Title: Force character design from life drawing. Page number ISSUU Downloader is a free to use tool for downloading any book or publication on ISSUU. Force -dynamic life drawings for animators Michael D lesforgesdessalles.info It can be used for drawing, painting, sculpting, animation, architecture, graphic design, and all . pyramid symbolizes the character's actions instead of one drawing's forces. Design creative characters inspired by real people. Let Mike Mattesi show you how to use life drawing to discover the poses, features and personalities which.
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Force Character Design from Life Drawing. 37 Pages · · Force: the key to capturing life through drawing / Michael D. Mattesi. high first, then from. Force. This page intentionally left blank. Force Character Design from Life Drawing. By Michael D. Mattesi Visit me at: lesforgesdessalles.info lesforgesdessalles.info Force_ Character Design from Life lesforgesdessalles.info - Ebook download as PDF File lesforgesdessalles.info Uploaded by. Harold Greene. Untitled Extract Pages PM.
This was all designed with flatness in mind. Look at the difference in size between the two hands. Shape gives us immediate width. The more results you make, the faster you will reach your destination. CRC Press Language: Character comes out of the work.
Character Design from Life Drawing is the second book that deals with life drawing by Mike Mattesi, the first being Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators. This book also talks about character design. The first part builds on the concepts he has taught in the previous book, which are the handling of force, space and shapes of characters.
It's presented in the similar style, sketches with tips. For those who like the first book, you would probably like t More pictures at parkablogs. For those who like the first book, you would probably like this one too. The second part on character design. In addition to the sketches provided by Mike Mattesi, he has invited other character designers to contribute their work and thoughts.
Photos of models are provided to them who then create their own style of work. Each artist then describes their characters in terms of acting and emotions, showing how they try to get ideas across to readers.
They provide plenty of insights into their personal style, be it the cutout collages of Pixar artist Teddy Newton or the simple cartoon caricatures of Marc Perry.
At the end, there are also sections that talk about giving characters to architecture and animals. They are rather brief, but interesting nevertheless.
For animal character designs, you can check out The Art of Animal Character Design for even more tips. There's no one way to how character designs are done. The approach of this book is to give plenty of ideas to get you started. This book is for anyone who's looking to put more edge and style into their own characters. Dec 17, I Read rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book's merit is the amount of useful techniques described in efficient ways rather than slick illustrations.
Full of tips from a man who knows his craft and many inputs from other professionals also. You can learn a lot from reading this. Delia rated it it was amazing Mar 06, Elena rated it it was amazing Feb 19, Maryam Oj rated it liked it Sep 10, Scott rated it liked it Sep 21, Megs T Nelson rated it it was amazing Jul 28, Murphy rated it it was amazing Jan 04, Marcie Lacerte rated it it was amazing Dec 18, Olivia Pinto rated it it was amazing Sep 08, Anna Hudzik rated it really liked it Jan 06, Valerie rated it really liked it Dec 10, Malcolm rated it liked it Feb 03, Angelique Nolan rated it it was amazing Feb 16, Marc rated it it was amazing Jun 18, Nathanael Quashie rated it it was amazing Aug 22, Juan Juvancic rated it really liked it Jul 08, Aida rated it it was amazing Aug 28, Rock rated it liked it May 27, Sycen rated it it was amazing Mar 17, Djordje rated it it was amazing Nov 29, Achiko rated it liked it Dec 14, Joseph rated it liked it Sep 05, Rage Against the Book rated it really liked it May 07, Gogospirit rated it liked it Dec 08, These lines explain the specific roundness of the anatomy, what direction in space it is moving in, and what direction force is pushing it in.
That is a bang for your buck. Each of the lines give you three pieces of information! Here is a drawing that shows how curved lines show the forms of the figure moving in space.
Remember that this is all an illusion, just lines on a page. As complicated as this may seem, all of the surface lines assist in describing how this model is moving through a tubular space.
See how the lines continuously wrap around the forms to clarify the understanding of roundness. In this drawing we have lines of forceful form showing the roundness of the figure and we have a good deal of depth.
See how each leg has a clear direction in space. The other trick I am using here is size. See the size difference between the two knees. This is the last drawing for showing form. See how the concept of form assists in the forces found in the shoulders, arms, lower back, and hips. The form of the left shoulder bulging out in space helps punctuate how much force is found there.
