Friday, 18 September 2009

Snake bite

These are part of some of illustrations I did as a test for The Naked Scientist podcast. The article was on whether or not snakes are susceptible to their own venom. Apparently, to some degree, they are! :)

(Click for GIF animation)

Snakes are rather expressionless so I had to figure out how to draw them. I wanted flexibility in expression so I took a lot of inspiration from Disney's Kaa (The Jungle Book) and Sir Hiss (Robin Hood). A cool thing about snakes is that that you can pretty much shape their body any way you want for desired effect. In the example above the whole joke is based on the flexibilty of the snake body.

Since we're on the topic of Disney, while I was in Visby this summer I discovered a copy of The Illusion of Life at the local library. It's truly a treasure trove on the origins of the Walt Disney Studios, the invention of Disney animation and information on what makes their drawings so special. It's so easy to take Disney animation for granted and sometimes I even sense that they're thought of as the big bully when it comes to animated features, but looking back, the way they pioneered animation is simply astounding. Gradually I've come to realise that there's a lot that can be learnt from animation for any kind of artist, especially when it comes to expression, form and gesture.
A great source on gesture in particular is Walt Stanchfields Drawn to Life books. They're two thick books consisting of notes which were distributed by Stanchfield to the animators at Disney over the course of many years. There is so much insight about drawing, mentality and creativity on these pages that it's taking me ages to get through even the first volume.
The Naked Scientist - link
Illusion of Life - Amazon
Drawn to Life - Amazon: Vol. 1, Vol. 2

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