Cherubs, Star Wars
And the BB-8 Droid
At first, it was a real challenge to draw cherubs. But thanks to BB-8, the Star Wars droid that was sooooo cute, I figured out all the tricks to reproduce the effect.
It's obvious that they're both just toddlers! They're round and pudgy. Because they haven't gotten a sense of balance yet, they always seem like they're about to fall over. They wobble and wave their arms trying to stay upright. And once you abandon the idea that they stand erect, you can show they wobble, even in still images. Below, you know that BB-8 has to look up at everyone, just like a toddler.
Here's how the designers did it. BB-8 is rarely seen with his “head” centered over his body. Even in still photos, he seems about to tip over. It's because all the big circular markings on his body never line up either horizontally or vertically! And the antennas on his head exaggerate that diagonal appearance. It all adds up to that sense of being off kilter.
When you get rid of the orange circles that were never level to begin with, his body is just a ball, so it's impossible to fall over!
In the images above, notice how far his “head” is tilted to look down. He doesn’t have a neck to bend, so his whole body looks off balance as he observes the world around him. But it's an illusion caused by the head shape not being directly at the top of the body. In the video, when he rushes forward, his head first leans forward to help him propel himself. Eventually, it moves forward down by his “stomach” and his “body” seems to wobble from side to side as he races along. And when he screeches to a stop, his "head" gets thrown so far back that it will almost hit the ground behind him. Except his body is a ball, and balls don’t wobble, they only roll.
Now check out the Cherub and the Surfer Dude design. On the front of the surfboard, the little Angel teeters as the board skims through the waves. His pudgy little arms with red floaties struggle to help him hang on, and his halo is threatening to blow away int the wind. I upped the cute factor by letting his belly button stick out over his sagging jams. It’s an innie!
If you're an artist and you love to draw children, here's a tip. By about three years old, kids stand up straight and don't have to wave their arms at their sides to keep their balance. So if you love doing annual portraits of the little ones in your life, you've got a new tool in your kit!
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