Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Hey gang! This is the first post of what I hope becomes a series of discussions related to picture-making and animation. So here goes! Today, John K. has some thoughts on the importance of line quality in animation. Here's the link to his post where he asks the question "Is Good Line Important?" Definitely worth checking out, as he chronicles his opinion of how line has taken a back seat in some animation. A lot of what he talks about is clean-up, which is the animation process where the inker comes in to clean up the the rough pencil sketches of the animator. The trick here is the preserve the energy of the gestural quality of you sketch. I typically go through a similar process when I take a sketch to it's inked stage in my illustrations (see below). I'd be curious to hear about everyone else's general methodologies for getting from sketch to final...both in the digital and traditional realms.
Now, most of the FableVision crew brings a different philosophy on line to the table. I personally find line the most interesting part of making a picture—it's where I get my kicks as an artist. Our differences in how we use line define our styles as artists.
So I'm gonna single a couple people out. First, I'll start with Pete. Of all of us, he probably takes the loosest approach to line—wavy and varying as it skips around the page. Pete's line has a ton of energy to it. It breathes evidence of the brush stroke that created it. It's not continuous—broken in segments...you can see where Pete picks up his pen as he scoots along. It retains the properties of a sketch.
Allie also uses a fairly loose line, but prefers a single-width line, best created with a pen or a pencil. Her line-weight is uniform, and has the confidence of a doodle. One consequence of uniform line-weight is that it flattens the drawing. The line reads as pure line, which an artist can use to their advantage.
Keith's line, especially when he works in pencil, fades in and out. He employs both contrast and thickness. When he works in Flash, Keith uses a varied line weight to achieve the subtleties in contrast he gets from the pressure variation of a pencil line. And this variation is used for emphasis—the effect is that the drawing has realistic 3-dimensionality.
None of these samples use line in conjunction with color, which is an entirely different balancing act. But I thought it would be best to isolate line in its raw form at first. What are people's thoughts on the importance of line?