Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Guide to Drawing Characters

If you have ever drawn a character you know there is a lot more to it then just capturing the actual physical design.  Even when you know exactly what your character looks like, and you draw him just as you imagine, he still isn’t right! This is probably because you haven’t drawn your character’s personality yet. 

How do you draw personality you are wondering? Here are some tricks I use to help bring my characters to life.

First make sure you already have decided what your character looks like. His facial features and body proportions, how much or little hair he has, and any oddities you may want to include.

Now take your character out of the story and think about him alone.  Answering the questions below will help you know him better, and will make him more 3 dimensional and interesting! Do a little rough sketch for each bullet.

 Is your character frail or sturdy? How would he look on a windy day  
or lifting a heavy object? Can he climb things easily, do back bends and hand springs?

• Emotions have behaviors. Is your character shy? Does he talk into his shirt or is he outgoing and use his hands to make gestures? What other body behaviors might your character have? Think about the seven dwarves. Is he sleepy, sneezy, grumpy?

• What does your character look like walking? Is he a type A; high energy, and quick moving, or type B; laid back, and slow moving? Is your character happy and bouncy, or sad and sluggish? (Think Eeyore and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh)  Is he clumsy?

• How does your character do a simple task like eat a piece of cake? Is he well mannered and tidy, or is there chocolate all over his face?

• How does your character interact with another character from your story? Are they annoyed with each other, loving, silly?

• What is your characters biggest fear, or greatest joy? Is he afraid of dogs or horses? Draw a quick sketch of him walking a giant dog, or ten giant dogs, riding a wild mustang, or climbing a mountain…this is how the special abilities of your character are demonstrated.  Don’t worry about drawing the horse or dog or mountain right now, use simple shapes for anything you haven’t worked out yet. The important part to draw is the action.

By the time you've finished these little sketches, you will know your character a whole lot better, and it will show! Keep your sketches … you never know when one of them will be just what you need!