Animator vs. Cartoonist Draw Avatar TLA Characters From Memory • Draw-Off

published on July 2, 2020

– Hey, I'm Kevin

– And I'm Jess

– Hey, I'm Jason

– And I'm Brent

– Hi, I'm Katia

– Hi, I'm Penelope

– And today we're gonna be drawing

– "Avatar" characters

– From memory

– Not the blue people

– I've never seen "Avatar"

– Nor have I

– Wait, you haven't seen it either?

How are we supposed to do this?

– With our guts and our will

(upbeat music)

– So, I'm only half way
through the first season

And so I hope we get a
character that I actually know

(Jess gasps)

– [Announcer] Today,
you'll be drawing Katara

– Okay Okay, good
– Yay!

– Good, good, good

I know Katara
– Whew!

– I know Katara, okay

– [Announcer] Today,
you'll be drawing Zuko

– Wow! (laughs)

– I did it, I did it

– [Announcer] Today,
you'll be drawing Aang

– Okay

– Okay, that's the one with the arrow?

I'm sorry "Avatar" stans

I am truly sorry for what I'm

about to put you through (laughs)

'Cause okay, I've seen the memes

So the memes are like, I know
that there's like bending

of different elements, right?

So you have like an airbender,
a firebender, a waterbender,

and uh earthbender?

– Yeah, that's what I think

I know he's got an arrow on his head

(Katia laughs)

I'm not even sure if he wears pants

– So, are you rewatching this show, Brent?

– Yes, I am right in the
middle of rewatching it

I have a roommate who has not seen it yet

So it's very important
that I educate them

It's like one of the best
shows, I think of all time

– I agree, it's one of the best shows

– What are your biggest influences?

– It is like a lot in anime

– Mmhmm

– And then definitely
like heavy into comics

It mostly started with my mom actually

– Okay

– Because she collected comic
books when she was a kid

– No kidding?

– Yeah

– That's a cool mom

– (laughs) Yeah, she's
pretty great (laughs)

– Penelope, tell me about your process

when you start a drawing, like
what are your initial steps?

– Um, let's see, It usually
starts out super messy

And everything's kinda squiggles

I learned that from my husband too

(Katia laughs)

– Um, I draw the spine and
some version of a skull

– Uh huh

– (laughs) And then from
there just kinda figure out

what my gesture is going to be

– You know like all these moves

were based off of like real martial arts

So it's like, am I drawing a fake

(laughs) martial arts
stance, you know? (laughs)

– Yeah, I know I'm like
trying to remember that,

and I'm like, I don't actually
know the stances very well

– Yeah

– I'm trying to figure out her hair

– So she's got the, she's
got like these hair dealies

– Oh, right

– And that's like the joke
that even her brother makes

Is like the hair dealies

– The uh, like the loops?
– He calls 'em dealies

– The loop things?

– Yeah, like the little hair loops

– Yeah

– Like isn't that even (laughs)

It's a part of his culture too

– Yeah

– How does he not know what
the word is for it? (laughs)

– Usually at this point,
I'll flip my canvas

Um, just so that I can see

what kind of problems I'm
having with my figure

– Oh, that's so smart

Is it 'cause it gives you

a different perspective on your drawing?

– Yeah, it does, it
helps me with the volume

So like when you're drawing
one way and you think,

"You know everything looks cool

"and everything look all right"

Once you flip it, and
it looks real busted,

then it's like, "Oh, something's wrong"

(Katia laughs)

– So Jess, you are a storyboard artist

for Marvel and other
properties, is that correct?

– Mmhmm, yeah

– So how did you get to that point?

You know, was your
family always supportive

of your career in the arts?

– I kind of knew what I wanted to do

very early on in my life

– Mmhmm

– My grandad actually,
he was kinda the one

that kept trying to curb my
enthusiasm, kind of a deal

– Right

– But he was one of those guys

that really wanted me to get into science

– Sure

– Like the joke was every
time I asked or said like,

"Oh, I'm gonna be a,
I'm gonna be a singer,

"I'm gonna be a dancer,
I'm gonna be an artist

"I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do that"

He'd always tack on astronaut at the end

(both laugh)

"So you be a singing,
dancing, acting astronaut"

– Right

– "Astronaut's the important part, Jess"

I'm like, "Okay!"

It was a case where like I
100% had to stand my ground

And I was like, "Papa,
I'm going to art school

"I'm going to be an artist

"I'm going to make this my life,

"and this is what it's gonna be"

And then I like hung
up the phone (laughs)

– Whoa

– And it was maybe a week later,

I get a phone call from
my grandad and he's like,

"You know Jessie, I've
seen so much animation

"in commercials lately, is that like 2D?

"Like that's what you do?"

(Kevin laughs)

And I'm like, "Yeah Papa,
that's a bunch of stuff"

And so now I get calls
from him all the time

being like, "You know I
just ran into this lady

"from Dreamworks, and I wanted
to show her your stuff"

Like he is, he is my
best promotion (laughs)

– That's amazing, that's great

That's like a complete 180

– Yeah
– That's so cool

– I actually know what Zuko's
hair represents in the show

You know what his hair is for,
like why he has it that way?

– No

– So Zuko, on his head is
bald because he's disgraced

He's a disgraced prince,
so he had to leave

the Fire Nation to go hunt the Avatar,

but he's got a ponytail,

because that's like a sign
of Fire Nation royalty,

so that's why that's the
only hair he has left

is his little like reminder of his past

– So I am inking, and I don't remember

what the bottom of her
like tunic looks like

– It's almost like a gi

– Right

– Like a Japanese robe kinda thing

– Right, right

– Um and I can't remember

how she keeps it together
– Does she have

like a flap down the middle,
do you know what I mean?

