Comic Book Character Design: The Making of E
What you’ll learn
How to establish the proportions, pose and placement of your characters with the mannequin model.
How to draw the underlying anatomy of your character so that you can accurately define the shape of their body and fit the costuming around it.
How to present the same character consistently from multiple angles.
How to establish a lighting scheme so that you can shade the forms throughout your character correctly.
How and where to drop in shadows throughout your character design.
How to use fine-lined hatches to render form.
How to use contrast to emphasize key areas of interest.
How to properly render a variety of materials so that they look distinct from one another.
How to ink the contours of your character design with slick, sharp and energetic line art.
How to enhance the readability of your design with tonal values and contrast.
How to compose an appealing color scheme.
How to build up the forms within your character using multiple lighting passes to give them increased depth and dimension.
How to use base colors as selection masks.
How to use adjustment layers to tweak the hue, contrast, saturation and brightness of your colors.
How to add warm and cool tones to your lighting so that it comes across as more realistic.
How to use reference images to inform the design and make your characters look more convincing.
How to energize your drawings with gestural line work that creates a sense of movement.
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The Best Ideas Don’t Let You Sleep
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d sit around with your friends spit balling ideas for comic book characters just for fun? You’d come up with cool super powers and abilities, give them quirky names and pit them against each other to see who would win. Maybe you’d draw them out in your scrapbook, or role-play with your pals in the backyard.
Till this day your imagination probably hasn’t let up either. Every now and then, you’ll watch a movie on Netflix, play a video game or read a comic book that sets off that same spark of inspiration. And that character you’ve just conjured up from the depths of your imagination keeps you up for the rest of the night, as you let the stories you dream of writing for them someday play out as a mental movie.
The best ideas don’t let you sleep. They linger. And at some point you’re compelled to do something with them. For us artistic types, that means putting pencil to paper and drawing them out. That’s the best way we know to process our thoughts and ideas so that we can share them with the world.
But what if the next time you put pencil to paper you were able illustrate that character like a pro? How much would it mean to you, if you had the ability to pencil, ink and color your characters like the comic book artists you look up to and admire most?
If you knew how, maybe you could turn that idea into something real.
Wouldn’t that be cool? Of course it would! Creating our own comic book characters and illustrating them like the pros would be a dream come true.
The Question is Though – Where Do You Begin?
There are so many steps in the process to creating a complete comic book character that the mere thought of attempting to do it yourself is utterly overwhelming.
What if you didn’t have to tackle this alone though? If you were given a complete guide that actually showed you exactly how it was done from start to finish would you put what you learned into action?
If your answer is yes, I think you’re going to like what you’re about to read next.
Because I’m offering you that very opportunity right now with my new character creator course, where you’ll learn the entire production workflow for drafting, designing, inking and coloring a complete character concept from beginning to end.
The demonstration featured throughout these lessons gives you an inside look into the making of ‘E’ an original character I created for an apocalyptic/sci fi action comic. Every aspect of her design was carefully crafted, each line intricately inked in with attention to detail, colored and rendered to present her with maximum depth and dimension.
You’re going to get to watch how it was all done through my eyes as I explain every part of the process along the way.
Why Learn From Me?
Before we talk about what this course is all about and what it has to offer you – I’d like to tell you who I am, why you would want to give me the time of day and what I can offer you as a teacher.
Because we all know that being a brilliant craftsman doesn’t equate to someone’s skill as a teacher. So what makes me such an exception?
The thing is, being a comic book artist isn’t my only passion. I also have a profound love for teaching.
Like drawing I wasn’t very good at it to begin with though. I was a shy kid growing up and avoided public speaking like the plague. So when I was offered a position at the university I’d just graduated from in 2010 I was stricken with terror.
I knew however what an incredible opportunity I’d been given career-wise. I also realized at this point the knowledge and experience I’d honed over the years didn’t have to stop with me. Now I could pass what I knew onto others and help them avoid the pitfalls and obstacles I’d already come up against.
I could become the mentor I’d wished I had for others. That made facing my fears of public speaking a worthwhile endeavor.
Over the years I’ve honed my craft as a teacher and practicing artist, walking the talk and teaching across multiple universities. I taught classes on a range of different topics including character design, digital illustration, and visual communication. Every time I walked into the classroom I was forced to rattle away the nerves, break down my process and explain every step of it throughout the demonstration.
Most importantly, I had to make sure that my students were able to implement what I was teaching and see a real improvement in their work, so that they could pass the class and I could keep my job.
Along the way I’ve helped countless students level up their skill-set both in the classroom and through my online courses. At this point I know the common problems students are likely to run into, and how to help them move past them. There’s only so many ways you can mess up a character illustration – and at this point I’ve seen them all, having battled through most of them myself.
And you know what else has happened since then?
It must be true when they say the best way to learn is to teach because my abilities as a comic book artist have absolutely skyrocketed.
