Whelp, sleep is hunting me down for the night. Guess I was in a romantic mood for this evenings sketches. I miss this kind of stuff. Still don’t know who they should all be. Will keep taking suggestions?

Whelp, sleep is hunting me down for the night. Guess I was in a romantic mood for this evenings sketches. I miss this kind of stuff. Still don’t know who they should all be. Will keep taking suggestions?

Notes on Character Design

lackadaisycats:

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Character design and drawing are tome-sized topics and even if I had all the answers (I don’t - I have a lot to learn), I’m not sure I could communicate them effectively. I’ve gathered some thoughts and ideas here, though, in case they’re helpful.

First, some general things:

 - Relax and let some of that anxiety go. This isn’t a hard science. There’s no wrong way, no rigid process you must adhere to, no shoulds or shouldn’ts except those you designate for yourself. This is one of the fun parts of being an artist, really - have a heady good time with it.

 - Be patient. A design is something gradually arrived at. It takes time and iteration and revision. You’ll throw a lot of stuff away, and you’ll inevitably get frustrated, but bear in mind the process is both inductive and deductive. Drawing the wrong things is part of the path toward drawing the right thing.

- Learn to draw.  It might seem perfunctory to say, but I’m not sure everyone’s on the same page about what this means. Learning to draw isn’t a sort of rote memorization process in which, one by one, you learn a recipe for humans, horses, pokemon, cars, etc. It’s much more about learning to think like an artist, to develop the sort of spacial intelligence that lets you observe and effectively translate to paper, whatever the subject matter. When you’re really learning to draw, you’re learning to draw anything and everything. Observing and sketching trains you to understand dimension, form, gesture, mood, how anatomy works, economy of line; all of the foundational stuff you will also rely on to draw characters from your imagination.
Spend some time honing your drawing ability. Hone it with observational sketching. Hone it good.
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  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do this sort of thing better than Claire Wendling. In fact, character designs emerge almost seamlessly from her gestural sketches. It’d be worth looking her up.

- Gather Inspiration like a crazed magpie. What will ultimately be your trademark style and technique is a sort of snowball accumulation of the various things you expose yourself to, learn and draw influence from. To that effect, Google images, tumblr, pinterest and stock photo sites are your friends. When something tingles your artsy senses - a style, a shape, a texture, an appealing palette, a composition, a pose, a cool looking animal, a unique piece of apparel, whatever - grab it. Looking at a lot of material through a creative lens will make you a better artist the same way reading a lot of material makes a better writer.
It’ll also devour your hard drive and you will try and fail many times to organize it, but more importantly, it’ll give you a lovely library of ideas and motivational shinies to peruse as you’re conjuring characters.

- Imitation is a powerful learning tool. Probably for many of us, drawing popular cartoon characters was the gateway habit that lured us into the depraved world of character design to begin with. I wouldn’t suggest limiting yourself to one style or neglecting your own inventions to do this, but it’s an effective way to limber up, to get comfortable drawing characters in general, and to glean something from the thought processes of other artists.

- Use references. Don’t leave it all up to guessing. Whether you’re trying to design something with realistic anatomy or something rather profoundly abstracted from reality, it’s helpful in a multitude of ways to look at pictures. When designing characters, you can infer a lot personality from photos, too.
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And despite what you might have heard, having eyeballs and using them to look at things doesn’t constitute cheating. There’s no shame in reference material. There’s at least a little shame in unintentional abstractions, though.
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Concepts and Approach:

- Break it down. Sometimes you have the look of a character fleshed out in your mind before putting it to paper, but usually not. That doesn’t mean you have to blow your cortical fuses trying conceive multiple diverse designs all at the same time, though. You don’t even have to design the body shape, poses, face, and expressions of a single character all at once. Tackle it a little at a time.

The cartoony, googly eyed style was pre-established for this simple mobile game character, but I still broke it into phases. Start with concepts, filter out what you like until you arrive at a look, experiment with colors, gestures and expressions.
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- Start with the general and work toward the specific. Scribbling out scads of little thumbnails and silhouettes to capture an overall character shape is an effective way begin - it’s like jotting down visual notes. When you’re working at a small scale without agonizing over precision and details, there’s no risk of having to toss out a bunch of hard work, so go nuts with it. Give yourself a lot of options.