That forceful area exists because of the model leaning to the left and leveraging against the pole that the hand is holding onto. As soon as you draw two straight lines converging, our mind interprets it as perspective.
Curved lines are the beginning of describing round forms. The great artists of the Renaissance used these tricks to describe landscapes, architecture, and the amazing human figure!
Students usually start their process of depth with line by learning the rules of perspective. These rules help the artist become aware of the four dimensions of space we live in. Students then learn anatomy and the linear description of form.
After many years of mastery in this, you realize that there are shortcuts to defining these rules on a flat sheet of paper. You finally reveal what lies beyond the Green Curtain!
In my book, Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators, I cover the basic tricks, listed below: What I want to show you in this chapter is an extremely powerful tool for controlling these rules to create images with even more depth and opinion.
Are you ready? OK, here it is! A line drawing of a box. A spatial bounding box. Big deal, you say. Ah, yes it is a big deal.
It has taken me many years and even more drawings to come up with this simple tool to teach depth. See, when our minds have something as simple as a box to fill with information, we are not intimidated to do so.
This framework allows us to push our boundaries. How does it do this? Next illustration. The box on the right is smaller than the one on the left. What does that mean? It means it is farther away, right? Well, it could be or it could mean it is just smaller and the same distance from us as the other box. In this chapter, we are going to use it as our tool to push the depth of our page! If we want to further clarify the depth on the page we could overlap the boxes. In the image on the left, there is implied perspective since the box that is farther away from us is smaller.
The image on the right is slightly confusing with the closer box being smaller. The overlap here is what saves us from misunderstanding the spatial relationship in the drawing.
This shows you how powerful the two drawing ideas, size and overlap, are. Here, form helps in the exaggeration of fluidity. Look at how force comes from the buttocks over the thigh and down its far side to the knee and then continues into a rhythm to the ankle.
I control depth through size and a simple way of controlling size is through seeing abstract flat parameters. Look at the bounding boxes around the different areas of the figure.
In the beginning, do this with realistic purpose. For instance, a foot that is closer to you would be larger than a foot farther away. You can do this on a photograph. This concept is visually real. This happens because of the roundness of our eyes.
Another way I describe this idea to my students is that areas of the page take up a certain amount of acreage, as if the paper is land. Here are more examples of the bounding box idea. Look at the acreage that the distant hand occupies versus the closer hand. The amount of flat space the hand takes fools our brains into thinking that an object is close or far to us. To really apply this idea, there should be two of the same object, such as the hands. The human body is built in pairs so there is a great opportunity for this.
The top drawing was my first pass at this story. I then attempted stretching the space between the head and the closer foot. Look at the size difference in the spatial boxes! The most drastic change is between the feet. The far foot in the bottom drawing is tiny in comparison to the closer foot. All of this space is designed through change in size of the box!
This creates a feeling of power since we feel like we are looking up at her, as if she was a giant. I brought her foot and knee out in this image. The leg with the large knee comes forward aggressively and recedes back in space to the small foot.
This radical size difference opened the door for me to consider the amount of pressure being pushed upon the smaller foot. This is the furthest I render a drawing. I show it to you because of all of the tricks I used in the presentation of my idea.
Notice the size variety in the spots on the pillow in the foreground. Look at the direction of the strokes I used for the forceful form in the left shoulder. Know your objective and use the right tools for the right job to get your point across. This drawing has a more subtle implication of size equating depth. All of the overlapping moments in the journey from the head to the hand also describe depth to us.
In this series of three drawings, I kept pushing the idea of the weight in the legs and the stress that it applied to the upper body. How did I do this? I kept shrinking the size of the ribcage and increasing the size of the legs.
This pushed the ribcage back into the page and brought the legs forward. Also, our minds think that the bigger something is, the heavier it is. Here is our last image in this section. The obvious size variation here is in the head to the hand relationship. There is the more subtle difference between the two eyes. I love that the lines are our paths along the flat surface of the page but our mind makes us think we travel away in space.
Location on the page or the height of one object relative to another on the page also helps define space. The first box on the left shows that perspective could be going in either direction. Is the horizon high or low on the page? Hard to tell.
In the middle box height, assisted by size, makes us think that the horizon line is low on the page. The orange arrow shows the direction that space is moving outward. The third diagram shows us the opposite. It looks as though space is moving outward, going from the top to the bottom square.
This would mean that the horizon line is high on the page since the smallest an object can be is right on the horizon if the object is on the same plane as you.