The Purpose of This Course
What I’d like to do for you is shorten your learning curve, as I’ve done for so many others, by giving you a clear guide that’ll reveal what it takes to create a complete comic book character concept from start to finish.
Throughout the years, I’ve developed a specific workflow I follow every time to create compelling comic book characters which are captivating and memorable. I’d like to share that with you in this course so that you can use it to create your own.
In short, you’re going to get the complete process I use for producing a comic book character design, unpacking everything my drawing, inking and coloring workflow entails. Best of all its repeatable. So you’ll be able to put everything you learn throughout this course straight into action to create your own epic comic book characters.
Why You Can Actually Do This!
Now, at this point you’re probably thinking this sounds like a great deal – BUT there’s no way in the world you’re going to be able to pull off a character with the same level of quality.
It’s intimidating, I get it.
You’re right. At least for now. Learning how to produce a character to the standard you’ll see demonstrated in this course is going to take time, practice and dedication. You won’t magically be a pro just from watching a few videos. But when you take this course, make no mistake – you will know how it’s done. You’ll know what the process entails.
All you got to do then is implement it.
The rest is up to you. Unfortunately I can’t force you to put what you’re going to learn here into action. I can’t make you practice it over and over again until you’ve processed all that knowledge and fully integrated it into your approach to character creation.
But I can promise that if you do – the kind of characters you’re illustrating a couple months from now will be on a whole new level to the character’s you’re able to create today.
I know that for a fact – because I started out the same as you.
Did I Mention I Have No Talent?
I wasn’t born with a natural talent; I had to learn this stuff just like you. That’s not a humble brag, it’s the truth. When I was coming up in the game, there were no courses out there that gave you the full scoop on how to draw, ink and color a complete comic book character. I had to put those pieces together myself, and I sucked at it at first.
The incredible thing about honing your skills as a comic book artist is that you can be as good as you want to be. It all comes down to how much time you’re willing to put in. And if you care enough about mastering that which you’re most passionate about, you’ll do whatever it takes.
Your learning doesn’t stop with the content in this course. 80% of the success you’re going to see after taking it will come directly from you – as long as you do something with it.
So to help you apply all the techniques and methods I’ll be sharing with you, I’ve included assignments that you’ll complete along the way so that by the end, you’ll have produced a full color character design you can be proud of.
That all said, here’s the full course outline and what you’re going to learn when you enrol:
Foundations: Give your character design the best chance of success right from the start by establishing a solid foundation that upholds the fundamental principles every well drawn character is built upon – proportions, pose and placement. You’ll see how the same figure (and head shot) is constructed from multiple points of view so that you know how to draw them from the front and back three quarter angles.
Character Design: Once we’ve got a sturdy foundation to build our character upon, we’ll sketch in their anatomy and pencil out the design draft on top. This is my favorite part of the whole course because it’s where we really get to exercise our creativity and come up with a character design that’s captivating and most importantly – memorable. You’ll also learn how to create consistency from one view point to the next, so that you know exactly how they’re going to look no matter what angle you’re drawing them on.
Inking: After we’re done with the rough draft it’s time to cement our idea in ink, using sharp, slick, energetic line art. We’ll begin by outlining the primary contours that define the character design, applying line weight variation for a more dynamic, visually appealing contour.
Next we’ll drop in the shadows to suggest the overall lighting scheme, describe form and create contrast between the various materials featured throughout the character design. This step is key to breaking them up with varying levels of dark and light value, creating a greater level of readability and impact on the page.
Then we’ll push the depth of the character even further using fine-lined hatches to render out the forms, materials and textures for added definition – completing the inking stage and leaving us with a crystal clean line art presentation for our character design.
Coloring: The final portion of the course is dedicated to coloring, and in the remaining lessons, you’ll learn how to compose an appealing color scheme for your character that compliments their design. We’ll discuss color theory and psychology, along with the technical considerations such as the layer hierarchy, brushes and settings used throughout the process.
I’ll share my favourite methods for rendering forms and materials with realistic shading and lighting, using adjustment layers and blending modes to create a vivid presentation that makes the character pop right off of the page.
Project Files and Digital Art Brushes
Along with the lessons themselves, you’ll also receive the PSD files and digital art brushes featured throughout the demonstration, so that you can go back through these documents for yourself to see how everything was organized and composed.
And as I mentioned already, you’ll also get accompanying assignments for you to complete as you go through the course, so that by the end you’ve got a complete comic book character design sitting right there in front of you – that you can use in a portfolio, gallery display or comic book.
The great thing is you can watch these lessons on your desktop, mac, or portable device of your choosing, at your own pace and convenience. You can go back through each chapter and recap on the information given throughout the course as many times as you need to make sure you don’t miss a second of insight.
Couldn’t You Learn All of This On Youtube For Free?
Okay, this is all good and well, but couldn’t…