Thursday, June 22, 2006

Darn duck

I thought this duck was going to be so easy compared to the other ones I've been doing. It looked so pleasantly round and self-contained. I was wrong.

On my first try, I mistook the basic shape for a circle, when in fact it is (obviously in retrospect) an oval. That made the entire face too wide.

My second try, when viewed here as an overlay over the book drawing, lines up pretty well. But on paper, when I finished drawing it, it looked pretty wrong. The angle of the eyes is not quite right, and the bill doesn't scoop down low enough. Still, it's better than I thought it was:

My third try is also pretty good, but the head is just a little too narrow and the cheek is pinched back a bit too far. It changes the look and personality of the duck just enough to make it look wrong:

My fourth try is the best, but I'm still pinching the cheek back too far. Oddly enough, I thought this one looked right on paper (before scanning and checking), while I thought the previous ones were very wrong. In fact, they are all have about the same degree of accuracy/inaccuracy. I think the difference is that fourth one best captured the look and feeling of the character. Significantly, the fourth one is the most accurate with regard to the eyes. The angle of the eyes is dead on. It's interesting how big an effect this has on the overall likeness, even though there's a big problem with the cheek:

Since I only have about half an hour a day to work on this, it takes me three or four days just to work through one drawing from the book. I can't believe it takes so long. But I'm really into trying to get the subtleties right.

My wife watched me for a while and suggested I might be missing the point. Maybe so, but if I can't copy the drawing so that it looks like the same character, then there's no point going any further. After all, if were trying to animate this duck, I would need to make each drawing appear to be the same duck as it acts out a scene. This level of control is exactly what I've been missing and what I most want to work on. So it seems worth the effort.

Next up: the crows!

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