Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Bringing it all together, part of Animation Foundations: Drawing Cartoon Characters.
- So it's time to bring together all the things I've been showing you. And here we have just a simple ball to designate the skull, and we're going to draw a burned-out 1960s flower child, and this is going to be a man with long hair, scraggy, he's seen better days, but he's got a heart of gold. So, let's get going on it. So, first things first, we have the skull so I think sometimes I like to just do the eyes. Let's start with the eyes. Lines a bit dark, so I'm just gonna brighten it up a little bit.
This particular brush in Photoshop gets a little cloudy. My paper drawings are usually not this cloudy. It's a little bit of a frustration I've had with it in the booth. So, when you draw, don't feel under any compulsion to draw a blurry line. And again, when I draw the iris like this, I'm bringing it in all the way to the curve. Now really that's as much detail as I want to do at the moment. Now let's just start doing to rest of the figure much more loosely than that.
I just wanted to put the eyes in to give us a little sense of the head direction. So, let's start on the rest of the figure, but now I'm going to loosen up quite a bit. So I'm guessing the body will be kind of bent over. Like to see him a bit hunched up, shoulders up to here. And let's give him a really long face, a scraggy chin down at this end. I'm going to give him higher cheekbones, and I want to give him a really shocked, spaced out kind of expression.
And, like really sunken into his chest, so the neck will be down here. That'll be a bit of the jawline. Then they are open, so it seems a bit saggy. Put the Adam's apple in. Very likely the center line, I'm just going to lighten it up a little bit. Think now we can maybe block in some of the nose, and so what I'm going to do is give him, like, a really long and graphic one not too realistic.
So, now let's do the mouth. We've got the range of motion on that. And I think big teeth, something a little unusual with this guy. Yeah, he hasn't been to a dentist in a while. He doesn't believe in dentists. Time to shade in the back of the mouth.
Probably shouldn't redo this if I was going to color in this particular drawing, but this is a rough sketch, so it's nice to get a little tone in there. Give him a few eye wrinkles. And this is a good use of straights. So we have a straight line here and break it. Same on this side. He doesn't look like a hippie yet, but don't worry, we'll get there. So, let's give him some really big eyebrows. And let's just block in the overall shape first before we draw any strands.
And this is a rough drawing, so it's really nice if you can be loose on this. Don't be trying to clean these up. This is where you have a little bit of freedom to make some bolder shapes. You think you've gone a little too dark and you want to lighten it up a bit, not a problem. Erase some of that. A few wrinkles would be nice. And, don't forget the ears, and this is a straight line, curve, and another break on the curve down here. Gives us a strong, not too blobby ear shape.
And I think we should give him a brow because this eyebrow is really flooding up into space. So, you see how the skull there is a sphere? That does not mean we have to draw to that sphere. That's our guideline. I can take this guy and give him a little brow ridge. And we can have another one on the other side here. Put the hairline up pretty high. Starting to recede, but finally. And let's have the hair flowing. Now we're going to be adding an arm in here in a little bit, so I'm not going to worry too much about this just yet because we could be covering up this space very soon.
Add some wrinkles on the eyes to show a little bit of aging. And like all good hippies, he has to have big mustache. So, I'm beginning from a point of origin about here. There's another one here, just under the nose. Let it flow from that. And these shapes are pretty simple. They're an S curve and a C curve, and the mouth's getting in the way a bit from helping us to read this, so let's fix that.
We'll just paint that in. And I'm just going to fine tune some of the area around the eye. Need more white back in there. Now let's go back to black. We're darkening the eyes now just to really get them to read. So we can begin to add little details. Hairs on the chin. Maybe a crease on the mouth here. And then want to change the line at this V-neck so it just comes down a bit lower.
And then just, erase back some of this stuff here. Going to put a few more lines. I think this mustache looks a little too clean. We should make it a little rattier. And let's give him some big core. And big eyelids, heavy eyelids would also be a pretty useful signifier here. So, we have big indention, heavy there. The eyelid line here, and we'll make sure that that's heavily drawn so we suggest a shadow.
Same on this side. I think I'd like to cut back some of this mustache area. Maybe thin it out just a little bit. And this also gives us a little room in here to add a jaw line back in. Maybe put some whiskers on it. And I'm going to bring in the arm, but from this point. Just give him a very droopy, dejected limp wrist here.
And I'm thinking about the material that his shirt is made of. I'd like it to be something very loose and floppy so we really get this inside line here on the cuff to hang straight. This is our hand area, thumb. So, let's have him here holding up a flower.
