Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mouth Shorthand

Here's a mouth drawn in the style of American cartoonist Milt Caniff. According to artist and comics historian Ron Harris, "Drawing the lips too round or too full can detract from the "man's man" look realistic artists usually strive for. Impressionists Noel Sickles and Milton Caniff circumvented this potential pitfall by drawing a thin upper lip in shadow, reduced almost to a line, while indicating the lower lip only by the shadow it casts on the chin."

Ron's blog post "Mouthing Off" has a lot more examples of ways the great comic artists simplified the mouth for maximum clarity and expression.

5 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Such economy.
Not too much more than a smudge.
An artist's haiku.

Wynne said...

Simply beautiful
like the Chinese number two
but turned upside down.

nana said...

The way I learnt to draw mouths initially was through manga. I was struck by how much could be conveyed through so little. By using simple line width variation you can achieve a startling amount of depth to the lips. If the lines taper off toward the middle, to the point that they vanish, it creates a convincing illusion of light a shadow.
This is an image I use in some how-to-draw-manga workshops I do for kids: [Link]

Gordon Napier said...

I thought you meant drawn with the mouth for a minute there.

Sara Light Waller said...

Once again you have inspired me. :-) I couldn't resist adding a follow-up post to this one on my own blog about mouths in shojo manga.