Here is a two point perspective diagram to show you why this concept works. By choosing a horizon or eye line, we can start to see how objects get smaller as they get closer to that line or get larger as they get farther away. In the drawing that follows, I will show you my eye line in creating the drawing and how the spatial bounding box works relative to the line.
I show you this with the blue line that indicates our horizon line. The change in size between the two feet is the clear contrast that defines a vast amount of depth. Connecting the feet with a line gives you an angle on the page that will lead you up to the horizon. That horizon line is your line of vision relative to the farthest location of the plane you are standing on, which more likely than not is Earth. Once again we have her feet show us the dramatic sense of depth on the page.
See how small her head and hands are in comparison to that right foot. Feel how the relationship between the feet once again describes the plane the model is standing on. I love looking at the pair of arms against the pair of legs in this image.
Force still makes its way through the figure. See the vast amount of space this pose occupies because of the size and height difference between the feet. Here is a clear example of the spatial bounding box.
I actually used the concept as a design element. The head is much smaller, and the feet, which are larger, help define a bigger spatial bounding box. Again, the extreme appendages, head and feet, define this triangular pose and the space it occupies.
Keep in mind that all of these images are on flat sheets of paper. There is no depth. Your brain thinks there is and understands what it sees because the artist, me, sees the same way you do. Start off your drawings by laying down a pass of bounding boxes. Draw them relative to your ideas on what you want to bring closer to you and what you want to push into the page. Take the process from above and exaggerate it even further.
Make the boxes contrast in size even more. Make the large boxes larger and the small boxes, smaller. Once you understand the rules of depth then you can have fun breaking them. Take something closer to you and make it smaller, then take something farther away and make it larger. You can equalize or flatten depth by making areas the size.
When you have models pose for you, direct them to give you poses with a lot of space. Draw the model from a close proximity to notice the variety in real space. Draw the model from far away. See how the amount of space she occupies diminishes. This is where you can use the spatial bounding box to recreate close proximity depth. Chapter 3 Shape with Character In Chapter 2 I mentioned the importance of understanding depth and flatness at the same time in art.
Shape makes this point real clear. You may draw dimensionally but you can still outline a silhouette. This immediately gives an image a sense of flatness. Drawings can start to feel like a jigsaw puzzle. You start seeing how one puzzle piece fits perfectly into another. You start to shape design the large, medium, and small shapes. Remember, you are still working on a flat plane. As children, we start the act of drawing through simple shapes.
As we become teenagers and young adults, we travel through a period of striving for reality in the art. Ironically, in maturity it is a return to childhood that balances out our interpretation of our world. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Pablo Picasso When learning how to draw, it is form that creates shape. There is no silhouette to see without a form to create it.
Be aware of jumping into shape too early. It can quickly become a crutch and lead you to weak drawings with no structure. After fully understanding form, there are many times that I will start a drawing with shape first and then fill it with form.
Drawing in this order allows you to push your creativity. It is more complex to start drawing an idea from a form instead of a shape. Your initial shape may need some tweaking to properly fill it with form, but you will at least have an interesting launch point.
They are static because of their symmetry. What is interesting to note here is that at this basic level they already imply character. Below, I have added some force to these shapes.
You can see how easily they come to life. Typically, each of these shapes has some general emotional relationship to us. With its point downward, the triangle can represent an athletic figure. It is also often used for villains because of its pointiness and dynamism. Precariousness could also be implied by it trying to balance on its point.
Flipped around, where the point is on top, the triangle suggests solidity, like a pyramid, unmoving. The triangle is the most dynamic of all basic shapes because of its strong angles. Used with force, it is like an arrow, directing energy from one location to another. Circle Oval: This shape is considered the friendliest of the shape family.
No pointy or dangerous corners. In the real world, typically things that are round are soft and safe. Our pupils, the windows to the soul, are circles. Square rectangle: This shape defines strength.
If stretched horizontally, it feels like a solid base or foundation. Vertically, it is like a column of strength. This is the shape I love using for size and proportion in design.
One way of using just these preliminary shapes is to see them at the top of the pyramid in the pose. Does the model look like a rectangle, triangle, or circle. Maybe a pose contains multiple shape ideas. In fact it is quite dead. The shapes are abstract parameters of the figure for placement relationships. Here is an example. Here I shaped out for you the triangle created by the back leg and the rectangle that is created by the arm, back, and lower leg.
