The amount of time it can take to draw these characters can really vary. The cat, for instance, was a quick 30 minute exercise that started out more proportionally realistic, but was stretched and simplified over a couple of sketches. The lines were kept intentionally loose and sketchy because of the speed of the drawing, and the same can be said of the colour application.
The lumberjack was a bastard. I originally intended to only spend about an hour on him, but I just couldn’t seem to get the look right, so I ended up doing multiple versions (different poses, face, beard, clothing, etc…) which took about four hours in the end. I still don’t really like the design which makes it worse, but I realised I wasn’t loose enough with the initial sketches and I think that stumped me.
The old hag was a fun character to work on. I took inspiration from an photo of a young girl backpacking. I sketched her out and then just exaggerated the shapes, added an octopus, a weird cat-like creature, and aged her up about a thousand years, and voila!
These dailies are flowing out of me a bit quicker now, and think the speed and looseness shows up in the line-work. I quite like how rough the lines look though I might have a look and see if I can discover some new digital brushes to play around with. I quite like the Roman legionary out of these three characters, he looks like he’s been through hell and back, especially with that thousand yard stare. Honesty, imagine having to go into battle wearing some tin-foil and a skirt! No thanks!
I feel like there’s a nice progression here in terms of colour use, line work and texture (images read left to right). It’s taken a few days to get my eye in and develop a style that I’m happy with, but I think things are starting to click. The work flow is speeding up and the shapes are getting pushed and simplified more and more. I think simplifying shapes and creating a strong silhouette for the character is going to be a focus going forward!
I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a character study everyday if I can. Typically I’ll have a look on Pinterest and find a candid photo of someone and work from that, so it’s a little similar to sketching in a coffee shop or doing life drawing. The study on the left is a little bit too real for my taste and lacks interesting shape, line and gesture. I was a little looser with the guy on the right exaggerating the proportions and pose which lends a lot more character.
Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ll be better.
This isn’t really a character sheet… well it is because of how it looks here, but it’s actually a movement cycle for a double page spread that I’ll hopefully have done tomorrow. I should actually work on character sheets more I think if I want to work for Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/Netflix as a character designer, so expect more of these! I’m pretty happy with this except for the face of the first figure (far left). I’ve been looking at the way a lot of the Disney (and similar studios) character artists work over the last couple of days, especially the likes of Annette Marnat https://annettemarnat.ultra-book.com/portfolio, Kevin Roualland https://rouaroua.tumblr.com/, and Brittany Myers https://rouaroua.tumblr.com/, check out their work!
Freyja character design. This one was difficult, but is perhaps my favourite of the bunch so far. I seem to rarely draw women, so I often find myself having to relearn how to every time I make an attempt. In most forms of art it is well documented that you should “stick to what you know”, though somehow this advice is disregarded when it comes to character design, though I suppose this is because who wants to hire an artist who can only draw feet, even if said feet are really, really sexy (bad example, there’s all kinds of perverts out there. Yes, I’m looking at you).
Freyja (not ‘Freya’, as is the modern spelling) is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers.
The challenge here was making the character fit the description above and also fit the aesthetic of the previous two characters, Odin and Thor. I chose to focus on beauty, war, and gold, while incorporating the necklace and cloak of falcon feathers. It felt too easy to draw the cloak with the hood down, which is how I had approached my initial sketches, and I wanted the character to stand apart from the other two who both have capes, so she had to be hooded. I used a lot reference of Viking shieldmaidens from Pinterest for the look of the leather armour and also got some prompts for the colour scheme from old traditionally painted versions of the character. I like the fantasy aspect of the cloak, but generally with these medieval type characters I like have one foot reality and so try to weave in how someone of that era would actually dress; tunic, tabard, sword belt, leather armour, all layered appropriately. There’s not a lot more to say on this one except that it was fun.
Odin character design. I don’t know why but I’ve been avoiding doing any real character design for a while now. Since we’re going to be in lockdown for the foreseeable future I’m going to perhaps try and do week long character design and visual development projects. An example may be illustrating Norse Gods, like I plan to do this week, then shifting to an ancient Rome theme, and then on to woodland creatures etc, etc… so we’ll see how it goes!
This is my take on Odin and his two ravens Huginn and Muninn. Not sure why I chose to kick things off with this guy, but I suppose I’ve always had a slight fascination with Norse mythology and Norway in general, so I was bound to attempt their Viking gods at some point.
Noel Gallagher commission. This one, like the Hamilton piece, was for the client’s grandson, and again the brief was very open ended. I felt inclined to go for Gallagher in his prime with the iconic Union Jack guitar, track suit, and of course the “V for victory” gesture. The composition was tricky here as I went back and forth on whether to keep things tight and close-up or whether to go for a full body shot, but ultimately the fully body just didn’t fit well on the page. The guitar was a bastard to get right as well!
Commissioned Hamilton piece. The client wanted this one for her grandson who is big into theatre. I tried not to be too literal and draw an actual theatre (or some such scene) and instead opted for something a little more nuanced. I’d been told the client’s grandson liked Hamilton and so I went and gave it a watch since I’d just bought Disney+. I don’t know much about theatre, but that which I have seen has really been a mixed bag – though I must say I love The History Boys – however, after watching Hamilton I was blown away. What an amazing show! If you’ve seen the production then the character above should be immediately recognisable, and while only appearing briefly, it’s fair to say he stole the show. For those of you not in the know the above illustration is of King George III who is played by Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter, Frozen) who sings the iconic “You’ll Be Back” with spit flying to boot. Anyway it felt appropriate that I pay homage to this guy and this was the most apt way I could imagine; as the King of Hamilton.