So, we'll block in the palm of the hand here. And next finger. And the other three fingers will just be minding their own business, not grabbing any attention down here. So the position that'll attach his physical right hand with the flower to the body. We'll have another droopy sleeve here. And there's a bit of an overlap here where I originally had the shoulder a little higher.
So, either I'll erase this line here for the shoulder or I will move the arm up a bit. I like that taller shoulder. It gives him a more hunched look. So, I'm going to go in and erase that properly. And see how I'm leaving that space open? I'm not closing it off. No reason to. It's one fluid area from one end to the other. And we can do the same thing here. Let's just clean up as well, some of this area. It's getting a little bit cluttered.
And we also have an area here where we can define that hairline a little more sharply. So, there's a couple of little extra details that we can add. And that'll be eyeglasses and a bandana. I'm a bit skittish about drawing eyeglasses directly over this drawing because I put so much effort into it. So, what I want to do is to do them on a separate layer, and that way if I mess them up I can rub them out. So, let's do that. So, be careful not to draw these new layers, the eyeglasses and the bandana.
What I'm going to do is make the old layer a little bit opaque, and that way we can see more clearly what we're doing and how if affects the design of the other elements around it. So, let's put some glasses in. I like some- something nice, like that. And now you see, suddenly this character who I think at the beginning you were probably thinking, how is this guy looking like an old 1960s hippie type? I think now he's coming in to it.
And a lot of it is, you know, things like the glasses, the hair, the mustache. Take a few of them off and he starts looking like somebody else. The bandana is what I'm going to wrap entirely around the head, and this will give us the opportunity to make some changes to the hair. And you'll see how this affects the material property of the hair that it comes in contact with. Let me just tighten this up a little bit. So what I'm going to do on this layer is just redraw the hair, and then correct the hair on the layer beneath.
So, if the bandana is pinching the hair here we can expect to see something happen like that. And this hair that currently was floating free, is not going to do so anymore. And now it's being pulled in a bit so I think surely we would expect to see something like this happen and let the ear be completely in front of that hair as well. Trying to avoid tangents or anything like that. Then we have our points of origin for all these scraggly bits. So, I want to take care of this area here where the eyeglasses and the corner of the nose interact.
We don't want these to be fighting, So, they have to coexist peacefully. So, let's be sure we really are careful around here. And either have the glass cleanly in front of the nose or the corner of the nose cleanly in front of the glass. And we may need to move one or the other, and this kind of eyeglass issue is constantly a problem. I'm just going to select these. I'm going to cheat because I'm working on a computer, but if this was a physical drawing, we'd now have to rub this out and redraw it.
So, let's move the glasses up. I think that's the easiest of the two options. And then I'll deselect them. Go back to my pencil, and let's also clean up the perimeter of the glass. It's got some wreckage on it there. Notice now, since I moved the glass up, we now have a tangent with the crease line that was below the eye. So, let's move that up or down, and see which one works best. I think let's move it down.
It's got cleanly breeches there. And this is, the common problem that you have as you really begin to tighten a drawing, so not the kind of thing you want to worry about too much at the beginning or it'll just inhibit you, but as you begin to tighten the drawling, then these are the king of things you have to start looking at. That's looking pretty better, so now we have to go to the layer beneath and just erase out all the parts that are conflicting, and there's a part here that we need to delete.
And that's where the bandana moves in front of the eyebrow. Let's get rid of that. And now on the lower layer, I'm just going to go through and erase all these overlapping bits that are getting a little cluttery and then we can combine these two layers into one. Or, alternately, we could just keep drawing and do a more cleaned up version on this upper level. Okay, so that's pretty much it. We have our sixties hippie flower child, and so what we've done is try to integrate as many of the techniques that we've covered previously during the course.
I just want to flag a couple of things. Firstly, this is a rough drawing, but the focus on here was getting the personality of the character, not getting a really finessed line. That would require one more pass over this to really go in and pinpoint details and really work out stuff like the precise position of these creases and where does this line really begin and end. Little things like that, they add up. So, here you see, all that doesn't just work to create a quote, cool, design. The whole point about this drawing was to create a personality, a character.
So, I hope we succeeded in doing that. So, try to incorporate that procedure and that thinking process when you do your own characters.
Follow along with your favorite illustration program, your Wacom tablet, or paper and pen.
- Drawing gesture and attitude drawings
- Creating thumbnail drawings
- Understanding line of action, negative space, exaggeration, and more
- Drawing eyes and mouths
- Drawing feet and hands
- Drawing animals
- Going from rough sketch to full-color drawing