Students constantly ask me about proportion. As I have mentioned before, proportion is a secondary thought to me while force is the forefront. This is a great way of obtaining proportion without measuring every line and having that process take over your drawing experience. My first book on force Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators covers this philosophy in extreme detail. The straight represents structure and the curve represents force.
Here is how the idea of straights and curves combined creates forceful shape! This design concept is so simple and powerful. When I instruct, this shape clearly defines what is working and what is not in a drawing.
The key is seing shapes even though you are looking at a line drawing. Here is a more traditional drawing that was founded on the straight to curve or forceful shape concept.
The straight line of the back clearly defines the forward thrust of the chest. The straight to curve here is the opposite in its function. The curve is in the back and the straight is the chest. See the shape also in the lower left leg. The front of the shin is the straight and the back is the curve.
All of the figure is designed with shape, some areas are just more obvious than others. This is the last example for forceful shape at its iconic simplicity. Again, I used it in the ribcage area. The back is the curve and the front of the chest is the straight.
The right thigh is another obvious example. The front of the thigh is the curve and the hamstring is the straight. Dynamic Drawing for Animators, I discussed the rules of straight to curve design in depth to create these forceful shapes.
In the last few years, I have discovered a new way of instructing students about this concept by using cut paper. I have my classes cut out D-shaped pieces of paper before the model takes the pose. Then, students glue stick these shapes on the page relative to the forces they understand in the figure.
After sticking down these shapes they draw the figure on top of them. This is an excellent way to comprehend straight to curve or forceful design. Remember, the curve represents force and the straight, structure. Try this exercise. It causes you to make clear decisions. That clarity allows for the realization of what direction the shape must be in to function!
Forceful shape is used in the back. The curve defines the directional force that came from the neck and applied itself in the peak of the back. What I find of great interest in this image is the flat shape of the brown cut paper versus the depth created by the lines drawn on top of it. The ribcage is thrusting upward with the straight of the back supporting it. The same occurs in the leg. As an added bonus, I added the student drawing behind the model.
Notice how small he is. Again, your mind immediately understands that the student is a certain distance away from the model.
Throughout the rest of the book, I will apply the shape concept through digital overlays. Again, this exercise with cut paper is a must. The speed with which clarity is received on forceful shape is high. First we take the three points of the forceful shape. The third point is the peak of the curve.
This gives us a triangle. We slightly bend our straight side and start to create a flexible triangle. This triangle is a powerful shape. The triangle, because of its point, innately points in a direction, like an arrowhead. Having one triangle point itself to another creates rhythm with shape. Just to up the ante of this concept, remember that force is hierarchal look in the Key Concepts section at the front of the book , meaning look at it from big to small ideas.
Here it is! I have defined the pose with a rhythmic triangle. This triangle shows us the big idea or the full hierarchical pyramid. The top half of the triangle pushes right and the bottom of the triangle pushes to the left.
I then went in and defined the multiple rhythms with the forceful shapes that clarify those concepts. This drawing of the same model shows the shift in the hips moving in the opposite direction. See the straight of the right side of the ribcage and the curved left side. This curve of the ribcage slides into the curve of the hip. It then travels into the knee and down into the right side of the calf.
See the clear forceful triangle of the left arm. Here is another example of forceful shape as the focal thought in execution. See how there is not much interior line to determine form.
It is primarily determined by the overlapping of the shapes. Our last drawing of clear straight to forceful shape design used to exaggerate the figure reveals itself in the ribcage and thighs.
Look more closely and you will also see it in the shin, arm, ear, and eyelids. I was teaching four classes at the time and this personal drawing time let me further my own experiences with the model. Out of those sessions came the drawing below. This drawing was at the beginning of my journey into abstraction with flat, inorganic shapes. As simple as it may seem, just playing with these abstract shapes against the design of the male nude was a real breakthrough in a figure drawing environment for me.
The three boxes in the background became design elements. Notice how I started breaking those boxes down into smaller boxes. Look at the shape in the lumbar region of the back. Notice how it suggests perspective but just like any other shape on the page, it is FLAT!
These abstract shapes bring me back to the infamous bounding box. This time, though, it is not spatial but used for ratio so it is our ratio bounding box. What is so important about this? Well once again, your mind will be able to fill the simple shape of a box because it is so simple. This accessibility allows you to be more opinionated and creative. The real challenge is to have an opinion based on truth or you could push or pull in the wrong direction.
