Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Green Eyes

    Here's a quick digital sketch I did the other day.  I've been told over the last couple weeks that I draw "dippy, doe-eyed" girls, and in less harsh words have had it confirmed by others.  Whoa!  I always thought they just looked spirited!


Christine Piper said...

I think your drawings are fantastic! I think drawing eyes are really important and drawing them just a bit bigger makes characters look more fresh and lively. The only thing I would say is maybe having the eyelid cover just a bit of the top of the iris. With the whole round iris showing, the girl has a bit of a surprised look about her. However, I still think your drawing are awesome! I love the hair too :)

Mark Hough said...

Anthony, I'm going to say this as politely as possible because there's a chance that some of the people who called your figures "dippy" or "Doe-eyed" are actually friends of yours.
The problem with critiques are you never really know where they are coming from. Are they jealous of your skill? Is it the classic "No good can come out of Nazareth" complex that makes friends or family feel an obligation to find fault? Is it a burned out woman who secretly wishes she still had that kind of liveliness in her eyes? Or is it a well-meaning friend who subconsciously wants to have a hand in your art?

I will tell you then, before I give my views on the subject, where I'm coming from.

I've been studying classic children's book illustration for about eight years, I'm an artist who wishes I had half the skill at drawing that you have, and I have a wonderful wife and kids whose eyes happen to sparkle with much of the same liveliness that you put in your characters.

I don't see dippy. Dippy is dumb--and unfortunately people nowadays have a hard time distinguishing it from innocence or pureheartedness.

Living in a time when children cease to be children at a younger and younger age each year, and when it is rare to find an adult woman with that warm, spirited girl-next-door personality (without faking it because they think it will catch guys), I think your pictures are a breath of fresh air.

Children's book illustrators often have the difficult task of creating a personality in the characters in a very short space of time--often before the book's text does. I've yet to see an illustrated figure of yours that is not filled with character and personality. They do not seem dippy, but lively, spunky, sly, and basically the type of character you'd like to go on an adventure with.

I remember hearing a story of Sargent attending an exhibition of his latest works. He recounted how everyone either complained that the portraits didn't look at all like the subjects or they complained that he made them look to much like the subject and he should have taken the liberty of fixing their flaws seeing as they were paying him.

People like being critical of other people's accomplishments--even friends and family unfortunately often feel they can somehow get away with it.

So please, keep drawing the way you draw and remember, everyone like to be a critic.

Alex VanArsdale said...

I didn't say those things!

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Thanks Christine. :) True it does look like a surprised expression. It reminds me that for a few weeks now I've wanted to draw out some character/expression sheets. Have you seen the new ones by animator Jin Kim for Disney's Frozen movie? I always love seeing the different expressions on a sheet like that. Perfect road map for later drawings.

Thanks Mark! I'm taking it all very lightly as far as the criticism goes. It's spot on what you said about where the person is coming from with their comments. Context is everything. Most of what was said to me was in jest, and some things I needed to fix for a client (addressing their concerns made for a better product in the long run).

I like the way you described the characters and that they seem like good adventure companions! That's just how I want them to come across. Oh and I just had a flashback! I remember long ago seeing that scene in "Darby O'gill and the Little People," when Katie runs from Michael McBride she has that wide eyed, playful expression on her face. I bet little things like that have stuck with me, at least that is the sort of thing I'm going after today.

And I hadn't heard the story about Sargent. Now we can dare anyone to say that about his work!

I really appreciate your support, Mark!

Alex... I'm having more and more trouble thinking of things to say to you. I've gotta get with it!

Stephen Anderson said...

Wow. Totally agreed with that first comment by Christine. Totally nailed it. Yours is one of my favorite styles to study, and yet, I still can't tack it down. You do fabulous work!

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Thanks Stephen!

Christine Piper said...

Hi Anthony! I checked out those character expression sheets made by Jin Kim for Frozen. What fun! I'm going to have to see the movie! I love that time period! Your sketches are definitely Disney worthy :)

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Thanks :)

Anthony T said...

Some things are just not for everybody. I once had someone tell me that a story I was writing was all right, "if you like that sort of fluff."

Thanks. I do. That's why I'm writing it.

It's one thing to give substantial and valuable criticism, such as "the second act meanders and I didn't understand the characters' motivations." It's another to say, "I don't like the kind of stuff you like." That's a taste judgement. Tastes differ.

Personally, I think your style is awesome, and I want to echo what Mark said above about the characters seeming like people you'd love to go on an adventure with. Some people like dark and edgy, but I'll take good old fashioned adventurous fun any day.

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Hey thanks so much, Anthony! Everybody does have different tastes it's true. That's just one of the tough things about art I guess, but the rewards are definitely worth it.