Feb 132013

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to the recap of this past week’s lesson.  As always, scroll down to read the lesson that the students had.  Below, you will find their work.

Thanks for reading!  Now, onward.



While we are drawing comics and cartoon drawings, certain ANIMATION principles are really helpful and will help bring your characters to life.  Since you are all familiar with drawing characters by now, here is a lesson that will help with their facial expressions!

The technique we’re learning about today is called “Squash and Stretch.” 

Today is an introduction to that concept, and an explanation of how you can use it when you draw!

Before we go over this: take a quick look at the diagram below.  It’s important to remember your work in Character Design, with drawing heads, before Squashing and Stretching!


Look at the dog, and point out: what part of his face moves, and in what direction, when he grins?  What about when he yells?  Does it look somewhat different when he is surprised?

These are the basic things you need to remember:

A)    When a character goes to speak, or to show emotion, he’ll move his face.

B)     When he does, and he OPENS his mouth, it will STRETCH out his face and his expression.  His jaw will be lower down.

C)     Sometimes, some muscles SQUASH while others STRETCH.  Cartoons who smile wide STRETCH up their lips, but SCRUNCH up their cheeks.   

D)    For example: When he closes his mouth, and if he also lowers his eyelids tightly (when mad, crying, and so on), it will SQUASH his face.  His cheeks and eyes will get tighter.  But if he is frowning, his lip muscles will still STRETCH down—the opposite of a big smile.

Animation and cartoons exaggerate things in real life—even though our faces may not do this unless we are making a bigger than usual face, doing over the top drawings like this helps make it very clear what the character is feeling.

And next, we reviewed how this appears DIFFERENT when it is a human face being squashed and sketch.  The students reviewed several different examples from various animators.

Below are some examples copyrighted by Disney, of character sketches of the famed Pinnochio’s face.  See how things like laughinga nd yawning will COMBINE squashing and stretching, while glaring will ONLY have squashing, and surprised faces will have ONLY stretching?


And then, for the assignments the students were given!  Here were the choices students were given:

“1)  Using all nine, or at least six, of the faces shown in the “Using The Facial Elements To Emote” section of the lesson plan, practice drawing a character you have made up, or want to make comics on, with these different expressions.


2)  Once you have practiced the concept, make sure there are at least TWO instances in a drawing or a comic that you make, of a character moving their face in the SQUASH and SKETCH fashion.  If you normally draw characters without noses, try to include the nose for practice!

3)      You may also draw yourself, or one of your classmates, using these rules!  Think of the real life person example that is shown above.  If you draw yourself, you have permission to look at a mirror in the store and make the facial expression that you wish to practice to then draw it.  Looking at yourself for reference may be helpful any way.”

And now, here are the very creative and fun works the students came up with!

First up, is the work of Woody Tuttle!

First, Woody used the principles of Squash and Stretch to draw a humorous portrait from a real life subject in the store (readers are free to guess who!), and he also used it a bit throughout his “Random Comics” story.  His first portrait was more of a realistic caricature, as was his other portrait– one showing subtle squash, and one that was actually a self-portrait!  To conclude his work, he did a funny Squash and Sketch drawing of the ironically named “Happy Face,” and he also drew a very cute cartoon dragon with very Stretch-ed open cartoon eyes.  Scroll down to see his great drawings!

Woody1 Woody2 Woody3 Woody4 Woody5 Woody6 Woody7And finally, we have the work of Jackson Siegel!

Jackson took the option of writing and drawing a comic, where the various characters would enact Squash and Sketch using their faces, depending on what emotions they felt in particular parts of the story and scenes!  Jackson’s story focused on a bully named Nolan– very prone to anger, and extraordinarily dramatic faces– and followed his adventures arguing with his equally expressive parents, as well as a clerk at Jackson’s quasi-fictional/creatively named convenience store, “6/12.”   Get the joke?  Scroll down for the cover and for “Nolan’s” comic story!

Jackson1 Jackson2 Jackson3

Again, thanks to the readers for reading, and tune in for the next week’s Comics for Kids Recap!  Take care and have a Happy Week.