More Spongebob Drawing Tips: Push Those Poses and Avoid Flat Staging

For those of you who enjoyed the first batch of SpongeBob Drawing Tips, here is the second half of the handouts I created a few years ago for the drawing and staging class at Nickelodeon. Thanks to Daniel, "datter," Helmy and Julian for their comments on the last post!
click on any of the images below to see
a nice BIG high-resolution page of SpongeBob Drawing Tips

SpongeBob Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen - How to Draw Lively Poses - Life and movement have angles and curves

SpongeBob Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen - Push and exaggerate your poses

Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen - Spongebob running - push the poses

click on any of the images below to see
a nice BIG high-resolution page of SpongeBob Drawing Tips

SpongeBob Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen - Draw through the form to emphasize roundness and depth

Background Staging and Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen  - Use asymmetry angles and depth to draw well-staged backgrounds for your characters and scenes

SpongeBob Drawing Tips by Sherm Cohen - Background Staging: Avoid Flatness - use angles and overlapping objects to create depth

if you missed the first post in this series, you can find it HERE

How to Draw SpongeBob Tip Sheets

David Nethery at
and datter at both pointed out what I should have mentioned at the beginning of the first post: These drawing tips go way beyond SpongeBob...the reason I'm posting them here is that these principles can be applied to all kinds of different drawing and staging applications.
I certainly didn't come up with this stuff on my's really a distillation of many of the things other people (Joe Kubert, Bob Camp, Bill Wray, Tuck Tucker, Jay Lender, Larry Leichliter, Dan Povenmire, Derek Drymon, Steve Hillenburg, etc.) taught me as I was learning how to draw comics and storyboards.
If you don't have a mentor or teacher to help you out, just study as much Roy Crane, Harvey Kurtzman, Dan Gordon, Jack Kirby, Hank Ketcham, Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Billy Wilder, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy as you can get your hands on. Read John K's blog and the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive blog every day (visit the Archive if you're in Southern California! ).

Read comics. Watch cartoons and classic movies. Read 'em and watch 'em over and over until you can see through the plot and into the thinking and mechanics and construction of the work.

Don't forget to have fun along the way!
Spongebob Guide to Lively Poses by Sherm Cohen
I'd love to hear your comments on these posts...and if there's something you'd like to see expanded on or developed further, just let me know! Enjoy and use and pass-em-on! ^_^

How to Draw Lively Poses - SpongeBob Tip Sheets

These SpongeBob drawing tips were prepared for a class at Nickelodeon in 2005. If you click on any of the images below, you'll see a really HUGE high-resolution version that shows all the details!
On Silhouettes and Clarity
drawing tips 01 Silhouette SpongeBob
One of the big problems with animation studio model sheets is that the characters are invariably standing in completely stiff poses that make them look like they've been cheerfully impaled on a titanium rod.
To help the storyboard artists loosen up a bit, drawings are clipped out of the storyboards showcasing the best of the comedic and dynamic pose possibilities. Most of the artists tack those pose sheets up on the wall, but they soon become little more than wallpaper.
These tip sheets were created to encourage artists to break out of the horizontal and vertical stiffness of the SpongeBob model sheets, and to show how a little bit of movement and action and acting can make the cartoon characters come to life.
If you want to learn how to draw SpongeBob, or how to draw any cartoon characters with a little more zip, I hope these drawing tips will give you some ideas.

Drawing Characters with a strong Line of Action
How to draw SpongeBob cartooning tips 02 Line of Action Squidward

Acting is Movement

How to draw SpongeBob drawing_tips_03_Line-of-Action Plankton

CLICK on any of the images to
view a really BIG high-resolution version

The page below illustrates that characters should use their entire body to help act out the change in expression

How to draw SpongeBob drawing_tips_04_Line-of-Action Mr. Krabs

This page below illustrates stiff non-acting (top pose) vs. dynamic, full-body acting (bottom pose)

How to draw SpongeBob cartooning storyboard tips_05_Line-of-Action Patrick and SpongeBob - Patrick has bad breath

CLICK on any of the images
to view a really BIG high-res tip sheet

Acting with the entire body...
storyboard How to draw SpongeBob tips_06_Line-of-Action-Acting Squidward

If you'd like to see more in this series, please leave a comment below!
Update! Some very cool people left some very nice comments, so the next batch of SpongeBob Drawing Tips has just been posted HERE

More SpongeBob Drawing Tips

Spongebob Guide to Lively Poses by Sherm Cohen
Of course, I would still like to hear your comments on this series of posts, so please leave your two cents worth below ^_^

Comics Beyond Description

Headless hillbilly comics Babe by Boody Rogers

Go see for yourself at
Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine

How to Draw Cartoons the U.S. Army Way! WWII-era Cartooning Course

Learn how to draw cartoons the Army way! Cartoonist Mike Lynch has shared a rare cartooning book that he found on eBay...a how-to guide on cartooning prepared by the staff of Popular Mechanics, published for the Special Services Division A.S.F. and "For Use of U.S. Armed Forces Only!"
There are separate lessons on all the basic cartooning topics:

how to draw cartoon heads and faces from army booklet

How to Draw heads, faces, expressions, caricatures, proportions and clothes...

In the second of two posts, Mike shares the rest of the book, including lessons on how to draw cartoon girls, kids, animals, hands and feet.

The last few pages are devoted to composition, perspective, shading and drapery! It's quite an all-inclusive little masterpiece of cartooning education!

how to draw hands feet cartoons

Every page is drawn in a very bold and appealing old-timey cartoon style. Looks to me like the people that put this book together were artists that drew cartoon ads for matchbook covers and newspaper ads...they're all very bold and eye-catching, even at the dinkiest size!

The whole book is featured on two posts at the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog:

There's like 18 pages of wonderful cartoony stuff here! I highly recommend you check it out!

Hey Mike...thanks a lot
for posting these rare cartooning treats!