Friday, August 28, 2015

Character Design and Emotion

Initial Character Sketches
Before I start I want to let you know about Doodle Day! Alison Kipnis Hertz will be doing a Doodle Day Challenge in September based around character design! This should help you to create your dummies so I highly recommend you look into this challenge. Don't think of it as a second challenge. Think of it as a way to make the Smart Dummies challenge even easier! Just go to Facebook and join the group. Alison has written a wonderful guest post for early September!

I was going to post about gesture drawing today, but I think since I have so many character sketches on hand I might as well do that first. When starting my character sketching for a story sometimes I'll just need to draw a couple different character designs per character to figure out what my characters will look like. Other days it's just not that easy! It's those other days where I have to do at least one page of initial character sketches just to get things right. The picture to the right is one that I did years ago for a story. None of the characters in the story looked anything like the characters in those sketches! Without these initial sketches I may never have gotten to my final designs.

The best workshop I ever had on character design was Lisa Cinar's workshop at the SCBWI Canada West conference. (SCBWI and Kidlit Conference people get out your checkbooks and hire this woman for your conference now!) If you are in the Lower Mainland of BC you should take her classes. She will be doing a guest post for Smart Dummies in the second half of September.

I like to measure out my characters so I can make sure they are consistent throughout my story. The characters below are for "The Pattern Pals" a comic series I've set aside for the time being. They are measured out in a way that I can see how they would relate to other characters in the story.

You want to know what your character looks at the front, back, side and 3/4th angle at the very least. I did not do the back for most of these characters because they look very much the same from the front and back. The more angles and positions you can put your characters in, the easier it will be to make your characters more consistent in your books. Some people like to make 3-D models of their characters to make sure they are very consistent throughout their stories. Gesture, which I will talk about soon, will help you know your characters better.

Along with knowing how to draw your characters throughout a story it's also important to give your characters emotions. Agents and Editors like to see that you can do a variety of emotions in your drawings. Practice drawing your characters with lots of emotion. Both gesture and facial features come together to show how your character feels.

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