Tuesday, July 26, 2016


If you're an artist and you're interested in comedy just imagine the giant strides you could make if you had funny models to work from: models who get it, someone who isn't offended if you exaggerate some anatomical flaw.

A good teacher will bring props to class that might heighten the effect: glasses, funny wigs, fake buck teeth, etc.

It would be fun to team up draped models with opposite personalities. An overbearing Marie Dressler-type (above) would make a great foil for a Mr. Meek-type (like me, above).

Grouches make great sketch models because they're good at reacting to things.

Funny hero types would make good models...

They could stuff their shirts with towels to get a funny physique.

Legs are always funny...even mens' legs if they're wearing the right pants.

With baggy pants models you could do a whole story-type sketch where the student artists tell the story using only legs.

Girls' legs too, of course.

The male model every cartoonist would like to have drawn was Eric Campbell (above), the villain in Chaplin's best shorts.

Sigh! The Campbells of the world are probably hard to find....or are they?

This (above) is what Campbell looked like when he was offscreen... a real nice guy, not at all like the bad guy he played in the films. Maybe you know a nice guy who can be converted into a good villain model.

A two model session, male and female, offer great comedic possibilities.

Two models make for great romantic scenarios.

Better still if they're different heights.

Haw! Here's a sketch idea for two models: the guy stumbles on a coin-operated robotic love machine and decides to try it. No, no, no...nothing obscene happens...but the girl's hands caress his head, play with his tie, squirt him with cologne, empty his wallet, etc.

I've already mentioned this but it bears repeating: nothing I've suggested is meant to displace classical figure drawing. One glance at the picture above makes the argument for the classical approach eloquently. I just think cartoonists would benefit from both. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


For the kind of model session that Theory Corner cartoonists might like, I'd I like to see a catwalk made of collapsible tables.

The model would walk on that.

If the model was a dancer, even an amateur dancer, that would be great. 

Of course the catwalk makes possible a dance that's also a walk. I see the individual poses as lasting no more than three or four minutes. I kinda like the idea of overlapping some of the drawings to get the effect you see above.

A catwalk makes it easier to do funny walks and eccentric dancing.

There's no end of funny walks.

Some walks and dances look better when more than one dancer does them. No problem. You just sketch in the clones after class.

Two models can become eight, as in this dance of Fosse's: The Rich Man's Frug."

Or one man becomes three. The choreography for a session like this could be improvised or planned. Me, I'd love to think of moves  for sidemen to do.

Poses involving animals like horses are no problem. You draw the model-driven rider poses then add the cartoony horses later. 

Or the cow.

If you had two models doing different walks at the same time you could combine the drawings in a sort of collage.

Remember to bring some tape.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Art school figure drawing tends to take place in all-purpose rooms that are just big empty spaces.  Me, I'd prefer to draw in a room that has more character, like the room above. What a beautiful space! I see what looks like a church pew and nautical windows. Wow! A platypus!

What interests me especially is that storage loft (above). It suggests a low, shallow gallery where students who prefer it can draw looking down on the model.

Here's (above) an Italian life drawing room from the 18th Century. It's an interesting idea but it's too inflexible for my taste. I like a room that can accommodate the unique seating preferences of each student and which allows space for innovative instructors to try out new ideas. 

You never know what some teachers are going to try. 

I also like the idea of a runway (above), like the kind fashion models use. I like to draw walks and acting situations, and fold-up tables would be perfect for that. 

If the room's layout permits then it might be nice to have perspective in back of the model sometimes. A two model session where perspective comes into play could be interesting.

Students themselves make a good background for the model, which is one reason I like to see students surround the models when possible. Sometimes its more fun to sketch the students than the model!

I like ateliers with plenty of beams and rafters for attaching lights. It's amazing what a lighting savvy teacher can do. Here (above, right) the students are lit and the model's dark. That's a great idea! On the other side of the room (above, left) the students are dark and the model's lit. In the same session you can move around and experience both!

Haw! As a fantasy I toyed with the idea of students drawing each other en masse, but that's a dumb idea that wouldn't work in the real world. 

Some variation of it might work, though. As a one-time novelty I could see students, fully clothed, drawing the other students facing them across a table. Or maybe there's a model behind each row of students so they could look past the person facing them to a real model. 

What would be the value of that? It would lie in the inspiration to be had when seeing another rational being martial his skills to draw something difficult in front of him. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Folks are always are always asking how my wife and I met. Well, it was in New York City. I was an idealistic young animator, wandering the streets, lost in thought.

 I wasn't paying much attention to what was around me...

...or "who" was around me. I didn't notice the girl up ahead who'd stopped to light up a cigarette.

I stopped to light up myself, not realizing that I was muttering out loud.

EDDIE: "I could start the walk with an antic but it'll be funnier if the guy just goes into it...but then it'll look like I don't know what I'm doing."

DAISY: "What a dilemma!"

EDDIE: "Huh? Oh, sorry! I have an animation problem, but you wouldn't know anything about that."

DAISY: "Well, Mr. bigshot, it so happens that I DO know something about animation. I take it that you are familiar with the famous Chick Jones? He was the best director, you know."

EDDIE: "Chick Jones!? You mean CHUCK Jones? Yeah, he was great, but the real genius at that studio was Bob Clampett. Geez, when they directed at the same time Jones couldn't hold a candle..."

DAISY: "Well, there's an animation exhibit down the street. If you play your cards right I will permit you to take me there and show me this Bill Crumpet of yours.


EDDIE (VO): "Well, whaddaya think?"

DAISY: "I don't get it. That's what you like? Feet?"

EDDIE (VO): "That's from a storyboard done at Spumco, the best modern animation studio. It's a very funny drawing."

DAISY: "Hmmm...I'm learning something about you."

EDDIE: "Huh? About me?"

DAISY: "And what is this?"

EDDIE (VO): "That's a Chuck Jones character: Sniffles the Mouse."

DAISY (VO): "And this?  This is your Bill Crumpet?"

EDDIE (VO): "CLAMPETT,  Bob CLAMPETT! Yeah, that's from one of his cartoons. It's a lot funnier than Sniffles, I think."

DAISY: "Mmmm...I like Sniffles better."

EDDIE: "Well, maybe that's 'cause you're a girl. I mean, guys and girls like different things."

DAISY: "Oh, so now you don't like that I'm a girl?"


Well, that's how it went down...well, er...sort of. Most of these pictures are from a film called "5 to 7."