Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Uhh... Whoops?!!!

So I did probably my favorite caricature of myself 2 or 3 months ago, which I posted on here not so long ago. I was flipping through channels yesterday and the Disney Channel show "Phineas and Ferb" was on. Imagine my surprise when I immediately realized that Phineas, the main character, had a VERY similar look to my drawing. Damn! Did I subconsciously have Phineas in the back of my mind as I worked out this self-caricature??! I think it's very possible. Even though I had never seen more than a few minutes of the show before (if at all) and had maybe seen a commercial or picture or 2 of him, he does have a pretty distinctive look about 'im. Here's a photo of my caricature, a screen shot/promotional image of the show and Phineas' head superimposed over my caricature to best show the similarities. I just mirror-reversed and rotated Phineas' head to match up better with mine:

There are some obvious similarities that most, if not all, of you will pick up right away:
-the overall triangle shape to the head
-the straight line running from the prominent nose straight back to the small, tapering cranium
-the eyes/eyebrows and browridges breaking up the monotony of that straight line, one eye/eyebrow on each side of the line
-the spiky hair shooting off from the end of the squared-off cranium
-the inward curving line running from the back of the head down to the insignificant neck, that line broken only by an ear
-the birthmarks on the cranium (his 3 vs. my 1)
-the striped shirt (not seen in my caricature, but a known staple of my fashion or lack thereof)
-the happy demeanor
-the damn-good-looking-ness

I remember this drawing evolving as I lightly sketched it out. The first epiphany I had was to have the nose head back into the cranium, broken only by the brow ridges. I then sketched out a triangle shape to use as the basis for the head shape, a shape that co-creator Dan Povenmire obviously used as the basis for Phineas when he first drew him. The next brilliant idea I had was to use a curve from the back of the head down to the neck. It all seemed so original and clever, yet I remember seeing this Phineas character last possibly a year or 2 ago and liking the simplicity of the shape of his head. I absolutely did not have this character consciously in mind when I drew my caricature, but it always seemed like it reminded me of something. One person suggested that it looked like the Pink Panther a couple months ago, and I assumed that was the answer. I can see a bit of the panther as well, but it must have been the shapes of Fineas that really influenced me from whoever knows how long ago I had last seen anything related to the show.

Oh well! You're not a hack if you don't know you're copying the artwork of someone else, right? Right??


Derek Edwards said...

I would chalk it up to coincidence. I think you got some nice shapes going on there. Trying to simply the head shape, and contrasting straight/curved lines are pretty standard design practice. Also, I'd think your brain not remembering interesting shapes and reinterpreting them would be a bad thing. All that being said, if you tell me not to think about pink elephants, I can't help but do it.

chris chUa! said...

ehh...I'm not seeing it. your case is too much a stretch, heh. the hair and head is the only real similarity and there's nothing unique about that that others wouldn't do as well. the rest of it, are really different features and for someone to translate that in that way really isn't even using the original source correctly. the way you are explaining it just shows that you are using the same good design principles that other good designers use. even if you studied it's design and liked it and used it's principles, I wouldn't really consider that stealing.

but I'm the same way, I never directly copy other's artwork or whatever and hate when I see artist's swipe other artwork/unique ideas and if I were to think that someone might think I did, I'd prolly point it out too.

chris chUa! said...

hmm...to clarify-- the way you broke up the nose and mouth as opposed to phineas' which is more a beak, I feel that it's not similar anymore really.

Eric Goodwin said...

Thanks, Derek. You make some good points. And I know what you mean- I can stand the sight of worms and look at microscopic germs, but technicolor pachyderms is really too much for me!

Eric Goodwin said...

Hey Chua. I guess I was disappointed mostly because the whole head shape idea was what I was most proud of in this drawing because it seemed so DIFFERENT. If I had decided to purposefully draw a cross between Phineas and myself for a self-caricature, it probably would have been nearly identical to what I did when I thought I was doing something unique. Yes, the features themselves are all pretty different from those of Phineas; it's more about their relationships to each other that I'm talking about.

With that being said, I definitely was not looking at a drawing of Phineas when I drew my drawing, I really can't remember the last time I had seen anything related to the show, and I have never drawn Phineas, so I guess it's not too bad.

Aaronphilby said...

I know how that goes. I think its really good to have a good cartoon vocabulary in your head and use that for caricature. And also the other way around by which I mean use observation to create a simplified cartoon. I think its cool that you noticed the similar structure. His character design came from his observation of someone with a similar thing going on with his head as you probably. That's neat. Cartoons, no matter how simple come from reality in some way. Nothing's just made up. I'm not even sure it could be made up if we tried.

Eric Goodwin said...

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, Aaron. I've been trying to expand my cartoon vocabulary over the past half-year, especially when it comes to bodies.

Aaronphilby said...

Cool. Your bodies are friggin gravy on thanksgiving morning.

Eric Goodwin said...

LOL! Thanks, that's a helluva compliment. And funny you should mention it, cause I normally have a nice bowl of cereal and gravy on Thanksgiving morning, yet my family always seems to give me a weird, disgusted look. I always tell them that Thanksgiving is all about the gravy; everything else is just gravy.