Professional comic artists, people who draw better than I do but perhaps not quite as well as they’d like, typically maintain massive clip files of art, so that they always have references for whatever pose or setting they’d like to draw. Fine artists usually spend a lot of time with live models, again providing them with extensive data on which they can depend when sketching. At the very least, many artists make use of articulated wooden models, which help them understand how the human body is put together and able to move. Barring that, today, if you’ve got a good connection and basic Google-fu, there’s a decent chance that you can find a photographic example of whatever’s inside your mind, if what you want is a fairly common thing from a fairly ordinary perspective.
Even so, you can’t find everything. Certain angles are just not represented in GIS. For example, in Dragon Comic 29, panel 3, I knew that I wanted to draw The Man squatting as he picked Dragon, and I was easily able to find many visual examples of this pose online, but most of them were intended as instruction for athletes, and for educational purposes shot either straight on from the front, or slightly angled from the side. There weren’t as many direct shots from the side, which is what I needed, so I had to extrapolate. And even so, The Man still curves his back in a non-ergonomic fashion. I image that he straightened out before he began lifting, so as not to hurt himself. He’s bigger than Dragon, but Dragon’s no featherweight, either.
Sometimes, I take pictures of myself in certain poses to help me see how to draw them. The more comics I draw, the less I have to do this.
The thing I couldn’t imagine, or Google, or photograph, of course, was my main character’s head. I could guess how it might look straight on, but I couldn’t be certain because there’s no frame of reference and my relationship with perspective is tricky. When I had the idea for comic 33, I needed a way to double check that what existed in my mind made sense in the reality of the comic, which I will discuss in tomorrow’s post. Like the smashing of the fourth wall, I think this new technique in my arsenal will help add more dimension to what the rabbit correctly asserted is a rather two-dimensional set of illustrations.