Monday, 12 March 2018

Cartooning - Return of the Little Green Men


At this time of the year there are a lot of coughs and sneezes about, and this idea is based on how annoying these involuntary things can be. Normally all miscellaneous ideas go into Funstreak, but due to the slight violence I decided it might be more acceptable to use my aliens.

It's also perhaps a good time to resurrect the cartoon, which hadn't had an update since September last year.

So what Went Wrong with Area 5.1?

I introduced X-Failes as a new stream to Area 5.1 last year so I could try a story based cartoon. But it was more work than I was able to cope with, mostly because it semi-detailed artwork and I was still trying to incorporate a joke into each submission. If I hadn't started experimenting with Funstreak then I suppose I'd have slugged on with it, but Funstreak was faster, gave me loads more freedom and opporunity to try different ideas.

I'd also become very uncertain about my use of shading, what level of detail to use and whether the new direction was the correct one. Self doubt had set in and although some said they liked the new stuff, I'd yet to convince myself.

In the end I cut the shading in the last cartoon "Run Like The Wind". I softened and slightly simplified the background to try and reduce time spent on the artwork, but I couldn't quite shake-off the idea that I was never happy with how the new characters were drawn. I was finding that the only way I could keep them consistent was by copy-and-pasting from earlier cartoons, but that just ate time.

I really loved the way my characters looked in the 'Investigators in the Field' promo, but I struggled to create alternative profiles. Here's a great example of what I mean..

Style Issues

You can see here in the front profile that I can't quite decide what's going on with those uni-body styles. I've used shoulders that are too realistic in the later drawing (on the right) and it's given him a thick neck (like he's been eating all the pies). I think it's fair to say that I wasn't comfortable with the body design, or happy about being able to draw it.

I think I went for the best option, I stopped work while I re-considered it.

Return Of the LGM's

So now I've gone back to the Little Green Men, and drawn this...

Returning To What I Know
It might not look it, but it's heavily influenced by my work on Funstreak. It loosely follows the 'Rule of Three' with the final two frames being treated as one, and the style seems a little more relaxed. I'm still finding I'm not consistently happy with all of the frames. (One and three I like,.. two and four not so much!), but it's a starting point for improvements.

In summary, after all this time you'd think we'd settle on how something should look. There must be something built into our psyche that stops us from being happy and pushes us to look for improvements. Perhaps it just shows that I still have a long way to go and shouldn't give up my day job.

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