It’s been great going to your school and showing you a bit about my work and how to create characters!
So here’s what we talked about in the first week.
To start a character, it’s best knowing what you want to draw first. Do you want to draw a pirate? An Alien? A superhero?
Check that on google, you can add “character design” after your search term to see what other people done. There’s billions of ways to draw a pirate, and your drawing will be UNIQUE, because you’re the only one able to do it the way you do!
That first part is important, we call that “Research” and every artists, illustrators, animations studios do that.
Everybody knows how to draw these simple shapes, it’s all you need to make super cool characters!
It’s the way you put these shapes together that matters, if you draw a big circle and a small one on top of it, it quickly looks like a body and a head doesn’t it?
Combine as much as you like, play with them, modify the size or stretch them.
Also, Shapes tend to give different emotions, let’s categorize them.
ROUND SHAPES are usually for cute characters, look at them all, aren’t they nice?!
Next time you watch a cartoon or an animation movie, look at the shapes the characters are made of and what you think of them, if they’re nice or not. They’re usually pretty round.
Let me show you a breakdown of the shapes
Did you notice, often small details support the general shape idea. Like buttons on Olaf, Mickey or on the scout boy. Or glasses on the orange monster. Think about what details you can use too!
Next, SQUARE SHAPES.
If you build your character on this shape, it will look strong and steady.
Notice also how small details support the general shape too. Like the old man’s glasses. Look also at their fingers, they’re really squary ones (most of them) or even the pattern on Ralph’s shirt.
Not all details have to support the general shape, you can balance and add rounded or triangular shapes in too
Here’s the breakdown
Now let’s check the triangular shapes.
Any Disney Villains look mostly made of triangles. Not all of them but if you want to make something scary, it’s best going for the triangles.
Triangle gives an impression of being sharp as a knife, also can give an impression of being fast.
Let’s break this down and notice also how small details can reinforce the idea. Spikes on batman gloves. Or all the triangular details in the hunter’s clothes (middle top)
A good way to start characters is also to work on the silhouettes.
Silhouettes are what characters are if we paint them all in black!
If you have a good silhouette for your character, it will be readable (meaning you can understand the action or the pose the character is in) and also you can recognise the traits (what makes them special)
Just check these silhouettes, I’m sure you can recognise them all!
Here’s some characters I’ve done, showing you how they look like (rough) the breakdown of the shapes I’ve used, and the silhouette.
A fun exercise would be to take a black pen and do lots of silhouettes, you’d be surprised by some of them!
It might not look as good as you want at first, it’s always like that, but don’t worry, after a while you’ll see nice silhouettes that you can build you character on.
Also it’s great to do that, that way you don’t focus on details.
You can build details on top of it after!
Look on the design on the left, it’s all pretty boring isn’t it? It’s too regular, too normal.
Exaggerate the shapes and where you put the eyes, nose and mouth on different place.
Here’s some examples of faces you can do from same shape.
Before we start the week 2
If you want to have the latest news about future published books but also receive freebies, you can subscribe to my newsletter (I’m sending it every few months)
About characters designs,there’s one game that I know you all know (and certainly like) is….drumrolls….FORTNITE!
So this week I’ve decided we’d do a step by step of “The Ice King”
(I might do some more step by step soon.)
Click on them to have the full step by step.
I wanted to draw an entire comics to explain what I’ve explained to you last time at school. But if I’d do, it would take me months.
But you know who’s done this?
Scott McCloud has done exactly that, I’ve read these two books years and years ago and they’re helpful, and really explains EVERYTHING
But also I’ve heard a lot of good things about that book too
Here’s some tips that I wanted to share with you if you want to create your own comics!
Let’s start with composition of pages. You can do different things that will either make your comic more active or slowing it down.
Below for instance, comics tend to be more like the left page. And comic strips tend to follow that rythm of squary frames.
On the left, I personally find, it’s more attractive and engaging. And on the right it makes things a bit more slower and feels more static.
You can create frames that go out of the page (filling up a part or all the page!) in publishing terms we call that “bleed” it’s when we leave the artworks going outside the frame of the page so that there’s a margin when they cut it after printing. (because when printing, it’s not like home printing, Offset printing they print that on big pieces of paper that they cut in the right size after.)
Below, I find that’s really well used. Because in the story they’re in the dark, instead of framing it with white, they applied black bleeding behind the frames. Really clever! And the last frame is full bleed, that immerse us better into the scene.
To make your page more active, if there’s some actions/fast pace moments in your story, you could stack the frames like below. Because our eyes don’t need to go through that white space between frames called “ellipsis” which is the time/what happens in the story between the frames we actually see, then the moments seem to follow and be quick and active.
You can also do some elements that go out of the frames. Like below with the pizza.
An other thing, for the top left frame, notice that they’ve changed the colour of the outline for the monster, you can do that if you want your elements in black outline to stand out.
Below, it’s almost like transforming your comic to an animation storyboard!
If you use a constant and steady background, like if you would chose an angle with a camera and wouldn’t move at all. It then gives the impression of the moment being an animation!
I have to say it’s a lot easier to do this on a computer as you can copy paste the same drawing and just add some other things on top.
I’ll explain you at the end, which free software/equipment you could use to start making your comics on the computer!
Don’t forget an important part of comics it’s sound!
Of course we can’t hear the sound but you can still show it, via the onomatopoeia (which is a transcription of what a sound sounds like.) and look at this page, they’ve put a lot in there! you can be creative also with the font that you create or use. You can find so many good ones on dafont.
REST OF LESSON, COMING SOON
Would be great to hear from you, have your feedback about what you liked and/or didn’t like in these few lessons!
Or what you wish you could learn ( it would be helpful as I’m planning on doing “How to draw” books)