View Full Version : Cartooning Improvments

December 2nd, 2003, 10:05 PM
I've created this thread to talk about cartooning, and how we can improve them.

First off, I have several questions.

#1 how do cartoonists manage to have completly straight lines, or perfectly curved lines, no hand-drawn defects?

#2 How does Woody do the hair effect? (the lines within the hair, to make it look more realistic"

#3 How is chain mail drawn/colored? what textures?

#4 How does Woody do his shading? (is it magic tool and then spray can?)

#5 Is Woody left handed or right handed?

Any other advice would be greatly apprciated, every art teacher I know has no more help than they can provide me.

I thank all who have taken the time to read this, and those who have taken the time to reply.

December 2nd, 2003, 10:13 PM
maybe this will help answer some of your questions. http://www.polykarbon.com/tutorials

December 2nd, 2003, 10:14 PM
I can answer a few of those....

I get straight lines with rulers sometimes, but for the most part it just takes a steady hand.

#5 I believe he said he was left-handed at first but then switches to right.

I don't know about the other stuff since I don't do computer art very much.

December 2nd, 2003, 10:26 PM
heh, there deffienlty is a lot on that site, take me a few days to suck it all in.


December 2nd, 2003, 10:35 PM

you've created this thread to cartooning, and how we can improve them? Except... all your questions are about Woody...

something doesn't compute.

December 2nd, 2003, 10:40 PM
how can you switch hands!

December 2nd, 2003, 10:43 PM
well, if you're right handed and you break you right arm or hand, then you'll have to learn to use your left.

I think Woody switched because he saw most others were using their right.

December 2nd, 2003, 11:20 PM
I've been web cartooning off and on (more off than on, unfortunately) for a while and so I hope I can provide some help.

Woody is a very talented artist and has had some terrific formal training and professional experience. He mentions this in his FAQ. He was very kind to me on another message board - I appreciated his kind words of encouragement.

While some folks draw on paper and then scan their images into computers, others do their work entirely on computers (like me). Adobe Illustrator software or some other art program enables you to make perfect lines, curves, circles, etc.

I use Adobe Photoshop (I use a Wacom tablet and draw directly on the computer (and more often than not, it shows, heh) and Adobe Illustrator (only for lettering - I make my own messy lines, curves, circles, etc. as it's my style, such as it is...).

Barry Smith of Angst Technology fame had an outstanding Cartooning 101 section on his Inktank.com website, but I think he took it offline while the site is currently under construction. Here's his link:


Here's a link to a supportive website for aspiring cartoonists with a message board for posting links to your artwork and get feedback from. It's been a little dead (like my cartoon site, heh) but supportive nonetheless.

The free service I use may or may not be accepting new toons (I haven't checked recently) but if you want to get free web space and do your own thing, you may at the very least get some ideas from here:


Some people love keenspace, some people hate it. But at least it's a start and check out other aspiring cartoonists - some great, some not so great. Overall a pretty supportive group of folks.

The only real advice that I recommend:

1. Draw, draw, draw. And then draw some more. You will get better.

2. If you can afford to take art classes (or are still in school) then take some general drawing classes and figure drawing classes (bonus if you take figure drawing classes at college level because usually the models are nekkid - although that may not always be a good thing...)

3. Once you have a few drawings (the more the merrier), have people take a look at them and really listen to the constructive feedback. Don't be argumentative but appreciate what they are trying to convey to you. Sometimes it takes a thick skin to listen to feedback, but if you can learn from it, it will only make you improve.

Good luck and I hope I've helped!

December 2nd, 2003, 11:46 PM
It would have been betterer to mail me and ask these questions that to post them on the boards.

#1 how do cartoonists manage to have completly straight lines, or perfectly curved lines, no hand-drawn defects?
I sketch my images then ink them, on non-textured, non-porous paper, with technical pens. I then scan the image into Photoshop at a higher resolution than the final product. I adjust the brightness and contrast so the lines are dark and crisp, while the background is white and clean. There are hand drawn defects, but the combination of all of those elements smooth out the slaws visually.

