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Why Many of These ‘Among Us’-Based Drawing Tutorials Actually Work

It must be said.

Among Us. Image: innersloth.

On October 17, I shared this wonderful drawing tutorial by Tawainese artist Evenly Evi in which they used the crewmate design from the mega-popular cross-platform mystery game Among Us as a reference for drawing water. You’d think the story was over, but this original tweet has spawned another Among Us meme formats (as if we needed more) and a bevy of tutorials using Evi’s thought process. Many of them work and are being used as guides for animation, FX, and illustration. This is more than a cheeky trick—it gets at the root of the building blocks of drawing.

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This includes the always helpful hand tutorials!

This trend even spawned a counter meme where you draw something complicated first and then break it down into shapes. It almost replicates the Cubism movement made famous by Pablo Picasso, George Braque, and Paul Cézanne. They and many others sought to deconstruct a scene (like a still life or landscape) into abstracted and fragmented parts. The main difference is that the crewmate is still super recognizable and abstract from the original image, and not a full abstraction.

Why does this work?

Evi’s take wasn’t likely the first time someone used the crewmate shape for the basis of an unrelated final illustration, but definitely the first time it went mini-viral online between overlapping communities. Besides the meme, their post took off because it actually works and is a common practice in art. When one takes a Drawing I class, you draw still lifes (basically a collection of objects usually on a table) with paper and charcoal. Here you look at this collection of objects tightly packed and find the basic shapes to draw. Crewmates are already simple shapes — an oval and a rounded rectangle.

Even if you think back to classic activity books, they would feature one of two types of drawing pages that show you how to draw people/animals. The grid system was used as an introduction to how to scale up a drawing by hand, but the step-by-step system broke down and concentrated on shape. Character designers (in addition to many, many other types of artists) sometimes will start with rough shapes for an overall impression of something before adding details.

All in all, this works because even though the crewmate is silly and the Among Us memes some people might find stale, the basic method of extrapolating basic shapes and building up art is a foundational part of a drawing. This trend almost feels inevitable. There’s been a running meme of people seeing the Among Us shape everywhere. Except for those promoting hateful conspiracy theories (△), breaking down basic shapes and seeing them everywhere is helpful to art/design, and learning.

(via Twitter, feature image: innersloth)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.

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