BuzzFeed’s Draw-Off is a light-hearted drawing competition show where two artists sit face-to-face and compete in a series of drawing challenges – including drawing famous characters from memory. Sounds easy, right?
“We see these characters every day in comics, in TV shows, and in memes,” says Draw-Off producer and cartoonist Kevin McShane. “And yet, their details are incredibly hard to remember without a reference.”
Take a recent episode where six BuzzFeed cartoonists and animators try to draw Pixar characters from memory.
McShane and animator Jackie Lee struggle with rendering Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear. Both remember the character’s overall shape and costume, but stumble remembering specific details like Buzz’s wings, helmet, and decals. The results evoke the character’s essence, but look slightly… off.
“We like to joke that our versions are part of ‘BuzzFeed’s Off-Brand Character Universe,'” says McShane.
To create their off-brand masterpieces, the cast of Draw-Off draw on dueling Wacom Cintiq Pro 24s with accompanying Ergo Stands. They all rave about the display’s quality. “I don’t know what they did to the glass on top,” says animator Brent Sievers in a recent episode, “but it feels a lot more premium than other tablets I’ve drawn on. It’s got a texture to it. It feels like you’re drawing on a more natural surface – like paper.”
The Cintiqs proved so popular with the cast that McShane and Lee recorded an unorthodox unboxing video as they set up the displays. “We’d never made an unboxing video before,” McShane said. “We had no idea what we were doing.”
Upcoming episodes of Draw-Off feature seasoned artists, animators, and other famous Wacom users. Including Nickelodeon veteran Butch Hartman, who finds himself struggling to draw a certain character from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away – a film he’s never seen. What could possibly go wrong?
Drawing SpongeBob Memes
Animator Vs. Cartoonist Draw NickToons From Memory (featuring. Butch Hartman)
Find out on BuzzFeed’s main YouTube channel, where new episodes of Draw-Off are released (almost) weekly.