Here’s are some sample silhouettes from an old cancelled project in which I was tasked with designing some kind of cyber monkey death bot. I scratched out some solid black shapes then refined some of them a step or two further.
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- Shapes are language. They come preloaded with all sorts of biological, cultural and personal connotations. They evoke certain things from us too. If you’re ever stuck about where to go with your design, employ a sort of anthroposcopy along these lines - make a visual free association game out of it. It’ll not only tend to result in a distinguished design, but a design that communicates something about the nature of the character.

Think about what you infer from different shapes. What do they remind you of? What personalities or attitudes come to mind? How does the mood of a soft curve differ from that of a sharp angle? With those attributes attached, how could they be used or incorporated into a body or facial feature shape? What happens when you combine shapes in complementary or contrasting ways? How does changing the weight distribution among a set of shapes affect look and feel? Experiment until a concept starts to resonate with the character you have in mind or until you stumble on something you like.
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If you don’t have intent, take the opposite approach - draw some shapes and see where they go. (It’s stupid fun.)

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- Cohesion and Style. As you move from thumbnails to more refined drawings, you can start extrapolating details from the general form. Look for defining shapes, emergent themes or patterns and tease them out further, repeat them, mirror them, alternate them. Make the character entirely out of boxy shapes, incorporate multiple elements of an architectural style, use rhythmically varying line weights - there are a million ways to do this

Here’s some of the simple shape repetition I’ve used for Lackadaisy characters.
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- Expressions - let them emerge from your design. If your various characters have distinguishing features, the expressions they make with those features will distinguish them further. Allow personality to influence expressions too, or vice versa. Often, a bit of both happens as you continue drawing - physiognomy and personality converge somewhere in the middle.

For instance, Viktor’s head is proportioned a little like a big cat. Befitting his personality, his design lets him make rather bestial expressions. Rocky, with his flair for drama, has a bit more cartoon about him. His expressions are more elastic, his cheeks squish and deform and his big eyebrows push the boundaries of his forehead. Mitzi is gentler all around with altogether fewer lines on her face. The combination of her large sleepy eyes and pencil line brow looked a little sad and a little condescending to me when I began working out her design - ultimately those aspects became incorporated into her personality.
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I discuss expression drawing in more detail here (click the image for the link):
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- Pose rendering is another one of those things for which observational/gesture drawing comes in handy. Even if you’re essentially scribbling stick figures, you can get a handle on natural looking, communicative poses this way. Stick figure poses make excellent guidelines for plotting out full fledged character drawings too.

Look for the line of action. It’ll be easiest to identify in poses with motions, gestures and moods that are immediately decipherable. When you’ve learned to spot it, you can start reverse engineering your own poses around it.
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- Additional resources
- here are some related things about drawing poses and constructing characters (click the images for the links).

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Lastly…

- Tortured rumination about lack of ability/style/progress is a near universal state of creative affairs. Every artist I have known and worked with falls somewhere on a spectrum between frustration in perpetuity and a shade of fierce contrition Arthur Dimmesdale would be proud of. So, next time you find yourself constructing a scourge out of all those crusty acrylic brushes you failed to clean properly, you loathsome, deluded hack, you, at least remember you’re not alone in feeling that way. When it’s not crushing the will to live out of you, the device does have its uses - it keeps you self-critical and locked in working to improve mode. If we were all quite satisfied with our output, I suppose we’d be out of reasons to try harder next time.

When you need some reassurance, compare old work to new. Evolution is gradual and difficult to perceive if you’re narrowed in on the nearest data point, but if you’ve been steadily working on characters for a few months or a year, you’ll likely see a favorable difference between points A and B.

Most of all, don’t dwell on achieving some sort of endgame in which you’re finally there as a character artist. There’s no such place - wherever you are, there is somewhere else. It’s a moving goal post. Your energy will be better spent just enjoying the process…and that much will show in the results.

Late night drawing. Who should I turn them into?

Late night drawing. Who should I turn them into?

meiru-chan:

miss-nerdgasmz:

cchtml:

This feeling when you walk into big art supply stores …

brb changing underwear

*bows down* Take meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

UNNNNNNNNF. 

