BIG UPDATE FOLKS:
Because I contacted Stephen about this article and asked his permission to use the photos in this article, I got a great e-mail response from him. Here is what he says:
“Thanks so much. Just to let you know, because my programmer and I were excited about this, at midnight tonight till Sunday (Oct. 28th), we are offering the apps at a special for $5.99!”
So go to iTunes and Apple’s App store and get both apps for half off the regular price!
One of the cool things about having an artist alley table at a convention is that every once in a while, someone will come up to you, strike a conversation with you and, during that conversation, will recommend something for you to check out that you never heard of before.
That’s what happened to me when I was a guest at Katsucon earlier this year. Katsucon is one of the largest anime conventions in the Washington, DC area and while I was there, I met Jim MacQuarrie. Jim liked my art style and commented that it reminded him a little bit of Stephen Silver. I took that as a huge compliment as Stephen is the character designer behind Kim Possible and has influenced some of my cartooning style – especially when it comes to drawing the female characters in Capes & Babes.
But this article isn’t about meeting Jim or about my particular cartooning influences. Instead, it’s about two specific iPad apps that Jim recommended to me that were created by Stephen. The apps are called Posebook (male) and Posebook (female).
I thought it might be fun to do a review of these two apps and, who knows, you might fun them to be just as beneficial as I did once I downloaded them and started exploring both apps.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS POSEBOOK?
Posebook is, essentially, a drawing and resource guide for all kinds of artists but since Stephen is an animator, much of the content is geared towards cartoonists, animators and caricaturists. Each app (male and female) features models dressed in a wide variety of costumes and outfits such as pirates, 1930s gangsters and cave men and women – to name just a few.
Each costume theme (pirates, for example), consists of a single model posing in that outfit in a wide variety of positions. In essence, it’s like your own personal digital version of a life drawing studio. And, for every pose, you can view the models in a 360 degree rotation. This is extremely beneficial if you ever needed to draw a 1930s gangster, holding a tommy gun and shooting at police officers but from a back view.
Likewise, how many times have you searched Google Images for a body pose and found exactly what you were looking for except that the photo was facing the wrong way? This has happened to me too many times to count. Well, in Posebook, if you find a pose you like but the model is facing the wrong way, with just a simple click of a button, you can flip the pose to face the other direction.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN USE POSEBOOK?
Going back to Google Images for a moment… my iMac sits directly beside my drawing table. In the past, if I had to use a Google Image reference, I had to turn my iMac sideway so it faced my drawing table and I would have to increase the zoom settings in Firefox so I could get a larger view of my reference material. With the Posebook app, I don’t need to do any of those things.
If I find a pose I like in Posebook, I can easily enlarge any pose I want without losing any details or definitions. I can zoom in on the Tommy gun the gangster is holding and clearly see all the details of the gun, the gangster’s outfit or anything else I want. And because the iPad is much smaller than my iMac, I can also easily position it either on my drafting table (if it’s flat) or right next to my drawing surface. I don’t need to re-position my computer monitor any more.
LIFE DRAWING EXERCISES WITH A CLICK OF A BUTTON
In life drawing classes, one of the exercises that is very popular with instructors is gesture drawing. With gesture drawing, the instructor will tell the life model to move in a different pose after a certain period of time. Usually it is in increments of 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds and so on. The idea is for the artist to capture the just the essence of a pose – hence the title “gesture drawing”.
Well, in Posebook there is a feature for that as well. You can select a certain time interval and practice your gesture drawing. This is another great little feature of the app that will help any artist to improve their craft.
Posebook also features lots of videos demonstrating cartooning techniques from Stephen. In addition to the videos, each set of theme models (cave man, wizard, gangster, etc.) features some drawing samples from other artists that demonstrate creative ways one can use the models and their imagination to create anything their minds can come up with.
For example, in the 1930s gangster theme, you might find an artist that took a particular gangster pose and turned the gangster into a huge rhinoceros decked out in the same zoot suit the gangster was wearing. You might find a kangaroo dressed as a wizard holding a staff. Or there might be an alien wearing a caveman loin cloth and holding a huge club.
The point of these illustrations and sketches is to show you how different artists can utilize the wide variety of poses to come up with anything their creative minds will allow. The poses are only there as reference and a guide. It’s what and how you utilize them that will make your artwork unique.
HANDS, HANDS AND MORE HANDS
Many artists will tell you that one of the hardest things to draw are hands – whether you’re drawing them realistically or on a highly stylized cartoon fashion. Well, Posebook has a whole section devoted to… yup, you guessed it – just hands.
The hands are pointing, clinching, grabbing, holding… pretty much anything a hand can do. And, just like the models, you can flip, rotate and enlarge each hand reference as well. Again, this is another invaluable asset for any cartoonists or illustrator.
THERE LOTS MORE TOO
These are just some of my favorite features of Posebook. There’s lots of other fun and informative stuff I haven’t mentioned yet. To find out a lot more about the app, the best thing to do is go to the Posebook website and read about all the other features I haven’t mentioned yet.
IT’S NOT FREE BUT STILL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
I’m sure by now you’ve probably guessed that I’m a big fan of Posebook but unfortunately there are two pretty big drawbacks that I think people should be aware of before they decide to get the Posebook app.
First, the Posebook is separated in to two different apps – a male version and a female version. At first glance, that might not seem like such a big thing – after all, by having a different app for each gender, it keeps things neat and separated. Unfortunately, because they are two separate apps, that means you have to purchase and download each one which leads into the second big drawback – the price.
As great as Posebook is – and as beneficial as it can be for lots of artists – each app isn’t free. Each version costs $9.99 so that means, if you want to get the male and female apps, that will be $20 right there. Now, for me, that wasn’t such a big deal because I usually get a lot of iTunes gift cards and save them up so I can get apps like PoseBook.
I also originally only downloaded the female version because that’s what I wanted to improve most on – drawing cartoon women. But as soon as I started using it, I quickly got addicted to it and made the decision to get the male companion app as well.
For me though, each version of the app is absolutely filled with content that makes each one well worth the $9.99 tag. And I highly recommend getting both – if you can afford to do so. You certainly don’t NEED to get both but if you do, I just wanted to make you all aware what the total cost of each version will be.
But again, if you take advantage of the offer I mentioned at the top of the article, you can get both apps for $5.99 until Sunday, October 28th!
Also, according to the Posebook website, here is the following information for Android users:
The PoseBook apps support devices with Android OS 2.2 or higher, and devices with an ARMv7 processor or higher, as well as the Kindle Fire (currently no Nook support). Please check online to find out which processor your Android Device has before purchasing the app for your Android device. We’ve found the following page that displays ARMv7 Android devices in green, with ARMv6 devices in red, to be useful.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you would like to know more about Jim MacQuarrie, you can friend him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimMacQ?ref=ts&fref=ts. If you have any interest in archery, Jim also teaches archery and has written several blogs about archery in the movies – including The Avengers (Hawkeye) and Brave.
If you would like to know more about Stephen Silver or the Posebook app, you can click on any of the links below to find out more about him, his work and his Posebook app: