Look: The Secret To Drawing Characters Consistently & Expressively
I noticed that all of my favorite animators had mirrors on their desks.
When I was a kid, I used to wait anxiously for the “Making of” TV specials that aired when a new animated Disney Feature Film came out. I taped these shows VHS style (marked each one boldly “DO NOT TAPE OVER!”) and would watch and re-watch them until the pictures got crackly.
This is a very great tutorial for beginners who want to learn from a really skilled person.
I figured if I wanted to be an animator (and boy did I want to!), I had better learn how to do this. So I put a mirror on my drawing desk in middle school and it stayed there throughout college. (It’s not there anymore, but I do still make weird faces when when I draw, and even when I write! )
Most people want a tip to be quick and easy–what’s one easy thing I can do today that will help me lose 25 pounds by the time I go to the beach next month?! Well, I can’t give you a tip like that. Mastering drawing takes thousands of man-hours. How much time have you spent studying your craft? And I don’t mean just drawing the same thing over and over again from memory or another person’s drawing. I mean studying life. I mean drawing your family while they’re watching TV. Drawing your own funny expressions in a mirror. Drawing strangers in a mall food court.
When it comes to designing characters, I don’t spend much time in the sketching phase. I spend most of my time developing characters in the writing stage. By the time I set down to finally draw them, I can already ‘see’ them clearly in my mind and I ‘know’ them–I know what they are and what they aren’t. So it just comes down to making one great drawing that captures their personality–a drawing I can look at and say, “Yeah, that’s him!”
How I do it is a hard thing to explain, because I don’t think about it anymore. It’s reflex and muscle memory at this point. But I can tell you how I learned to do it.