Here I’ll show you the sources, tools, and methods I use for understanding the anatomy of certain kinds of creatures that must maintain a consistent proportion in books. I’ll also demonstrate how I take the gesture and shape drawings that I made of my character previously, and apply structural anatomy and proportion to the design to further refine my sketches. You’ll learn about methods and materials that you can apply to your own characters as we move through this next step.
- Anatomy in proportion convinces the viewer…that your invented creature is real and believable.…So let's take a look at two projects I worked on,…a My Little Pony book, The Dragons on Dazzle Island,…and the development of the Pan character.…We'll start with a My Little Pony picture book project…as I needed a really dependable form to rely on…for the pony anatomy.…I'd drawn some sketches of the character…from front and side and back,…which is critical for the pony characters.…Because they're iconic, they have to be consistent,…they're a brand,…I decided that the sketches weren't enough…and asked my daughter if she would create an armature…covered in silicone, it's basically a wire structure…covered in silicone that would be bendable and movable…and practically speaking this really helps me…see this character from any angle…and still get the proportions correct.…
And again, for pony that's really important…and in this sketch you can see a lot of times…the ponies stand on their legs like people…and so I had to try to figure out what would that look like…
Mary Jane explains how the components of good character design can be broken down into concrete elements. She shows how body shape, posture, anatomy, facial expression, costume, color, movement, and abstract aspects like archetypes and environment bring a character to life. The lessons are illustrated with examples from Mary Jane's books, as well as famous, heart-warming characters created by a group of extraordinary character designers.
- Capturing the heart and soul of a character
- Using the right tools
- Relying on archetypes
- Adding motion
- Painting shapes and silhouettes
- Understanding anatomy and proportion
- Creating easy-to-read facial expressions
- Coloring your character
- Designing a cast of characters
- Making fantasy creatures believable
- Going from 2D to 3D