The art of art, if you will, or more particularly the art of cartooning lies in the removal of all unnecessary and extraneous description till what you have left is the essence of what is needed to visually express the necessary information. Feel free to disagree, this might just be me!
Part of my journey through the landscape of personal creativity was the desire to free myself from the tyranny of movement lines!
I know, there’s nothing inherently wrong with movement lines, they serve a valuable purpose; indicating direction, motion, action and speed for example. I appreciate some artists have even incorporated them as an integral part of their illustrative style; I’m thinking Kirby or nearly every Manga artist. But for me I found they were easily overused and became an excuse for not developing and imbuing my figures with their own natural energy and dynamism, rather I would rely on a flurry of lines to mask the obvious lack of movement in my characters!
I guess it’s not dissimilar to clumsily putting the words “I feel sad” onto a face that you suspect isn’t adequately expressing that emotion already. I’m sure I’ve read screen-writing books about this sort of thing – don’t say it, show it.
I would think to myself, ‘If I can draw figures with sufficient kineticism I can do away with movement lines forever!’ Well, maybe my reliance on them, at least. I’d seen others do it: Jaime Hernandez, Adam Hughes, Grzegorz Rosiński, I’m sure you can think of others.
Okay, I admit (as I did previously in paragraph three) movement lines are useful, and having them in your toolbox is very handy. The key word here is ‘reliance’.
They still make an appearance in my artwork from time to time, but nowadays I’m in charge! Oh yes, and their inclusion is purely from necessity rather than trying to cover up my own lack of ability! My lack of ability is now on display for all to see.
Ha ha, I joke, of course (sort of).