I’m not very good at drawing objects that require exact curves and proportions in order to look correct. So when I came up with idea of having a girl playing a cello for an image, I knew that drawing a cello freehand was going to present a problem. I would certainly get something that resembled a cello, but not something that looked exact.
So of course I decided to take a shortcut. Sure, it would have been better to work at it until I drew a good cello, but I figured this would probably be the only time in my life I would need to draw one, so there was no harm in doing what I ended up doing.
There’s an animation term called “rotoscoping” which is essentially taking a film of a human being doing something – running, dancing, whatever – and then tracing their movements to create the cartoon. That’s kind of what I did. I did a google search for “girl playing cello” and found several fetching results – apparently, there’s an interest in scantily clad women playing this particular instrument in come hither poses.
The picture I settled on was this one:
And I should probably give a little background on her since she was kind enough to let me use her picture with no permission whatsoever. Her name is Layne McNish and she plays the cello (duh). She’s a freelance cellist in New York City. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Anyway, so what I did was blow up the picture to the size that I was intending to draw. I printed it off and traced just the cello. Then I drew Katie (the girl in the cartoon) around it, then did a quick blue pencil sketch over it and inked it. Here is the final:
The proportions were a little difficult to handle. I faced the challenge of making the cello look like a cello yet having it be wielded by someone who did not have regular human proportions. Yet I had to make sure that, relative to the body, the cello didn’t look small enough to be a viola or large enough to be a contrabass, all while acknowledging the fact that Katie’s head was always going to be larger than a normal human’s.
I am very pleased with the final product, especially the pose. I copied the arm and hand position from other pictures of cello players I found online and did the legs to resemble a younger girl’s posture. It really captures the persona of Katie that emerged as I created her character through several drawings – involved, bubbly, yet a little gangly.