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! ^_^


Ranebows said...

hey i love your blog its sooo awsome!!! i have a blog to u should check it out!!! its:

plzzz check it out and if u have a blog roll can i be on it?

Julián Höek said...

hey sherm! thanks a lot again!
i'll print all these sheets to use them for reference and to practice. it's really great what you are doing shearing you knolage and also you taste for good comics!
keep up the good work!

you pal

Nate said...

fantastic. very clear and FUN.

more of the same PLEASE!

Rodrigo said...

Excellent posts, sir.

Much much appreciated.

kris.w said...

Sherm, these are great posts!

i've actually had these sheets for sometime (as i was SUPER fortunate to have interned on SpongeBob) and i can't tell you how handy they've been.

i can't wait to read more, and i REALLY can't wait until your book comes out. i'm an aspiring board artist who's done some stuff, but not nearly enough to land a solid gig (very frustrating). so, these posts of yours are just what i need to keep learning on my own.

thanks and keep posting please!

Unknown said...

Wow, thank you so much for these, they really help! I been wanting to make a comic strip lately, and these tips really help bring depth and movement, even to the most simple of characters!

Anonymous said...

These are awesome Sherm!

I'm in the early stages of putting a storyboard portfolio together and I can't tell you how helpful these are.

Thanks for posting them!

Tanya said...

Again, great tips here. I really appreciate posts like this. :D

warren said...

Thanks for the refresher!

Love your shtuff & taste in shtuff!


DUDE! I have to agree with everyone by saying THIS IS THE BEST BLOG EVER :D and I will add to that by saying I want your job lol :)
But seriously I do want to break into the animation business by storyboarding for nickelodeon and cartoon network original shows, and recentally I've been thinking about it heaps not knowing what to do until college and then i saw this blogspot and was like SCORE!!!
but I have a question, should I also do heaps of still life drawing if you know what I mean, to get my skills up and understand how things function and what thing is drawn what way n stuff like that? Coz I need to get heaps better at sketching!

P.S sorry about the long comment!

David said...

More gold ! Thanks for sharing.

I'm passing these along to my students, too.


grantbond said...

awesome stuff!

PlayWatchCritique said...

Actually my I was wondering if you are still selling you DVD on storyboarding from Entertainment Art and if so where can I get a copy

Sherm said...

Hi Gerin...thanks for asking about the Storyboarding DVD. The last two runs sold out completely and the new batch of DVD's should arrive from the manufacturer pretty soon. If you'd like me to send you an email when they're ready, just contact me at: sherm (at) or fill out the survey form at

Talk to you soon! --sherm

Bob Flynn said...

Hi there, Sherm! I actually stumbled upon your page twice now. First via John K's blog, and secondly after pouring through SpongeBob comics when noticed your name coming up over and over and over...

These tips are fanastic! I'm actually working with the gang over at NickMag on some SponeBob comics as we speak. I landed a 2-pager in the upcoming December issue, and I'm currently working on more scripts and pitches.

While these are perfectly tailored to SpongeBob, the reach couldn't be more expansive. I'm always trying to push energy into my drawings. The principles you've laid out here are universal across cartooning, especially when so much of what you see out there is incredibly stiff.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts in such an easy to understand presentation! I'll be keeping these sheets handy as I draw more SpongeBob.

Oh, and fantastic blog! I'll be checking back.


Sherm said...

Hi Bob...nice to meet you! I just took a look at your blog and it is a real treat! Love your cartoon stylings!

Congrats on breaking into the Nick Mag SpongeBob comics's great to be able to write and draw comics with such fun characters and settings. The editorial crew at Nick is also ther best I've ever dealt with.

Thanks for the nice feedback on the blog posts...I'm really glad to hear that folks are diggin' it --makes it all woth while ^_^

readers: take a look at Bob Flynn's blog at --I just started looking through the goodies there, and it looks sweet!

Anonymous said...

hi! thanks so much for the Spongebob posts. I'm learning how to draw for comics and the tipsheets are very helpful. thanks again! keep on blogging!

Howsimplylovely said...

AHH! You are amazing.
I'm the biggest SpongeBob fanatic.
Great tips! Thanks!

Chetan Trivedi said...

I know i am quite late, but this stuff is really cool.
Can we have more on poses pls?
Thanx alot!

brittani said...

thank you so so much...drawing cartoons, ESPECIALLY Spongebob and the gang have always been so tough for me because I never knew how to make him look more expressive. You're so awesome to take the time out of your schedule to make these!

do you mind elaborating on background staging for different background and character angles? For instance, are there any simple shortcuts to drawing perspective in a frame?

I would appreciate the help so, so much. Thank you for these pages once again!