#2 How does Woody do the hair effect? (the lines within the hair, to make it look more realistic"
It's no more than what you see. I draw lines in the hair.

#3 How is chain mail drawn/colored? what textures?
This is different for everyone, and each person should develop their own style. Otherwise you'll just get accused of stealing someone elses form.

#4 How does Woody do his shading? (is it magic tool and then spray can?)
Layers. And the Airbrush set to multiply. Of course there is more to it than that. But, I'll keep my coloring secrets thanks. Those two pieces of info should help get you started.

#5 Is Woody left handed or right handed?
I'm right handed.

What the others are referring to is the fact that I was left hand dominant as a child and even started writing left handed. In the first grade however, everyone else was writing with their right hands. Assuming I was doing it wrong, I switched hands. The older you are the harder it is because at an early age our brains aren't completely hardwired yet and you're not so bound by years of habit.

So, the answer to "how do you switch hands" is quite simply... put the pen in your other hand and keep doing it until it works.


And, no amount of training I have received has ever helped me. There hasn't been a single teacher/professor, since I started drawing, that has shown me HOW to do something or actually influenced my work or the way I produced it.

The only real way to learn and improve is to draw and keep drawing. Doodle in your free time. Sketch when you've got nothing better to do.

December 3rd, 2003, 12:07 AM
That's exactly how I did it. as far as 2d media, I didn't learn much from my art teachers. One of them flunked me when I didn't do it her way, and the others were ambivelant. The only thing I got from art classes was the free supplies, lol.

One art teacher did actually influence me. He's pretty cool. He was my sculpture teacher. He didn't actually teach me how to sculpt, he let me figure it out on my own. But he did help me learn about the different types of clay and what you could do with it.

In fact, he let me use a blow torch on some of my pieces, which I thought was hella tight.

It's too bad I can't scan my sculptures to show you. Maybe I should take some photos of them sometime.

I actually sold some of my sculptures at a gallery. Alls I can't say is, thank god for rich people. I was happy to get a few hundred dollars for my work.

I think that was the only time I've ever been able to sell anyhting other than tattoo designs.

December 3rd, 2003, 12:24 AM
I have no formal art education. Last art class I took was in HS. I dont count the complete joke of an art class I had first semester of college. *tries to suppress the memories*

December 3rd, 2003, 12:26 AM
I was an art minor in college and took art classes in high school and honestly, they didn't help me much either. It wasn't until I moved out to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art College (yes, that annoying commercial on MTV) to study 3D Modeling and Animation that I actually learned some practical applications to drawing.

1. All the spiffy art programs (for mac, pc and silicon graphic systems)
2. And probably the more important of the two: In my life drawing classes, I really started to understand the concept of perspective. Probably something that most pick up naturally or from better art courses, but it took like 20 years before I really knew how to understand and truly "see" the things I was drawing.

Other than that, doodling carried me throughout my entire education and very boring business meetings.

December 3rd, 2003, 12:29 AM

Most of the art on my site was the product of doodling while being bored out of my skull.

December 3rd, 2003, 01:38 AM
My method for doing chainmail kind of sucks, because it's time consuming and the outcome is only so-so. I draw a crapload of tiny circles in pencil that look to be about the same diameter and just leave them un-inked. Then I color it in. I wish I had a colored in example to show, but alas, I do not (maybe later). It usually looks ok before color, but after coloring it gets pretty assy looking....the chain links lose their definition.


Gah, I need to get my art page up and running again.

My teaching, too, was doodling. I made a couple comics way back in the day (read: I think maybe 4 years ago?), but they were more graphic novels than anything else. I did a horror-fairytale version of "Rapunzle", as well as a small fantasy one about a blind girl and her sister. They were so lame, I think I burned them.

December 3rd, 2003, 01:55 AM
Whoa. Your chain mail looks like something out of one of those olde time tapestry history booke thinges, Velenka. It's neat.

December 3rd, 2003, 02:28 AM
I can only look at awe upon people with artistic ability. I have zero.

Proof of my "uber" art skills (http://home.earthlink.net/~rjwahler/files/freakpaly.bmp)

December 3rd, 2003, 02:29 AM
Whoa, that's a cool.. uh.. .. hmm.. .. Ghoulbane. It's a Ghoulbane, right? Whoa, I say whoa too much. It has replaced "like" as my overused word, perhaps.