…and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, That was fine. And your life is a long line of fine.
Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl.  (via wordsnquotes)
Well Seymour, if you insist on sitting at my desk, I will take some selfies with you. #catsitting #seymour

Well Seymour, if you insist on sitting at my desk, I will take some selfies with you. #catsitting #seymour

davidseger:

occono:

This month’s shows are live on Channel101.com!! Another big shakeup this month, as The Sign Spinner and Secrets & Science enter primetime, while we bid a sad farewell to High Stakes and Live Free, Eat Fresh. Thanks for a great month - see you in September!!

Sheesh! Held on by a thread this month. Car-Jumper be slipping! 
Check out the new shows, including The Impossible Project, a gameshow I made with Del Shoopman starring Brad Gage. 

davidseger:

occono:

This month’s shows are live on Channel101.com!! Another big shakeup this month, as The Sign Spinner and Secrets & Science enter primetime, while we bid a sad farewell to High Stakes and Live Free, Eat Fresh. Thanks for a great month - see you in September!!

Sheesh! Held on by a thread this month. Car-Jumper be slipping! 

Check out the new shows, including The Impossible Project, a gameshow I made with Del Shoopman starring Brad Gage. 

Sweet Poffin - Hellfire
747,647 plays

mythos43213:

the-gwalla:

thecholma:

starline:

Last week. :P

(I would REALLY love to be able to afford Krav Maga classes again. Fuck.) 

Support via Patreon!

You didn’t *need* the photo for this. Giving him your email and name was a bad idea. Your “friends” should’ve stepped in as soon as this creep put his arm on you! They should know how you feel about strangers creeping on you and not make comments about how you’re “popular with the guys”. That creep needed a kick to the balls, not a photo with you. >:(

I recommend you get a “throwaway” email address on hotmail or something that doesn’t use your name, (ie: LAgirl123) that you can use in situations like this. Plus, use a fake name like “Monica” or something in the club. If someone INSISTS on a phone number, have a delivery place number memorized. (but NOT one close to where you live!!)

Ugh, what a sleazeball. “That’s a stripper name” Who says things like that?

To add on to what Cholma said: you can use Mailinator for stuff like that. You don’t even need to set up an account first. It’s meant as an antispam thing but it’s usable for any situation where you need a throwaway email address. Just make up a something@mailinator.com address and check it later, then never check it again. Since anybody can check any mailinator inbox you wouldn’t want to use it for anything actually confidential, of course, but to give to some guy you never want to have contact with again? Absolutely.

Bringing your knee up really quick would get him to skeez off…even if you didn’t connect! It would give him the message. Of course, this is where friends are helpful too. While I adore your comics, and always have, this sucks harder than a newborn baby. >.<

While they would have if I had asked them to, I didn’t want my friends to step in and help. I wanted the guy to leave me alone. It’s not my friends job to stop him. We tried avoiding him, and not making eye-contact. We tried not being responsive to him at all. The creep didn’t didn’t care that I was clearly with them, wanted nothing to do with him, and kept invading my space.

At that point if any of my friends had stepped in, it would have either escalated to something violent, or he would have started sexually harassing my friends. Which I also didn’t want because that’s just dangerous, and the opposite of  ”I just wanted to dance, damnit.” 

Essentially, the moment this person grabbed me to take my picture, the night was ruined. Even if he had left me alone after that, I would have been constantly looking over my shoulder. My dancing would have been stifled because I wouldn’t want to attract anymore unwanted attention.  

The first rule of self-defense, while frustrating, is to get away from the situation if you can. You only escalate it if you don’t have any other options.  

And while I know I shouldn’t have given my email, I was pretty confident this person wasn’t going to try and contact me that way. (He hasn’t.) Email is almost like snail-mail at this point when it comes to communication.  Also, he TOOK MY PICTURE without permission. Fuck that. I wanted it back, and demanding I get a copy of it at least made me feel I some agency over my own damn image.

Last week. :P

(I would REALLY love to be able to afford Krav Maga classes again. Fuck.) 

Support via Patreon!

Violet Incredible 8.5x11 for sale at my Etsy Shop

codyjohnston:

Here’s that column I mentioned.