We tend to get caught up in the details. Blank Figure Week is an attempt to force us to look past the details that make up a character and concentrate on the basic underlying figure beneath.
Artwork by artists Koi Carreon and Violaine Briat. These two artists have very different styles but their work share an important feature: These characters are drawn in a way that suggests personality. Each character has a distinctive pose, costume, attitude, and/or expression that suggests they have there own thoughts, desires, and back story.
Character Designs by Akira Toriyama.
I was an avid anime watcher until I was about 10, when I moved to manga. I think I am influenced by Osamu Tezuka’s and Walt Disney’s works which I watched during that time, such as Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy) and 101 Dalmatians.
– Akira Toriyama, on his early influences.
Character artwork by comic book artist Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Ten years ago, O’Malley published the first of six books in his Scott Pilgrimseries, where the callow young man of the title fights for his aloof dream girl against an alliance of her “evil exes,” in a Toronto governed by the language, iconography, and logic of 16-bit video games. The director Edgar Wright adapted it into a movie that disappointed at the box office but constitutes a sizable fraction of all Tumblr content, and O’Malley seems to accept that outcome serenely. You can recognize the blithely witty banter of Scott Pilgrim in Seconds, but it’s a stand-alone graphic novel, indebted to the rounded, stylized figures of cartoonists like Rumiko Takahashi and the landscapes laid out in modern European comics, rather than the adventure manga his previous work suggested. It’s a book restless in scope yet quotidian in scale, an existential fable.
– Intro to a Q & A with Bryan Lee O’Malley at Slate (Link)
Here are some very abbreviated notes and images relevent to the work we’re doing in class the week of January 19th. We’ll take a closer look at this work in class and pick out the strategies and techniques these artists used and how we can apply them to our own drawings.
Fabien Mense is a French artist who has worked in comics and animation. On his website‘s About Page, he introduces himself thusly:
Sometimes I’m a comic book author (Agito cosmos/ the Tikitis), Sometimes I’m a visual developement artist in the animation industry (Marathon media, Method film, Sony Pictures Animation …). I live in Paris, France and my frenglish is absolutely amazing. I’m always interested on new collaborations and projects.
In class we’ll take a good look at his character design work and try to figure out some of the strategies he uses to create such appealing and emotive character designs. Later in the semester we’ll take a look at his French language comic Agito Cosmos and study his page layout and composition techniques.
Here we go with yet another set of character artwork created by a varied group of artists. The work ranges from fast and loose sketches to finished colored artwork; take a look at each image and think about the way each artist has their own set of techniques and materials they use to create their own unique look. Some of these characters are original creations by the artists, while some are examples of fan art- drawings of other artist’s characters. One of these artists (Ian JQ) actually supplies the voice for a character (Wallow) from the show he works on.
Here we go with another set of character artwork created by a varied group of artists. The work ranges from fast and loose sketches to finished colored artwork; take a look at each image and think about the way each artist has their own set of techniques and materials they use to create their own unique look. Some of these characters are original creations by the artists, while some are examples of fan art- drawings of other artist’s characters.
Make sure not to forget about the first set of Character Art posted earlier.
Before the winter break we had spent quite a while working on our cartoon figure studies; now that we’re back we can begin to move deeper into the art of character design. For the next few weeks we’re going to fill page upon page with scribbles, sketches, and finished drawings all with one goal: to find memorable characters. Through frequent sketching (the best type of artistic exercise), artists let their minds wander and test out new ideas . Over time, bits and pieces of these various ideas can begin to coalesce into an idea worth nurturing. That will be our goal through January and into February.
As we’ve talked about in class, ideas and inspiration can come from any source; the books you read, the movies or videos you watch, the games you play, the people and places you see around you in your life- all of these can contribute to your art.
Also important, is looking at other artist’s work. There is a lot that an artist can learn in this way; carful observation of technique or consideration of the types of materials another artist uses can get you thinking about your own work.
In this post, I’ve collected some examples of work from a wide ranging group of artists who work in comics, illustration, animation, and video game design. Look carefully at their work and think about the different styles, techniques, and materials these artists used; keep in mind that these artists were also all inspired by the work of other people and that is reflected in their own development as an artist.