Principles of animation: Solid Drawing--

Todays principle is: Solid Drawing

Although this principle primarily refers to the ability to draw well there are elements that are essential to animation as whole.

One of the most important ones is silhouette. Animation is essentially a series of poses that when combined, form motion. If those poses aren’t very clear then it’s hard for an audience to know exactly what’s happening. By turning each pose into a silhouette it makes it easier for the animator to see if the pose they have created, reads well.

If we take this image as an example we can see that the left image is harder to read then the right. Especially the left character.

By making sure that limbs and hands and the position of a characters head are seen clearly means that the audience can read the pose a lot quicker.  Things like making sure that both eyes can always be seen is a great technique in keeping poses clear.  This is probably one of the reasons why Mickey Mouses ears are never seen side on.

Another element of solid drawing is weight. A great way to show weight in a character in one single pose is what is known as contrapposta. Which basically means the hips are at an opposite angle to the shoulders. Generally we see this when we shift our weight from one leg to the other. Our hips will angle so that the leg supporting the weight is higher then the opposite side. And usually our shoulders are doing the reverse. So say we’re supporting our weight on our left leg. The left side if our hips will be highest but the left shoulder will be lower than the right side.

Take this image as an example.

This isn’t always the case but by doing this it creates more appeal which is another principle. It also creates what are known as C and S shapes in the body. 

These are basically the overall shape from the feet, through the torso to the head. In the David example his pose is that of an S. 

Well a reversed flattened S, but you should get the idea from the red shape running through the centre.

It really does help to just go out and sketch every day. Doing quick 15 -30 second drawings as you observe people can not only really improve your drawing skills but also  lock in your mind certain actions and poses that people do in everyday life
You’ll find you can start building a library in your head of great poses that will really boost your animations.

There’s a lot more to solid drawing and far more than I could possibly go into in this blog.
A great source to solid drawing are these two books by Walt Stanchfield who used to teach Disney artists.

I hope these tips on using solid drawing were useful. If you do find these blogs of use or have any questions, please comment below.

Also if you have any animation needs please get in touch.

In till next time,


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