Seeing abstractly is one of the keys to great design. So here we see two simple boxes. Starting with what they have in common, they are both rectangles. They are both taller than they are wide and they have the same color perimeter. The difference between is what is most important. One is taller and thinner than the other. A great way to start with the concept of the ratio bounding box is to put the entire figure in a box. Once again cut paper is an excellent tool for you committing to your ideas and staying clear with your thoughts.
I love the way the flat box filled with the weight, fluidity, and structure of the model sits on the tiny bench. The long orange horizontal box is just an accentuation to bring focus to the head. This drawing has three bounding boxes. Each one defines different areas of the figure. The box for the hand assisted me in stretching it horizontally while the one for the foot made it larger and brought it closer to me.
The pink one was to define the acreage of the figure. In creating these long, yellow rectangles, I give myself the freedom to manipulate any part of the figure I want. Keep in mind, the shape of the paper is determined by my opinion. So with the hand, for instance, I felt that is should be vertically long because I was after the hanging feel it gave me.
His head felt more horizontal than vertical. The red box assisted me in the idea of design. In creating this image, I pasted the pink squares and decided prior to the model taking the pose that one would represent the head and the other, one of the feet.
I had to lengthen the back and make the force still hook up from the head to the foot. This restriction allowed for the creation of this design. This drawing is our first without cut paper to assist in the designing of the model.
Here we have a falling rectangle and a stable box. I also played with the space relationship of the head to the foot. This drawing is a clear example of fitting the figure inside predetermined shapes. The law of thirds is a crucial design law. The box on the left shows no divisions. The second box shows a half-way division.
This immediately causes symmetry. That means that the top and bottom of the box or the figure are the same. It is this sameness that we are trying to avoid in our work. Our minds want to create symmetry and the irony is that this causes disinterest in art.
Remember, contrast creates interest. So, that leads us to our third box on the right. Here I have divided it into thirds! Now I have taken our box that is split into thirds in its vertical height and in the second image split it in half from left to right. This waters down our design again. In the last image we have the iconic image of design in thirds, our rectangle divided in thirds, vertically and horizontally. Remember this image! Here is our iconic box on its side. You can use the rectangle this way also.
This grid is great to use in studying film. Later in the book, you will see research of mine from film. This box is one of the tools I always use in analyzing composition. The law of thirds can also pertain to the dynamic shape of the triangle. The number three is a powerful number. In general, you want to stay away from even numbers because they have a tendency to create symmetry.
The number one does also. Between the forceful triangle and the rules of thirds, you should be able to create dynamic designs if you so desire. So here we see a figure confined to the parameters of the bounding box. See how powerful this tool is? We have a tall, thin character and a shorter more squat character. I gave them general vertical proportions. They both have their waist around the center of the rectangle. I have pushed the shoulder line upward and brought the waistline downward.
With this simple adjustment, we have new, interesting characters. Look at the amount of rich variety created by sliding these simple horizontal ratio lines up and down relative to one another. Simple right? This is so darn simple that it becomes powerful. Now I did this with the full shape of the figure. You can do this with any area as long as you have a clear reason or opinion as to why you are doing it.
You can also apply this concept by sliding vertical lines. This drawing presents my preliminary bounding boxes. If we look within each bounding box as a separate design, we can make assessments as to if they are broken into thirds. The box for the ribcage shows a great division with the breast line at the top third of the box.
The horizontal leg, on the other hand, shows the seam of the stocking right in the center of the box. It would have been more interesting if I had pushed the seam closer to the body or the knee. I saw the main section of the figure as the legs, trunk, and head with the hands and feet beyond the parameters of the box.
I then played with the proportions of those areas once they left the box. I like the way the hands rest on top of the box the figure is drawn within.
This decision about the proportion of the box came from the model and her pose. Look at how the rectangle is divided in thirds. Her head, chest, and hips are all occupying a third of the main rectangle.
I then used color and value to assist the image. I applied a hot orange red for her sensuality but kept her skin bone white. To further pronounce the red, I placed a green box in the design. Lastly, I designed circular shapes in the background to accentuate her femininity. I like the opposing angles of her facial direction to that of her shoulder.
This page layout was designed prior to the time period with the model. The ratio bounding boxes allowed me to tell a visual story about the pose. I really enjoy the arm and the solution to the hand.
