...

Great post. It takes the idea of straights against curves one step further. I'll have to try it out sometime.

Julián höek said...

thanks for the tip, please keep them coming!

Randeep Katari said...

This is really interesting...something I'd never even thought of before in this way! Thanks for the info once again!


akira said...

wow awesome blog, i just found it so reposting stuff is VERY cool with me! what's the other trick????

shellywan said...

wow, thank you! great knowledge and thanks for passing it to us! ^0^

Dave said...

Yeah, that's great! Thank's so much :D

edhead said...

Mark - how on earth do you have time to put these notes together!? They're amazing - very useful and always interesting - Thanks a lot.
PS - Got my copy of the Disney Tokyo book coming through - can't wait - thanks for the heads upon its 'publication'.

Benedetta said...

GREAT ! Thanks you!!THANKS YOU !!I study comics at school of Rome and these posts give me an opportunity to improve my love for this beautiful work ..animation,comic,art..uao !thanks for these lessons ! You are great ! A HERO!
Thanks so much !

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