Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An In-Depth Look at the Painstaking Sketch Process of a Natural Born Cartoonist

You know that autographed Chris Sanders print that we're giving away on Friday? The one that prompted you to 'follow' this blog when you would've otherwise ignored it in favor of Cartoon Brew? You know, the one with the coven of cutie-pie witches riding a broomstick in front of a black raspberry and vanilla sky? (Hint: It's located less than an inch below this sentence.)

You do know it?

Well, before it looked like this:

It started as this:


You don't believe me do you? You're thinking, Chris Sanders is a cartoon genius. Dude doesn't need to make a first or second (or fifteenth!) draft of a drawing to get it right. He simply puts pen to paper and with a few quick flicks of his wrist - voilĂ ! - a mini Mona Lisa. I'll admit, I thought so, too. I'd seen enough scans of Sanders' off-the-cuff convention sketches to convince me that the guy was a perfect picture making machine. Heck, I probably even took some solace in this misconception, using it as an excuse for why I'm not currently writing and directing big budget animated movies that make adults cry like babies and babies laugh like lunatics. After all, if you blindly believe the myth that great artists are born great, it makes it a helluva lot easier to quit slaving away at your own art form of choice. I mean, why bother trying to hone your craft when some folks are just naturally gifted, right?

On the other hand, actually acknowledging the WORK that grandmasters like Chris Sanders put into their art can be an even greater blow to one's ego. It implies that while the grandmasters may be a bit more 'artistically inclined' than you or I, they've also worked much harder than us, put in waaay more hours of practice than us, and quite possibly love the art form more wholeheartedly than we do.

Cheery, huh?

That said, recognizing an admired artist's struggles and stamina can also have positive, possibly mind-altering side-effects. For one thing, you'll view your artistic heroes as kindred spirits rather than infallible gods. The elevated, often otherworldly quality of their work will seem inspirational instead of daunting or unattainable. Seeing their scribbles and false-starts will instill in you the illogical (yet wholly necessary) belief that 'if they can do it, so can I.' Most importantly, it will motivate you to WORK HARDER. After all, if Chris Sanders is ready to repeatedly rework a sketch before he's satisfied, shouldn't you and I be prepared to do the same...only more so?

(Hint: The correct answer is a humbly hollered, 'AMEN!')

Now that that sanctimonious little sermon is out of the way, allow me to link you to the step-by-step creation of the 'Three Witches' print that I promised in this post's title. It's located in the anthropomorphic Eden that is Chris Sanders' deviantArt page, right here.

(Oh, and if you still haven't entered to win the 'Three Witches' print, click here.)

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