The small square box became the perimeter for the fingers and that created a long palm. The face is represented by the rectangle. It could be any shape. I chose the rectangle. Look at what happens when we move the eye line away from its typical center. At the simplest level, because the second shows the line brought to a top third, the cranium is assigned less real estate and the jaw is given more. In the last image the cranium is assigned the majority of real estate when the jaw is given the smaller amount.
What does this mean to character? Notice how the drawing to the left feels the most generic and comfortable. The middle one can make the character feel tough or dumb … or both.
The drawing to the right makes our character feel smart or baby like. This is a demonstration I did for class at Nickelodeon that shows how taking the simple ratio bounding box idea allows you to take control of your opinions. I broke this portrait down into ratio bounding boxes. The first box of course is the head. Then, we can work our way down in size.
The ear is next and the inside of the ear is less than a third of the ear bounding box. Then, the same happens with the nose.
The bottom of the nose is a box and the nostril is two-thirds of that bounding box. The next two drawings are of the same model. This one is obviously more real. I present it to you as a comparison to the following drawing. Long forehead and compression of his face are two ideas that I used off the top. Shape was also a strong filter for me in looking at his hair and facial features. Here again, I picked an area of the figure to crop and design. The colors have also been designed into shapes.
Notice the complementary reds and greens with the golden yellow right in between the two. I love the stretched proportions of these rectangles. This allows for asymmetry right from the beginning. In the beginning, we start with fitting the entire figure in the box to help see the overall proportion and design of a pose. Use the concept of proportion to state your opinion. Think of the power of simple shapes but keep them fluid.
Draw an entire pose with just rectangles. Then go back and fill them with the fluid shapes and proportions that you predetermined.
Predesign a page with shapes, like a comic book. Then go into your figuredrawing session and try to tell a story with the drawings. Apply shapes to assist you with proportion and design. Create multiple designs based off of forceful shapes from the figure and then try to have these different moments create continuous, new rhythms.
Again, working within the boxes really helps your mind think about design. This gives you the opportunity to see the variety of opinions that can come from reality. Their visions vary in depth, color, tools, textures, and ideas. I hope this shows you how vast and personal your choices can be.
Costume adds another great level to the character you are drawing. Shapes, colors, textures, patterns, and more lead to opinions and a new world of choices and experiences for you the artist.
Imagine that the marks you make can help a viewer understand what something feels like to the touch. If you see a feather, your past experiences tell you what it feels like as a fellow human. The beginning of this process, though, is your attention to texture. When it comes to texture feeding character, what does it say if a woman is wearing a black leather jacket with a studded black shirt or wearing a soft pink, high turtleneck, and cashmere sweater.
Your mind immediately conjures images and opinions. Do not ignore these instincts when drawing on location or drawing a costumed model. Let them feed your design process. This process in turn will feed you on the job, creating characters with rich ideas about the clothes they wear. Clothing can also inform us of a time period. What are the shapes of the clothes and why?
What are the colors of a particular era? Occupation determines costume. Is the uniform that of a fast food employee, a gladiator, or a rock star? Perhaps the character is a super hero!
Culture is another definer of costume. Are the clothes French, German, or Spanish? As you can see, if you start combining these ideas, you can obtain a very specific character of an individual with the costume. How do the characters feel about the clothes they wear? Are they forced to wear them? Are they by personal choice?
Do their clothes make them feel proud? Why do I think this way about these clothes? Why does the character wear these clothes? Why does this pose with these clothes give me this story? Why are these fabrics the colors that they are? Why, why, why! Every person has defined his or her own persona. This is a representation of his or her internal character. Enjoy the quest to discover what is affecting you, how it affects you, and why!
Exaggeration, the inseparable companion to greatness.
Voltaire In this chapter, there are three different scenarios within which the art was created. Drawing from life, a real costumed model. All decisions were made on the spot. A drawing based on a drawing of a model from life or photo.
Drawing from a photo of the model. When people ask me to characterize my style, I always say I am an escape artist. Style should be like a marriage: Character comes out of the work. Style is applied or imposed on the work.
Style can be a prison. Elaine de Kooning. Silhouette is a powerful tool to see the posture of a character, and that posture can immediately give the viewer a quick read of the character. Is the character standing with his chest pushed out? Is he bent over with his hands in his face? Either silhouette describes a clear sense of character. I was extremely fortunate in having Will Eisner as an instructor in my senior year of art school. He used to discuss how important the clarity of silhouette was for character and story.
