Figure construction using
cylinders, circles and lines of action.


Step 1:


First begin with a LINE OF
ACTION. The LINE OF ACTION should always be active. Avoid vertical lines — they
are still and can make your character wooden. Try a sweeping curve, a diagonal
or horizontal LINE OF ACTION.


Step 2:


Add some simple shapes to the
LINE OF ACTION. Think of these shapes as three dimensional, i.e., as FORMS with


Step 3:


We now need to build some
STRUCTURE in our character. Draw simple lines for the structure of the arms and

The hips are always attached across from each other and they are
always opposite each other. If one is forward, the other is back. If one is up,
the other is down.



Step 4:


Create forms around the
line of structure for the arms and legs. Most of the time you will be using

Experiment with
different shapes of cylinders. Curved lines against curves or, better yet,
curved lines against straight lines form more dynamic and interesting shapes


Step 5:


Know which direction the
cylinders face.



The neck is always on the
front side of the body and not on the top of the shoulders.


Step 6:


Finally, hang the clothes over
the forms. The details are the last elements you add to a character design.


Work RUFF and LOOSE; it will add more action attitude and
spontaneity to your designs.


Key Points

  • Start with a LINE OF
  • Define the character’s
  • Add the FORMS.
  • Finish off with the
    clothes, fur, etc.
  • Details are added last.


Character Construction with Line of Action and Silhouette Theory:


The concept of line of action
and silhouette helps in creating dynamic poses so that animation will look more
appealing. Line of action is nothing but the imaginary area that exists in the
centre of the character on which the entire character is built. Silhouette
concept enhances the animation, to project the action of the particular pose
even when there is no light put on the character. Silhouette can be defined as
the shadow of the character in the darkness.



Basic Head Construction: 1



Step 1:


Character Design for the Head
is very simple. Like all character design is it based on simplified anatomy and
construction. All characters can be broken down into basic 3D shapes or forms.


Step 2:


Once we have the ball. We draw
an eyeline horizontally around the ball. Then, draw a line vertically, the
centerline, perpendicular to the eyeline.


Step 3:


The bottom of the eyes is
anchored to the eyeline. The top of the nose is anchored below the eyeline. The
eye lines show the up and down and tilt directions of the head.


Due to perspective the eye closer is larger than the eye
farthest from us. The centerline shows us the left and right direction the ball
(or character) is facing.


Step 4:


Add the pupils and the mouth
and bottom lip. Bottom lips are very important to expressions and dialog.


The mouth is drawn slightly to one side – it keeps the design
asymmetrical and it makes the character more appealing.


The pupils are always drawn as
complete shapes (a) – and not as cutouts (b). Add the ears (c)
for human characters they generally begin at the eyeline. Find the crown of the
head at the back and draw the hair forward from there.


Think of it as covering the ball shape of the head. Continue to
cover the sides of head (ball) and you have the basic head construction.


Step 5:


When drawing eyes begin with
the pupil and let the eye shape and the eye brow radiate from it.


Step 6:


Using the same principles of a
simple head design, let’s create other characters.


Again, draw a ball, and then
draw the eyeline and the centerline. Remember, these lines always curve around
the ball. In fact, draw 2 or 3 balls with eye lines and centerlines. Now add the
eyes (anchored above the eye lines) and forms for snouts or muzzles below the
eye lines.


Part of designing characters is play so play with different
forms (3D shapes).


Step 7:


Draw a ball with the eyeline
and centerline (a). Draw the eyes above… and the snout below… (b). Note in
drawing (c), the bottom of the snout or muzzle is the top of the animal’s mouth.
Also, when the character has really large eyes, you can draw brows above the
eyes. These brows parallel the eye shape.


Basic Head Construction: 2


Obviously, not all character’s
heads are designed as perfectly round. This section shows how to create more
complex character head construction.


Step 1:


We can accomplish our task by
adding to the ball shape below the eyeline – a combination cheek and jaw line –
that extends from one side of the eyeline to the other side of the eyeline.


This cheek/jaw line comes in handy for squashing and stretching
the cheek/jaw line during lip sync (dialog).


Step 2:


We can combine both the
cheek/jaw line with a snout to create even more complex characters. Let’s take
LaMatt the dog and construct him. Again, we begin with the ball, eyeline. Center
line and cheek/jaw line.


Next we add a 3D form for the


Then we draw in the eye sockets
and a nose.


Finally we complete LaMatt by
adding a mouth, ears and fur and other assorted details.

Just remember that the details
are always added last.