December 3rd, 2003, 02:31 AM
like whoa!

December 3rd, 2003, 02:40 AM
I personally use opposing lines of C's.


December 3rd, 2003, 02:58 AM
The only way I could draw chain maille accurately is if I see it. Anyone wanna pose?


December 3rd, 2003, 05:10 AM
I'm with Nosferatu on this one in that I have pretty much no artistic ability and just look at other people's skill with a bit of envy (even though my only distinction at school was for an art project). I used to be ok at drawing vehicles, or nature if I had to, but I've never really put in the effort to practice, which probably accounts for my lack of artistic quality. :roll:

Here in Britain art is very much a subject that people do if they are really good at it, or have nothing better to do. It also revolves around the actual history of art as opposed to getting down and dirty with pencil and paint. Whilst it's slightly better at college it seems like the same sort of thing, just you wear your own clothes instead of uniform. :?

I program code, that is my own personal art :D

December 3rd, 2003, 07:56 AM
Art classes were a mixed blessing and bane for me. I did like the fact that being in an art class (in college, mind you, really different from high school in some ways) made me focus and gave me lots of opportunity to mess around with different media. I'm not an especially disciplined person and school forced me to be.
On the OTHER hand, all but one instructor I had were stuffed shirts and very by-the-book. And that frustrated me a lot, because I wasn't drawing what I wanted to be drawing...I was drawing what I had to draw to make them happy, and I got to resent it. Combined with general frustration and generally being convinced of my total lack of talent, I dropped out of school not long after that and quit drawing completely soon after. It still hurts sometimes, because I genuinely loved to draw, it just came to a point where my frustration at being unable to make the images on paper match the images in my head outweighed any pleasure I was getting out of it. Maybe someday I'll start again, just not now. :>

Penguin (:>(O ):
December 3rd, 2003, 06:20 PM
I went through 2 student teachers in JHS and the regular one was a jackass. I was better at art that him anyway (spit) aww its hanging! ... runs to bathroom.... ok phew better and how do you post pictures (pout)

December 3rd, 2003, 08:36 PM
<== Has a hand-made chain maille coif he can pose with. *grin*

December 3rd, 2003, 08:53 PM
well, send me a photo wolfheart, and I'll draw it.

December 3rd, 2003, 10:27 PM
I never really done chain mail myself. I have drawn some dragons, and I used just a MILLION tiny circles that literally took me a week to do for the scales.

I'd post some pictures I have from high school, but alas, I have no webspace, so no pictures. Maybe one day I will.. We'll see.

P.S. By the way, I never noticed the 'C' chain mail that Woody does. I like!

December 4th, 2003, 01:04 AM
Now i have to see if i can find the completed one and a digital camera lol. If not, I'll try finishing the latest version and send ya a pic of it.

December 4th, 2003, 01:05 AM

December 4th, 2003, 01:14 AM
The first one I did about a Month ago, the Second is one I did last night, i'm still in adoration of Woody's work, mainly in his coloring ability and perfect lines, but then again my hand constantlly shakes and I cannot stop it.



December 4th, 2003, 01:23 AM
ooh cool.

the second one, I like. I like what you did on the hair, and everything is in proportion. Nice and simple.

the first one is allright. The bow looks tight, but you should work on you perspective and proportion a little. I like the background. The shin guards look funny. One looks like the plate is on back of the calf, and the other looks like its on the side of the calf. Your shadow is pretty good, but it doesn't match the shadowing on the body.

That's all.

December 4th, 2003, 01:26 AM
Yeah, the second one is rockin'. I love how you did the draping of the cloth. Nice inking :)

December 4th, 2003, 01:37 AM
The First one looks horrid all together :lol:

I couldn't find anything right about it, but now my Coloring is better as is my shading, but my Lines are still pretty cluttered :roll:

Catila Amano
December 4th, 2003, 11:44 AM
maybe this will help answer some of your questions. http://www.polykarbon.com/tutorialsThank you for this link! I've always had a problem with folds on clothes and this link gave me an easy way to figure out how to do them.

