Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Letting the characters loose

I've been uptight for a few months. Loads of deadlines and the pressures of family have stifled my creative spirit. So when I sat down today to sketch some new characters not much happened. Tony's advice in these situations (Tony Champ is my art/illustration mentor) is to scribble very loosely. Just sketch random stick figures dancing and jumping all over the place. Don't aim for any particular pose. Just see what evolves.

In Tony's demos he begins with a blue colouring pencil and sketches a figure, then shifts to a red pencil and moves the figure to a different position, then green etc. It is similar to animating the character. When he's finally happy with a pose, he sketches over the lines in a black pencil or ink.

Here's an example:

Do you see how this little character just jumped out of the colour scribbles? Cute isn't he?

Here's another one:

Perhaps he's a victim planning his revenge. He certainly looks grumpy.

Ok, my turn to have a go.

I have to let those characters loose, relax my attitude and not be too hard on myself. Then my first happy little character danced onto the page... Minus hands, but nevermind.

You can hardly see the blue lines I drew and that's the beauty of the blue line. They seem to recede when you draw over them and nearly disappear when photocopied or scanned. This can benefit the artist who feels restricted by the darker line. The blue line lets you make mistakes and be free! Then when you're happy with it, go over it in a darker medium.

My next sketch evolved into a ballerina exercising. Don't ask me why. It was the scribble muse...

What happened after that was a surprise. The character I had been looking for and wishing for climbed onto the page and up the apple tree, where she began to swing her legs and read a book. Finally a character I could work with. Do you want to see her?

Where's the apple tree?

This blog post is about letting characters loose not trees.

Maybe next week.

Here she is:

You still want the tree?

What? You're hanging out for it?

So was she...


Anonymous said...

Wow, these are gorgeous! I love this technique. I'll make sure to try this next time I feel stuck. If I'm having trouble getting into drawing, I often tell myself "I'll just do 5min", then I'll usually find myself still scribbling an hour later. Works every time :)

I love your girl up the apple tree - so cute (and so much personality). Can't wait to hear her story...


Anonymous said...

Great post, Angela.

And I love the sketches - they are so cute. Looking forward to hearing the little girl's story.


Anonymous said...

Haha, I loved reading that, Angela. And seeing the final drawing - she had a lot of character already in her face and body language.

Michelle Macwhirter said...

This makes me want to DRAW!!! How I wish I had that talent. You're amazing! Can't wait to see this in print.

Karen said...

Angela, Just love your loose sketches. They just get better and better as I scrolled down. You have a real talent.
Cheers, Karen Tyrrell:))

Anonymous said...

Hi Angela,

I just LOVE these! So much character. And what a great technique. Will definitely have a play with this. Thanks for this post. Beautiful stuff.

Angela Sunde. said...

Thanks Kath, I'm looking for a couple of characters to use on my website. I think she might be one of them.

Thanks Dee and Michelle, she's not in a story yet, but you never know where she will pop up.

Thanks Sheryl and Karen,yes, you can see I improved as I kept sketching. I was almost in tears before then. So I wanted to share the process with you.

Thanks Lynn and Kath, the technique was developed by Tony when he was working as resident illustrator for the Courier Mail and Sunday Mail. It helped him meet his deadlines. Seems to work.