So far during lockdown I’ve (sort of) mastered the art of puzzles and cross stitch, finally learned a single song on the impulse purchase ukulele I got from an awesome guy at Seattle‘s famous Pike Place Markets two years ago and caught up on my reading. Baking is not an option for me, so I may as well turn to drawing as my next hobby, right?
Let me start by saying that I am NOT a visual artist, frankly even my stick figures look questionable. So I decided to chat to Melbourne-based comic artist and writer, Dean Rankine. He’s worked on the likes of the Simpsons Comics, Futurama, Rick and Morty and Hellboy. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.
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“I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember,” Dean recalls. “I was a socially awkward kid (who grew into a socially awkward man) and drawing was the way I expressed myself. I’m also a ‘praise monkey’ and when people said nice things about my artwork I believed them.”
Getting his start on kid’s magazines for the Victorian Education Department, to date Dean says the Simpsons Comics is definitely the highlight of his career.
“It was and will always be one of my favourite properties to work on. Milhouse is my all time favourite character, and a blast to draw,” he says.
Ok, so you and I PROBABLY won’t be drawing for The Simpsons by the time lockdown ends, but we certainly can make a start.
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“I use a drawing tablet (which is pretty kick arse) but for people just starting out pencil and paper is fine,” suggests Dean. “I’d recommend using a blue pencil. I find grey leads can get a little muddy if you press hard like I do.”
“I often get anxious when I draw and I find reminding myself that everything is made up of squares, circles, ovals, triangles etc helps. So, when drawing anything, whether it’s a cartoon character or from real life, break it down into its basic shapes.”
He’s not kidding about shapes. In fact, he’s been kind enough to share four steps with us to draw a better poo — yes I said poo. We’re dealing with comics here.
The poo is inspired by his recent illustration of a book called Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony and the POO of Excitement, written by my personal favourite human, Magda Szubanski.
5 easy steps to draw a better poo
Step 1 — It’s always good to break down what you’re drawing into basic shapes. Start with an oval. This will be the base of your poo.
Step 2 — Give your poo a triangle shape.
Step 3 — Draw in the details. I think poo looks like soft-serve ice cream.
Step 4 — Ink your poo. And add a handful of flies.
Step 5 — Finally, give your poo some ‘International Roast’ color.
I think we can all agree that is a convincing poop. Finally, Dean recommends never comparing your work to that of anyone else.
“There are two things that get under the skin of new and old artists alike: we compare ourselves with other artists (who we think are better than us) and we have an image in our heads about what we want our drawing to look like. When what we’ve drawn doesn’t match that image we get frustrated,” he explains.
“There’s no magic fix. But I guarantee if you continue to practice your art and look back at what you were drawing in a years time you’ll see an improvement.”
(Lead Image: Provided by Dean Rankine)
Kassia is the Editor of AWOL, and a straight-up travel addict. She was born without a sense of direction, yet an intense desire to explore the world. As such, she's lost 90% of the time but she's learned to roll with it. You can catch her latest adventures on Instagram @probably_kassia.