December 5th, 2003, 10:23 PM
Mmm, Color

I'm getting better at my Colors *jiggy dance*


December 6th, 2003, 12:20 AM
WOW awsome Jishia! :D

December 6th, 2003, 05:51 AM
Umm, I have a piece that I colored but was done by another person that used to frequent the /GU forums. Iíve tried to track her down since I completed it (about 2 years ago :( ) with little luck. So I never really got permission to use her art. I just grabbed the picture from her site because I thought I could do work with it. ummm.. well.. I was really happy with the way my first serious attempt at coloring turned out. Her work made the picture really wonderful. Anyway, if you guys think it's ok I can post a link. Maybe someone can get me in touch with the creator and I can finally thank her. I feel bad that I havenít shown this work to its original creator, thatís why Iím hesitant to post it.

December 6th, 2003, 06:11 AM
cartoons straight out of my head look something like this. I pretty much suck drawing stuff w/o a photo reference... and even then, beyond faces its a real struggle. I need to take a figure drawing class.


and your welcome catila :D I've done coloring for other peoples linework and its come in very handy.

December 6th, 2003, 07:02 AM
I think this website will be useful. http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/farp/

-Nerrul Ironfist the 43rd season Blue Monk of Quellious -Xev-

December 6th, 2003, 07:49 AM
I've taken several art classes, none of which have had any impact on my art. For the most part I just sketch on ordinary printer paper, then go over it with a Uniball .2mm pen. Colouring is done with ordinary Crayola pencils.

My problem as far as web pictures has always been bad scanner quality - I've never had a scanner long enough to figure out what will provide the best-looking scans. You can see what I mean by checking out the art gallery on my own website, which is linked below. (Only a small handful, due simply to lack of a scanner.)

Personally, compared to Velenka, Ciarin, Tadashya and Woody, I think my work has a long way to go. But I draw because I love to.

December 6th, 2003, 11:40 AM
#1 how do cartoonists manage to have completly straight lines, or perfectly curved lines, no hand-drawn defects?

first of all, PRACTICE! and keep on practicing until you are comfortable with the method of drawing you are using. Each artist has his/her own style. Second, there are tools that can assist on curved and straight lines.

There are several tutorials at Elfwood that might have the subject you are looking for.

December 6th, 2003, 11:42 AM
But I draw because I love to.

and that's the most important of all in drawing.

December 6th, 2003, 01:23 PM
I draw becaus eI love to, and because I'm bored a lot.

December 6th, 2003, 10:09 PM
Is there an option in Adobe, that will straighten out your line?

December 6th, 2003, 10:20 PM
I use a tablet. I think the polykarbon link covers the use of the pen tool.

December 7th, 2003, 01:31 AM
MCW, there isn't really a way to do that no.

I suggest, investing in a few high quality technical pens, and practice practice practice.


I use a Wacom Tablet myself. Though, I still ink my images, and scan them in. I only color with the Stylus.

December 7th, 2003, 02:01 AM
oh, I was hoping there would be, you can do it in flash.

December 7th, 2003, 02:33 AM
that's because flash is vector based art, all mathmatics, really easy to make automatic calculations. I don't get to use photoshop very often so I don't know if you can create vector based art in it. I know you can in illustrator.

December 7th, 2003, 03:16 AM
You can do artwork in photoshop using paths. You can edit nodes withing the path, but as far as I know it's not a TRUE vector image.

Being that Adobe Illustrator is their vector based program, it's understandable.

December 7th, 2003, 03:33 AM
Hi all new to he board here..

Has anyone tried a scale type mail in photo shop using embassing and layers? I have yet to try but I been thinking bout it. I have made a few EQ sigs for online pals but Im kinda avoiding the ones that play any chainmail classes. 8D Ive tried laying a tecture and but it seems to turn out flat. I guess i could always .../shudder ... hand draw the chain ugh. Any more detail on this matter would be greatly appreciated! /beg. My Druid wears Elysian in game and for those who dont play it looks like chain but in my own sig I just did the leather cause its too annoying to draw out. (Throwing in my sig for the hell of it.)