In his book, Comics and Sequential Art, he describes this anatomy of expression by showing the silhouette of a basic pose, like resting your head in your head, under different circumstances. This pose represents different ideas when shown as a response to multiple scenarios.
These silhouettes show extremes of human emotion. The open posture on the left and closed posture on the right conjure emotional concepts for us.
Then, when I went on to work at Disney Animation, the idea of clear silhouette was imposed upon me again!
From one pose to the next, the clear storytelling of the character comes across in the silhouette. When a character is holding an object, you will see at Disney how the character places it outside the shape of the body to clearly present the object. Once you understand the rule, it becomes blatantly obvious when it is utilized. Once you have figured out your silhouette, think about values. A simple rule to know is that the higher contrast an area has the more attention it brings to itself.
Where is the most important part of the figure visually? Is it the face? Then design with the highest tonal contrast near the face. Then put the contrast there. This is a real simple example of tonal design. See how each of them relates to the black shape of the figure. The clearest triangle shape is the white one because it creates the most contrast with the black figure. You can do what you want with tonal contrast. You may want to be subtler for character reasons.
Another quick read on character along with posture is facial expression. The slightest change in the corner of the mouth or raise of an eyebrow can suggest an entirely different thought and emotion. Eyes as the windows of ours souls lead to the close-up in all story genres, be it films, television, or video games.
Between the understanding of body language and the subtle sophistication of facial expression, you can come up with a limitless amount of characters and stories. Then, imagine dressing them up with clothes that represent them internally!
I am by far, no master of color but I will try my best here to tell you what I know about how it relates to character design. Here goes nothing. They discussed the character design of Worthington Foulfellow, the fox with hat and cape in Pinocchio. What really stuck out in my mind was their point on the color selection of his cape. The exterior was blue and the interior was red. This color combination personifies the character.
He acted friendly blue but was internally evil red. I thought that was damn clever. Below I have written a quick list of some color definitions relative to character.
Red — anger, evil, love, hatred, blood, hot, active, emotional Orange — warm, danger Yellow — excited, happy, light, Green — organic, rich, digital, gross, sickly, money Blue — friendly, sad, diffused, calm Indigo — royal Black — evil, fear, cool, empty White — heroism, holy, cleanliness. This list is not written in stone. Look at the movie The Matrix. All of the heroes are dressed in black.
There are many varieties of the colors described in the list above. You should know basic color theory — primaries, secondary, and tertiary colors. Then, know how to use analogous or complementary color harmonization. From my own experience, it is better to start off monochromatic and slowly lead into more complex color palettes than to use all colors. Former painting instructors and friends have agreed with this process. Start with primaries and know how to mix. Use the colors to make a statement.
Know what you are after and trying to say. See how I handled her upper body with shape as my approach. The powerful curve of her back against the fluid right leg is a nice contrast of ideas. I decided to take a fashion illustrative approach and start by thinning out the character and elongating her neck, arms, torso, and legs. It was intentional to not copy the pose exactly; instead I wanted to focus on the silhouette for readability. This resulted in pulling the front arm back and pushing out the back leg.
I was pleased with the initial colors such as the pink and purple, and wanted a color that would help push those colors forward. Since yellow is complementary of purple, I tried to work that into the background and create a subtle color that would still contrast with the character.
When I come across a good texture with a lot of surface area, I cut away. I do not plan a piece with an under drawing. I simply let the pages in the magazine surprise me, then I act off that.
When I received this photo of the woman in the pink hat, I first thought it was a man in drag. Look at the angularity of the boots in comparison to the soft curves of the legs. You can see that I had a clear thought about making the neckline of the shirt as an obvious shape. In the case of this design, I began by drawing her as a tall, thin, model-like woman. Although she seemed appealing, the character did not exude enough personality. As I continued to play with different proportions, I discovered that designing her as a heavier woman allowed me to have more fun with the shapes — and it was much funnier!
When designing, I try to incorporate straights, curves, bold blocks of color, interesting shapes, textures, and fun patterns. Never be afraid to try something unique.
When drawing the final version of a design, I prefer to use clean, seamless line work. In the initial stages, however, I try to be as loose as possible, using long, fluid lines. I like to imagine a character as a living, breathing individual. This helps me to evaluate whether or not the design is believable. Most important, have fun! Never be afraid of a bad drawing or constructive criticism.