Character Construction with
Basic Shapes:




Digital Drawing From Pencil Sketch to Photoshop

Dave Habben, the man who taught us to sketch awesomelyget inkyconsider coloring choices and add texture to our art in Photoshop, is taking a step back to show us how to get started on a digital drawing with a traditional sketch. This tutorial demystifies what can seem like a complex process to demonstrate how pen and pencil fits just fine into a Wacom workflow. Read on for the tips you need to take your art to the next level:

Hello Stylus Devotees! I’m excited to once again share some useful tips for you to explore with your Wacom tools. As in my previous posts, I’ll be using a Wacom Intuos Pro and Adobe Photoshop CS6 on a Mac mini, but the method we’ll be using applies to a variety of image creating software. Also, this post is written with a somewhat advanced Photoshop user in mind, so we’ll be glossing over some basic terms. If you get lost or need help, feel free to contact me with your questions.

In previous posts, we’ve discussed using the Intuos tablet to sketch out concepts directly into Photoshop. This is a great method when you have access to your computer, but what about when you’re in a meeting or out to dinner and you get the greatest idea in the world? Just because your idea was put down on a restaurant placemat, doesn’t mean you can’t use it for finished artwork. What’s even better is that you can make adjustments digitally and save yourself a lot of time. Let’s take a look at how simple this process is.

First, we’ll start with a sketch.

Next, we need to scan in our drawing. There are several different combinations of scanners and software that we could discuss, so I’ll leave this process up to you. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Remember, this is just a sketch, so you can save yourself time, hard-drive space, and memory, by scanning at a lower resolution. You can also scan the sketch in grayscale format to save further space. Below, you can see the image I scanned at 150dpi. It’ll be fine for our purposes here and for most of yours as well. When you move to a final image file, you can create the hi-res version with this as a base layer, as you’ll see further down.

Now that our image is scanned, we’ll make it easier to adjust our composition by using layers. I like to name my layers in order to find the one I need quickly. To do this, I simply double-click on the layer name and it becomes an editable text box. When you apply this method to a background layer, like we have here, it will not only rename the background, it will also create a floating layer out of it.

With the background converted to a layer, we cut out our characters to make our adjustments. I have two characters in this sketch, so I’m going to make a separate layer for each of them. To do this, I’ll first duplicate my “sketch” layer (Command+J for Mac, Control+J for PC). Now I have two identical layers. By clicking on the “eye” icon to the left of the layer, I’m going to turn one of them off. On the visible layer, using the Lasso tool, I’ve selected the boy character and deleted the area around him. To do this, I drew a loop around the character with the lasso tool and then inverted my selection by typing (Shift+Command+I). Once the selection was inverted, I could simply hit delete and I’m left with the cutout character on an otherwise empty layer.

I’ll do this again for my creature layer. Hiding the boy layer with the “eye” icon and then making the creature layer visible with the same method. Then, using the lasso tool, I select my character, invert the selection, and delete the area around it.

With my characters separated, I want to be sure to rename the layers by double-clicking on the layer names. Labeling them specifically doesn’t seem like a big deal when there are only two layers, but it can make a huge difference as we start to add more layers and create more complex compositions.

Our next step is to use the layers we’ve made to create our desired composition. Do I want the creature to be big or small? How close do I want them to be? Using the layers we can move them and scale them (using our Move tool) to any position we’d like. As you select the layer, it helps to have the “Show Transform Controls” box checked in order to adjust the layers size and scale with the provided anchor points.

After a little experimenting, I’ve decided I like the creature to be a little smaller. As a result, my composition looks like this:

I’ve also added a white background layer here to make seeing the image easier. Clicking the small “Create a new Layer” icon in the bottom of the layer palette instantly creates a new layer and we can use the method described above to rename it.

Finally, with my composition adjusted to my liking, I can move forward to create the final image. If you’re going to create an image for print, be sure to increase your resolution, or dpi, before moving forward to at least 300dpi. In previous posts, I’ve described my method of “inking” over a sketch layer.

I’ve created a new layer above my sketch layer for the ink. I also like to drop the opacity of my sketch layer down to around 20%, so there’s just enough for me to see the rough drawing as I draw over the top.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tutorial for adjusting your traditional sketches with digital tools. Combining the artwork you’ve created from different methods can bring about great results and fresh new techniques, so be sure to keep exploring and sharing your ideas with the Wacom Community!

See you next time!



Creating believable characters

Remember all the posts you see on animated characters that look like real-life characters? Well, they are not just for fun but also for learning. Character designers have the key role of replicating real-life characters for the screen. These characters could be humans, animals or objects. In each case having a reference helps in building … Read more