OH BTW the question bout shading I find the burn and dodge tool invaluable! Its the best thing to come along since pie! You can adjust the intensity and size like all the other options in Photo shop so you have complete control. :D

Sorry if this is HUGE! I dont know how to shrink it!!!


December 7th, 2003, 04:15 AM
1.) Dreleen, that sig is AWSOME! She is so pretty :) You're very skilled.
2.) The more you folks talk about Adobe Photoshop, the more I realize that I know jack about what I'm doing with that tool. Paths? Nodes? *shiver* I need to sit down and effing learn this program once and for all.

December 7th, 2003, 04:37 AM
Yeah that's a good pic Dreleen :)

Photoshop is one of those programs where everything seems either really difficult or has dodgy names. If you were shown what they were then you'd go "OOOOhhh! is that what it means."

I'm hazarding some guesses here, but paths would pretty much be lines, defined by 2 points (nodes) and given vectors (directions) on each point to define the curvature of the line. I'm probably wrong, but I tried :D

December 7th, 2003, 07:31 AM

pen tool = nodes/shapes maker for adobe ps
adobe ps also does vector shapes. I have very limited experience with flash so I have no idea about their compatability.

December 7th, 2003, 01:26 PM
Thnx much!

But I still got a lot to learn! One of which is not making guys femme looking. /sigh Just need to keep trying and reworking I guess

December 8th, 2003, 07:50 AM
Recent picture I did about a day back


December 8th, 2003, 08:29 AM

Very nice

I have yet to attempt an ikky... was asked to but I had to humbly decline hehee

Sorini McMarrin
December 8th, 2003, 09:19 AM
I normally only lurk, but I just had to speak up about this. I'm a lousy artist I'll leave the catrooning to the pro's but... I come from a family of left handed women.Yes only the women in my family are left handed. My mom went to scholl in the 40's, the nun's whipped her hand with a ruler every time they caught her using her left. It didn't stop her. I went to school in the 80's, and while beating the children in public schools was frowned upon, I did get detention.. a lot. They made me write with my right hand. This didn't stop me either. I'm amazed that just seeing other kids write with their right hands was enough for you Woody. I try sometimes to use my right hand, I used to be pretty good at it (was the only way to escape detention). Are you really more comfortable with your right hand now?

December 8th, 2003, 10:03 AM
Yeah, now I can't write with my left at all. Like I said, I thought I was doing something wrong. **shrugs**

December 8th, 2003, 12:23 PM
I am very interested in working on my artwork and wondering if I should invest a Wacom tablet and which one. I am not very good and need a lot of work. Or should I stick the the tried and true Pen and Paper? Though the cost of good supplies could equal a decent Wacom. I checked out the Wacom sight you linked Woody but it did not really answer my question. Any suggestions you good people can offer would be great. :)

December 8th, 2003, 12:27 PM
I dont use a Wacom, and personally dont feel a need to, I've used a Mouse for 10 years and I could never get used to a huge 50lb Pen on a 1inch Pad :lol:

December 8th, 2003, 04:15 PM
I can't not think of the monetary aspects when it comes to "should I or shouldn't I?" questions. Do you think you will be using the wacom (http://www.wacom.com) enough to make the purchase worthwhile? The most bang-for-your-buck version is about $200.

I wish I could speak from experience, but it isn't Christmas yet, so I am going to guess...and if any of this guesswork is really off the mark, I BEG anyone who has a wacom to correct me!

I think the hugest benefit of a tablet (IMHO) is the coloring of pictures. If that is the skill that you think needs work, then go for it :) If it's the drawing of lines that you feel needs development, and you'd rather hold a pen, then with a wacom you don't have to worry about wasting paper on oopses, a small mountain of eraser crumbs, or lines that you can't erase very well.

On the other hand.. I spent years learning with a pad of paper, some pencils, and gum erasers. I think learning that skill, too, is invaluable. Learning to draw both with a wacom and conventional methods gives dimension to your skills. One skill helping the other.

December 8th, 2003, 04:21 PM
Thank you guys for your input it is much appreciated.