Life drawing for comics and cartoons – interview with Krishna Sadasivam

Comic and cartoon art is a highly skilled artform. The artist must be able to bring a highly stylised or super deformed characters to life such that the viewer relates to them as people. So we decided to ask Krishna Sadasivam, professional cartoon and comic artist and creator of PC Weenies, a few questions. You can view more of his work at his website and you can read PC Weenies here.

1. Do you think that drawing figures from life is relevant to cartoon art and why?

Understanding figure drawing is absolutely relevant to cartoon art in my opinion. A good understanding of anatomy is necessary to convey a sense of believability in the character. It’s also vital to understand with regards to capturing the character in various poses.

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2. Have skills learned from life/figure drawing affected your drawing style?

Yes they have. Life drawing has given me more confidence when it comes to conveying certain details – especially when caricaturing a subject. 

3. How can an artist develop a cartoon style?

A style is difficult to come by. The best way to develop your style, in my view, is to develop proficiency in all areas of drawing – from drawing fundamentals (volumetric drawing, perspective, composition). A person’s style tends to come about after years of practice.

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4. How did you start out as an artist and what challenges did you face?

Like many other artists, I started drawing at a very early age. The biggest challenge I faced was not having the wealth of information that I have at my disposal now. To learn your craft back then, you had to sign up for classes or find books on the subject. Specialized courses in cartooning and books on the subject were few and far between. The Internet has really opened things up.

5. What is your favourite animated character by another artist, and why?

It’s very difficult to pinpoint an absolute favorite – but I have a strong fondness for the Chuck Jones era Road Runner / Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Everything about these cartoons was brilliant, from the character designs, to the background designs and the gags in between. 

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Chuck Jones’ Roadrunner
6. How do you select colours when you are drawing?

I try to think about my color choices very carefully. I use color to establish mood within my drawings – I also use it to convey depth and a focal point. Color is a powerful tool – I tend to work with analogous colors with accent colors to make things “pop”.

7. What one piece of art equipment can you not live without?

My hand. 

8. What software do you use for producing your images?

I use a combination of Manga Studio 5 and Adobe Photoshop. 

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9. Can you recommend some artists/websites/blogs that are useful/inspiring for learning to draw?
My absolute favorite drawing site is proko.com  – the video tutorials are incredibly useful and the information is presented in a fun and engaging manner.

In terms of artists, I tend to gravitate towards folks like Bruce Timm, Tom Richmond, Ben Caldwell, Stephen Silver, Herge, Goscinny, Kerry Gammill, Jack Kirby and John Byrne.

10. What advice would you give to budding artists and students of art?

This is going to sound odd, but I’ll say it anyway. Copying is not a bad thing – particularly when you are trying to understand how another artist produced their work. Use copying as a method to understand how an artist conveys form, rhythm and visual appeal. Study the artists that you like. Steal the techniques you like from each and every one of them.

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