Is that, I don't know if
I'm saying that right

– Yeah, so it's kind of
like a panel down the front

– Great

– Down the front and the back

– Oh, excellent, oh and the back, okay

Oh cool, so all right,

for once I remembered something correctly

– Something that I'm doing
right now on my drawing

is I'm adding multiply layers

I find multiply layers to be
really helpful in adding levels

and making things darker
without making them muddy

And usually I use whatever
color that's predominant

in my painting, in this case blue

And with multiply it makes
it like natural shadow

that makes sense to the eye

– I remember when I first
saw it I was just like,

"Okay this is really cool"

And then like the really serious themes

taken so, like executed so well

Like it was basically a
show about ethnic cleansing

You know, like that's insane

– A kid's show, I know I keep watching it

I keep watching it, and I have
these moments every episode

where I'm like, "I'm
watching a kids show?"

Like, this was on Nickelodeon

– Yeah

– I am moving on to
color, how are you doing?

– I am moving to color as well

– What?

– Yeah, yeah

– Adding some swirling
patterns to really make sure

that it's obvious that he's bending air

But like, what if he's not an
airbender and like, I'm wrong

(Penelope laughs)

– And we're just making stuff up anyway?

– (laughs) Yeah

– What were like, so his clothes

were like different shades
of brownish red, right?

– Yeah, I kinda cheated 'cause
I am doing Agni Kai Zuko

Um so, he's topless, ha heh

– I drew him topless as well

– Oh okay, good

– Katara's colors are?

– She's dark skinned

– Yes

– 'Cause it's more, that's
the kind of clothing

she's wearing is like Eskimo
or Inuit style clothes

– Right

– Because she's in the Arctic

But because she's in all that snow

So this is my science
hobby, thank you Grandad

(Kevin laughs)

My science hobby coming back in

Because she's in all that snow,

technically she actually gets just as tan

as if you were at the equator,

because of all that light
reflecting off of all that snow

– Yeah
– Yeah

– And I had drawn this sort
of like ambiguous looking

like thing going through the air

I think I'm gonna make it into a dragon,

just 'cause I think
that's gonna look cooler

– Ah, you're so smart

– And like, the mythos kinda just

makes more sense to me that way

– Pens down

(stylus clacks)

– How do you think you did, Brent?

– Dude, this looks like Zuko

– Mmhmm

– I mean, minus some like
clothing, some accessories

You know, you can't get
much more Zuko than this

– I'm gonna go out on a limb,

and say this is the best drawing

I've ever done on "Draw Off"

– Wha? Okay, well Jason come on, man

– I think it looks cool

This is definitely leaning toward

what a board pose would look like for me

– Mine turned out, I'll
be a little honest,

mine turned out a little
more boyish than I wanted

– (laughs) Okay

– I think I did pretty well

I'm pretty happy with the final product

I wish I knew a little
more about this character,

but I'm gonna remedy that soon

How about you, how'd you do?

– I did as well as could be expected

– All right, let's send
them to each other

(dramatic music)

– (gasps) Whoa!
– Dope

– Yeah all right, oh man!

Oh you got his shoes so much better

Oh no
(Jason laughs)

You nailed those like Fire
Nation boots and stuff

That's really good

Oh look at his pants, I knew it

– Ah, I thought he was wearing shoes

– You got it, yeah

– He's not wearing any shoes

– He's not wearing any shoes

– You know, we should've known

'cause he does that leg sweep

Remember there's that one shot
where he like sweeps the leg?

– Yeah
– I should've, Aha

– So Brent, do you think

this is the best drawing
I've done on "Draw Off"?

– Uh, I would have to say your Minion

is still my top spot, Jason

– Yeah, yeah

– This one lands in the top
three, I'll give it that

– Wow! (laughs)

– Oh wow, yours is so good (laughs)

– I would totally date this guy

(both laugh)

– I love the flowy air thing

I totally get that he bends air

– Yay!
– I'm there with you

(both laugh)

– Hopefully he does

(both laugh)

I was completely off (laughs)

– Oh my goodness, I got
orange in there (laughs)

– I didn't have any orange, I
had all blue in my painting

I didn't get sort of
this cape shawl thing

– Oh, I missed that

– I definitely didn't
get the colors right

(Penelope laughs)

I didn't know he had staff

– I you know, I did not know that

That was not even close

– Cool!

– Whoa, holy!

– (laughs) This is awesome!

– Holy sh-(bleeps)

(both laugh)

Sorry, sorry

(both laugh)

– This is really cool

I love, I love how we both got stank face

Like that's really Katara though

– Oh yeah, I mean you
gotta do stank face, yeah

– You gotta do stank face with Katara

– Yeah, yeah

– She is about the business

– And the pose is so dynamic,

and like the arcs of everything

– Yeah

– It's just the arc of the hair and uh

Okay

– Okay, hey!
– All right

– Ah man, I forgot her mother's necklace

– (gasps) We both did!

– Dangit!
– Oh shoot

– That's so integral to her character!

– Oh no, oh no

– Oh no

– Well, I think you did an amazing job,

and I think your pose is so dynamic,

and I just want to know
what is the secret

– Well it's uh, it's five
years of Marvel kids

It's drawing superheroes

either jumping, fighting, or yelling

(laughs) for five straight years

That's how you get it (laughs)

– That's the secret to dynamic characters

Jumping, fighting, and yelling

– And yelling (laughs)

(upbeat music)

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