Stick figures

I’ve created a couple of posts this week about drawing stick folks. Mine have been pretty basic and stand alone figures. Today, I’m sharing a four-panel cartoon using stick folks with added text to show conversations and other sounds. Notice how effective this cartoon is at story telling.
Note: I had to pay attention to the cartoon and not do my usual quick scan then move on to the next exciting email.
This cartoon located at http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/driving.png was shared by my old friend, Dwight Brooks. He has commented on one of my previous stick folks posts so perhaps when he saw this cartoon, he was moved to action. And maybe, it just happened cause he likes technology or cartoons or in response to my post. Who knows? I didn’t ask him but I hope he responds to this post and my shameless effort to get him to repost.
Let me try to decipher this cartoon.
1. We have two stick MEN. It’s almost obvious that they are men because there are no curves that would indicate feminity and one of the is wearing a masculine hat.
2. The hatted dude is carrying something. Could be a big rock since it appears to be dropping dirt. It could be a bag of groceries with peas or some other food dripping from a broken internal bag. It is not obvious just what it is by looking at the picture or by reading the words.
3. Without the text and sounds, it would not be obvious that there is some communication and activity happening here.
4. So far, if we are just looking at the two figures, we don’t have a clue as to what is going on beyond one hatted dude carrying something and another dude watching him.
5. In the first panel, the hatted dude is asking if his load weighs as much as a small adult. I guess a small adult might weight about 100 pounds or about 45 kilograms. The hatted dude doesn’t appear to be stressed by carrying this much but then again this is a cartoon. It doesn’t have to accurately reflect reality.
In the same panel, the hatless dude guesses that the statement is true.
6. In the second panel, not much happens except that the hatted dude acknowledges that the hatless due agrees with him.
7. In the third panel, the hatted dude is out of sight while the hatless dude appears to be hearing noises that probably are coming from an interaction between the hatted dude and a driverless car. Can you say GoogleMobile?
The sound of a thump. We guess this is a sound because the sound word is enclosed in asterisks at the top and two other locations in a descending order of text.
Spoken words probably coming from the car asking that the seat belts be fastened.
Then the work “click” to indicate compliance with that request.
Then more spoken words, probably coming from the hatted dude asking to be taken to Anchorage, Alaska. We don’t know their current location but we might expect that the journey may be a long one.
Then the word “navigating” probably coming from the car. My GPS doesn’t communicate exactly like that but then again my GPS is not contained within a GoogleMobile.
Then the sound of a slam. I guess that the hatted dude has closed the door.
8. In the final panel, we notice the sound of a car driving away. I probably would have enclosed that sound in asterisks in keeping with the previous car sounds but …
Now, the hatted guy affirms our guess that this was not only a car but it was a self-driving car that someone had left running, unattended.

Now the humorous idea is complete. The artist probably had to put more effort into properly creating the illusion of conversation and sounds than he (she) did in drawing the two stick folk.

Pause for thought: Is this an example of KISS? Appears that it may be. The cartooner (cartoonist) did not create a realistic human depiction of people. No,, he created one entity with a circle for the head and five straight lines indicating the body and limbs. He stretched on the second entity by adding a straight line and a shaded rectangle to indicate a hat. This is most likely the simplest way to create an example of a human being. He also added some pencil marks beneath the stick folk to indicate the ground – might be dirt, might be concrete, might be something else.

Call to action: Can YOU create a stick person to share with me? Will you? All you have to do is grab a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. Draw a circle and five lines to show your version of a stick person. Copy it or scan it and include it in a reply to me. Make me feel that I’m not alone. The sound of crickets makes me nervous.

We Dig Cartoons on Thursday also

Martin Shervington has started a movement called We Dig in which he is encouraging the Plus Your Business Academy members to create a thing extolling that which they are most passionate about. I won’t try to go into what he’s trying to do but I will tell about how I am using it.

