Sunday, August 3, 2008

header debacle cont'd.

Well, I've just replaced the header with a slightly improved version. Note that the ambiguous character on the right is now a fried egg. Also note that the background tan is the same tan as the tan on the right, instead of a lighter tan, so it blends in. And note the addition of the pleasing compositional element of the ovoid:

I was going to add some color to the band members, but I think they look better as they are.

Chris Fason's jelly jars received just as many votes, so if anyone wants to continue rallying on their behalf, please do so in the comments. I like them, and I definitely wanted someone to use the jam-as-in-jelly angle, but personally, I think the image is less qualified for this job than some others. Because it's an exercise in graphic design, and not cartooning.

Here's a revamped version of the roller derby drawing, where I pretty much used the colors that people tended to like, from my version with the green shorts . . . but I amped up the contrast and intensity, stealing techniques from Chris Fason's pink version:

If people love this one, perhaps it can replace the rock band. If you wish to start a fervent public outcry, do so in the comments below. Otherwise, the rock band stays, I reckon.

I've been trying to figure out exactly what lesson there is to be gleaned from the rock band beating the roller derby, and I think it has to do with a theory that's been slowly bubbling up in the back of my mind over the last few weeks. How can I put this?

There's something to effortlessness. Many times, a doodle that takes 10 seconds will be better received than a piece that takes 5 hours. Because when you really take the time to pick over every detail, perfecting every line and nuance, it's easy to lose the flair and personality of a quick sketch. So there are times when you should embrace the lazy version.

And: There's something to naivety. I'm noticing more and more cartoons and comics done in a sort of "Outsider Art" style. That is, they're purposefully made to look like they're either drawn by a 6th grader, or like they're drawn by someone who's never seen a comic book before. Like they're drawn by a farmer. Maybe it started with Frog Baseball, or in some way, Peanuts. Now adult swim is overrun with it, and there are all these art comics. I think people are attracted to this for a couple reasons.

1) They always want to see something that looks new or different. So if they're used to Spongebob Squarepants, and then they suddenly see 12 Oz. Mouse, they get a thrill out of it.

2) It's meta. It's a story within a story. If you can draw really well, but you decide that your style is going to look like it's done by someone who can't draw . . . or by someone who was only given 3 minutes to finish the work . . . it creates a story in the viewer's mind. Now, not only are they thinking, "This character's fighting the other character," they're thinking, "This is drawn by an idiot savant who overcame his severe strangeness to create a work of genius. I could have done this, but I didn't. How brilliant this guy is!" It's like The Office. The story is about office workers, but, since it's done in pretend-documentary-style, the viewer can also think about the documentarians behind the camera, and how the subjects are embarrassed in front of the camera, or how they're playing to the camera. There are layers upon layers. And because it's 2008, and we've seen so many things, we're looking around for anything new and different, including the multi-layered.

Not saying that that's good or bad. Just that it's a thing.


WeezeL365 said...

The Rock band STAYS.

Also, the majority of those "crap cartoons" that are meant to look bad on Adult Swim? They fuckin' suck. The ones that're supposed to look good pretty much suck, too. And most of the anime they play? Sucks. It just plain hard to find ANY good cartoons anymore, and I mean the content as well as the animation.

I didn't mean to go off on a John K. like rant, there, but I'm just sayin' that, had I went to college? Taken a course in film or animation, or maybe even learned Flash, I'd be trying to make cartoons instead of just comics.

Tim Rocks said...

The story within the story I always think about when I watch 'The Office' is-- "Gee, are those documentarians STILL gathering footage for their documentary? This is going to be the most epic documentary about a group of mediocre office workers ever made!"