Do you wish you could have a cat with psychic powers, or your own Pegasus to ride through the skies?
Do you want to just curl up on the couch with a good book/phone/tablet and cuddle a dragon?
In your comics, your characters are going to be doing all sorts of actions. Maybe they’ll be eating a delicious sandwich, or diving into a pool, or relaxing on a beanbag playing some video games. But wait – how do we know how to draw them doing those things?!
We build up the drawing step-by-step!
Step 1: Gesture
With any action, it helps to start with a stick figure (or gesture) of that pose. Not sure how a pose looks? Get someone around you to pose for you and take a photo of them! You can also look up reference videos on Youtube if you’re not sure how to draw a certain movement (such as diving into a pool).
Remember: When you’re drawing your gesture, make sure to draw lightly so that you can erase it easily later on (or if you’re drawing digitally, draw on a different layer with lower opacity!).
Step 2: Structure
Once you have your gesture, it’s time to add the structure. These are the proportions of your character around the stick figure! How this looks will depend on your character design.
Again, you will want to draw this lightly, so that if you need to change anything you can do so easily.
When designing your character, try drawing them from different angles. You can then use that as a reference when you’re adding structure to your gestures!
Step 3: It’s Alive!
Once you’re happy with your gesture and structure, you can finish off your drawing! Ink it, colour it, live your life, be free.
This may sound like a lot of work for just one drawing, and it is! Well done for going through all of these steps. As with most things, the more you practice, the easier it will get. We promise.
The time has come for you to get your characters onto PAPER (or tablet!), using our Character Profile and Facial Expression sheets! What is your character’s ultimate goal? How does your character look when they’re sleepy? These sheets can help you work that out!
Don’t worry if you don’t have answers to all of the questions. They’re just there to help you think about your characters in a different way!
If you’ve been following along, you’ll have lots and lots of ideas for characters by now. The next thing to consider is the style you’ll draw them in!
Think of some ways that you could draw an eye:
Is one better than another? No! They’re just different styles of drawing.
Now think of a really well known character – we’ll use Wonder Woman as an example. Most people can imagine a version of her in their heads, but what is it about her that makes her distinctly Wonder Woman?
The answer is her character design!
She has recogniseable features – her tiara, her gauntlets, the lasso of truth, the stars that adorn her outfit, as well as a colour scheme of red, blue, and gold. The drawings above (by Darwyn Cooke, Bilquis Evely, and Marguerite Sauvage) show us that she can be drawn in completely different styles, but we can still tell that she’s Wonder Woman.
How can we tell? The trick is to balance detail with shapes and colours. Bilquis Evely’s drawing has no colour but lots of detail. Marguerite Sauvage and Darwyn Cooke’s drawings have less detail, but distinct colours and shapes (while still being totally different from each other). Style is a magical thing!
What details can you add or take away from your characters, while still making sure they look like that character?
Once a crime-fighting superfood team named Cauliflower Cheese, a horrible betrayal led to the Gruyère Goddess and Count Cauliflower becoming SWORN ENEMIES! And so, this week your task is:
There are a million billion different ways to come up with characters. Here are two of those million billion ways!
First up is an exercise we use called Person, Object, Place. All you have to do is choose one from each of the columns below, then draw that character! Easy peasy. You can get someone else to choose for you for an added challenge. You could also make your own list of people, objects, and places, then pick the options out of a hat!
This exercise also works well for coming up with stories, which we will be talking more about in the upcoming weeks. What would a ballet dancer be doing with a frying pan on Mars? Why is a footballer at an airport holding a rubber duck? The stranger the combination, the better!
Our second exercise takes inspiration from the foodimals of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – a masterclass in pun-based character design with gems such as cucumbirdy, shrimpanzee, hippotatomus, and many more! Again, choose one from each of the columns below, and COMBINE them into a strange new creature!
Here are some we made earlier. What do you think their pun names would be?
Here at DCCS, we follow the ABCD of drawing – Any Body Can Draw! All you need is something to draw with, and something to draw on. Do you need to already be a master comics artist like Jack Kirby, Bill Watterson, or Uderzo (RIP)? No! Every great artist started somewhere. So, without further ado…
Can’t find a ruler? You can make one by folding a piece of paper lengthways 3 or 4 times. This happens in workshops more often than you might think.
You can use basic shapes and lines to make all kinds of characters!
Here’s a challenge – think about what your character is feeling. Are they happy, sad, confused? How can different facial features help to emphasise their personality? Have a go at making:
A friendly character
An evil character
A stylish alien character*
If you need some inspiration, you can use our selection of facial features below!