I chose We Dig Cartooning because I want to be a better cartooner (cartoonist?). When I was but a small boy in Hazard Kentucky, I took one of those art challenges off the back of a book of matches. “Draw this turtle. Send in your drawing and we will tell you if you have what it takes to be an artist.” I believe the name of the company was the Art Institute. I just Googled that name and there are many links but I didn’t see that iconic turtle that I drew (badly) so many years ago.

As I remember, some dude made a trip up into the hills where I lived and tried to convince my mother (an unemployed poor widow) to pay (easy monthly payments) for her darling and talented son to take drawing lessons. This was at a time just after my dad was killed and my mom and I were subsisting on government commodities. Needless to say, my art career did not start there.

So I contented myself with tracing the fronts of comic books (Sad Sack, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse) onto school lined paper and painting them with tempera paints and wondering why the paper buckled and the paint cracked.

One year in Vacation Bible School (Can you say Baptist summer activity), I drew a farm scene with a barn, cows, a farmer, a pond, a fence and one great big duck. The teacher criticized me for making the duck so big. My reply was that the duck just appeared that big because it was closer to us that than other elements – my first feeble understanding of perspective.

I just spent a little time  reviewing my many sketchbooks. Only one of them has a drawing on every page. Most of them are two or three pages of drawings and many pages of blank. I make it a practice of putting the current date at the top of each page so that I can see if I’m improving, how my style has changed, what interested me, and who influenced me.

I took an online course with Sean DeSouza but didn’t follow through with similar drawings after I finished the course. I’ve bought and completed some tutorials since then but once again have not followed through with what I learned.

I’ve flirted with drawing by hand then trying to do the same with Photoshop but haven’t been very successful because I have not been committed to becoming a practicing artist.

Over the years, I drew and doodled and received many comments about how I should do more of it. I kept putting it off and my mantra became “I will devote myself to learning how to draw after I retire.” Bad mantra but … retirement is here.

Recently I’ve been following Shoo Rayner and Steve Harpster and emulating (copying) their styles. Both of them promote tracing as a way of building muscle memory to aid in learning to draw. I like both of them a great deal and like their philosophy. They have different styles but they show how they create their work and do it step by step. That’s a good thing.

Shoo is a children’s book author and illustrator with over 170 books to his credit. He’s English and lives in an area he calls the Forest of Dean. Looks to be slightly north of Bristol.

Steve Harpster has written several books which show how to draw monsters using the letters of the alphabet and numbers. Steve lives in Cinncinnati Ohio.

Both these gentlemen have websites and social media presences. Careful because once you visit one of them, you will be tempted to see if you can do what they are doing. Surprise! You will be able to do that. Maybe not as good as they do but certainly better than what you may expect.

So, I’m going to say this is day one of my goal to draw better. My work is going to be cartoony. It will be drawings. It won’t be art. The only walls it will hang on are in my hallway for inspection and comments (daily) by my nearly four year old grandson. He likes what Grandpa does and comments on it. Thanks, buddy. That’s all the encouragement I need.

My Monday Meme – Cartoons

WeDigCartoons00In the last century, I said that some time, some day I would learn how to draw cartoons. Now is the time and the day.

This is my introduction of my drawing evolution. The drawings are initially basic and amateurish. Hopefully they will evolve and express something beyond lines on paper.

I am using Shoo Rayner  and Steve Harpster as my mentors. I’m a patron of Shoo’s on Patreon and I have bought each of Steve’s books.

I have created 3 800px by 600px images for this project. The one above show some very basic stick folks. I hope to show evolving cartoons as the weeks progress.

But just for the record … I love to draw.  Today’s image shows cartooning at its very basic state – stick figures. Go figure!

Redoing this Website as of May 14, 2015

While taking the Plus Your Business course with Martin Shervington and crew, I decided that I needed to update the look and content of this website. It has been in existence since 2011 and has been like a drawer where I store everything I write rather than a planned website / blog.

Hopefully, I’m going to change that. If this blog is more than a week old, nudge me for updates. Please