What exactly is ‘Characterfulness’?
To Kenneth Anderson it’s ‘bringing your characters to life so they connect with and move your audience.’ Character design goes beyond a character’s physical looks: their hair, clothes, size, height, etc. A huge part of the design process is portraying who they ARE as a person, what their personality is and how they express emotions and feelings. As Kenneth says, ‘How a character acts, performs and expresses themselves is what really defines who they are.’
If you want to learn how a professional artist goes about doing that, then hop on board this fascinating course! Kenneth explains all the essential concepts for creating expressive poses, gestures and expressions. He also shares loads of practical tips on drawing interesting characters, such as: how to draw hands, squash and stretch, balanced poses, facial anatomy and more!
At the end of the course, you’ll see how all these concepts can be applied to your artwork by watching a detailed demo of Kenneth designing a unique character and explaining his process along the way. Have fun!
Welcome to this course! In this introductory lesson, you’ll get an overview of what this course will cover, why this information is useful to know, what tools you need to follow along and other important details.
At the end of this lesson, Kenneth gives you your very first assignment to kick things off! Watch the video to find out more.
Discover Kenneth’s favorite brushes and why he recommends them. He also explains tips for how to stay loose while drawing to keep your characters from looking stiff and lifeless.
You’ll learn practical techniques for drawing both on paper and a graphics tablet, including how to rotate the canvas, create smooth, clean strokes and even how to move your arm correctly! Did you know that was a thing?
List of recommended brushes
A character’s performance (how they act and express themselves) depends on a couple of factors, the main ones being:
– Their personality
– Their mood or current emotion
– Their goal/desire
You’ll learn about each of these three factors and how they contribute to a character’s unique identity and make them stand out from others. Kenneth also shows lots of visual examples and presents clear comparisons to help you grasp these important concepts.
Having formerly worked as an animator, Kenneth found many foundational animation principles transferable and super useful when drawing lively, expressive characters. In this lesson, you’ll get a well-rounded explanation and practical demonstrations of these essential principles, such as Squash and Stretch, Exaggeration, Staging and Anticipation.
With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll be drawing fascinating and captivating characters in no time!
A character’s pose and gesture are the first things that an audience observes, communicating the character’s personality and ‘vibe’. The pose is the major statement, so it’s important to consider this aspect carefully when designing your character.
Kenneth discusses body language—the hands, expressions, the pose—and what they all say about the character. He delves into many tips for posing your character in interesting ways, such as weight distribution, breaking down your drawing into shapes, the Line of Action, and more!
Also, discover the ‘Warp Tool’ in Photoshop: a handy ‘cheat’ for quickly modifying your drawing.
Hands are such an integral part of body language and a character’s personality, that this entire lesson is devoted to learning about them and how to draw them. Unfortunately, they can often be tricky to tackle, … but no worries! Kenneth is here to help you out.
Not only does he explain the theory of hand gestures, what they communicate and tips to make them look expressive, but he also breaks down simple methods to actually DRAW a hand, which you can use starting today!
No matter how good the pose and gesture, you can’t have an awesome, expressive character without facial expressions!
In this video, Kenneth teaches the ins and outs of creating various expressions, including what part the eyes, eyebrows and mouth play in creating certain looks, such as puzzled, anxious or overjoyed. He demonstrates different expressions on the same character from various angles and uses shapes and the ‘Squash and Stretch’ principle to do so.
Now is the really exciting part: Applying all these concepts to a character which Kenneth creates from scratch.
He’ll walk you step-by-step through the entire development of an adventurous female pirate, from the initial sketch ideas to the fully colored illustration. You won’t want to miss this lesson!
Kenneth is a professional freelance character designer with 14+ years experience. Based in the UK, he has worked with companies like the BBC, Disney, Tandem films and Axis Animation. He also worked on Sylvain Chomet’s Oscar nominated film “The Illusionist” and the French feature Titeuf: Le film. His specialties are story-driven character-based illustration and design for a variety of mediums, in particular children’s television. In his spare time, he enjoys creating characters, illustrating magazines and making games.
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21 Draw is an online learning community where students of all skill levels can learn how to be a better artist. Our contributing artists and instructors are the best in the world.
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