Hey guys! Iron Ed asked about drawing eyes at a three-quarter angle last week. Since I have trouble with that myself, let's take a look.
Again, I should remind everyone that my formal art education is pretty sparse and that I'm in no way an authority on drawing. These Tips and Terms posts are just based on my methods and observations.
As mentioned last week, the brow ridge and the bridge of the nose can hide the far eye at certain angles. This is because of where the eye sits in the skull. In the most basic terms, our eyes are balls of vitreous fluid wrapped in a thin coating. Kind of like Jello in a soft, plastic shell. They're very delicate and, well, highly squish-able.
This is where the skull comes in.
There are a number of ridges, planes, and surfaces of the skull, all of which have specific names. We don't need to worry about that. All we need to be concerned with is that the eye sits in the eye socket, surrounded by the brow ridge, check bones, and nasal bridge. The whole point is to protect these delicate organs from damage.
When the head turns, those bony ridges that protect our eyes change how the eye farthest from us looks. The eye itself hasn't actually changed. It just looks as if it has. Yeah, I hate perspective, foreshortening, and depth too. The easiest way to draw this is to cover part of the far eye with the nose bridge and make the far eye sit slightly closer to the bridge than the near eye.
As we can see from The Batman cartoon, this works with standard shaped faces like Poison Ivy's...
...elongated faces like Alfred Pennyworth's...
...or more squat faces like the Penguin's.
Despite the shape differences, the basic sphere structure is still there in each one, making it easier for the animators to keep the facial features in their proper places.
Because cartoon characters...
...bounce around a lot.
Chances are there are more bronies reading than Batman fans. So, let's look at how the basic sphere structure works on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Does it help? Actually yes, it makes ponies easy to draw! Pony heads follow the basic sphere structure very closely. Even the three-quarter far eye follows the curve of the sphere. Don't believe me? Check it out.
Twilight's sporting it.
So is Applejack.
Spike's a little more complex because of his spines and the fact that he has cheeks, but the sphere is still there. Unlike the ponies, he has a bit of flesh separating his eye from the outer curve of his face. Not much, just a bit.
One thing that stands out is that the horizontal (eye) line seems to sit a little lower on the sphere than usual to accommodate the larger eyes. Also, the mouth/nose area is a little smaller to help make the eyes appear even larger - which increases the character's cuteness factor. Other than that, the far eye is still partially covered by the nose bridge. Continue the nose line up a bit, have the outer ridge of the far eye follow the curve of the head, and you should be all set.
Cause while ponies may not be tossing Batarangs at baddies, they still...
...bounce around a lot.
So use the basic sphere structure to help keep those eyes, noses, and mouths in place. It takes a little extra work, but the results are worth it. *grin*
If there's an art or comic topic that you'd like me to write about, please let me know via comments or email. Thanks guys!
"Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon's unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals."
-- Walt Disney