Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday Revue December 23: Robo Hole

 Brace Yourselves!

Your Life Is Being INVADED By

Black holes. Hyper-evolved technology. Asteroids destroying your yard.
An Algebra test at 9 in the morning to top it off. 
Brace yourselves, you are now entering the Robo Hole. Jump in with your guide, the creator Trusty Shamrock.

The Rating

The Raves

A wonderfully sharp and snarky tone keeps this classic 'alien in my back yard' storyline moving at a good clip, the wheels liberally greased in sarcasm.  This clever and quirky tale takes the idea of E.T. in a far less saccharine direction, replacing adorable grade school characters with jaded middle grade kids and all that comes with it: the angst, the arguments, the snide comments and the wit. The color palette matches the slightly sour mood of all early teenagers as they navigate the rocky road to adulthood, with some very interesting cybernetic twists and alien-induced surprises along the way. Like Stranger Things? Add a fourteen year old sister who's not amused and you've got Parsnip, our main female protagonist.
There's a good sense of world building in this story, and the character design is consistently witty and distinctive.  As the story continues, the learning curve on the art really shows, and the backgrounds on the newest pages are especially gorgeous. I've been more and more impressed by the creator's grasp of texture and lighting in the natural world.  The scene building is both well done and witty. 

The Razzes

Now that we've talked about how lovely the static scenes are, let's talk about human form and movement. It needs a little work. When standing still Parsnip and her gang look pretty good
 But when there's motion, things start to get a little stiff. There's some serious work to be done in foreshortening and in facial structure.
Let's begin with facial structure in profile and at an angle. The human face IS HARD, mainly because we're programmed to read tiny differences in human faces and therefore any minor issue in the face makes our brains go ' no no not good'. This is a hellish bane to artists.  But there's specific things that can be done to improve.
DragoArt does a wonderful full  tutorial on the subject of the human face, but the basics are shown in a single image:

Another good point to remember is:

Basically, the face is not flat. Unfortunately the creator has a tendency to draw it as if it is, which results in this uncomfortably wrong look.

 I reccomend keeping a copy of a really reliable artist's diagram for the human face and referencing it regularly until the problem is solved. Here's a good one from an old art book.

Another good resource is "Headshots" by Christine Welman a.k.a Errant Crow • Blog/Website (
Now, for the movement problem. There are very few straight lines in the human body, so drawing a figure with straight lines isn't going to help the human eye. Take this piece for example. Without the s-curve to the spine, the body seems stiff and unreal. I recommend trying the Line Of Action method to improve fluidity.

Here's some ideas (MC's note: I got these a few years ago from a friend, if you know the artist feel free to comment with credit dear readers.)

 The Revue

Grab your tunes, turn up the volume and sit down  on Saturday morning with your cheerios and Robo Hole. Give yourself a treat.

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