Character Designing

One of our projects this week was looking into character design in a bit more depth, with the help of Pen Mendonca, who told us a little bit about what she does in terms of educational illustration. She showed us some examples of strong characters, and we talked a little bit about what sorts of things made a strong character; we came to the conclusion that it was complexity, a sort of ‘grey area”, that made characters seem the most realistic and authentic. Having used the Stanislavsky 7 questions in our previous class to try and flesh out characters, this class built on that idea significantly. Here is an example of some character poses I did for my librarian character, Millicent Quark:

As you can see, she has a penchant for organisation and red lipstick! I wanted to add some depth to her character, as I felt that she was a little 2-dimensional, so this class was a very useful one for me.  Our class wrote out character descriptions and then passed them on to students further round the room to draw out and elaborate on. There was a mixed response to this – I found it strange having a character in my head created by someone else, but it was interesting to see how my description was portrayed, and other students suggested that it was actually less pressure to draw to someone else’s brief. Some of the animal characters became human, and vice versa, and things got very complicated when we started adding friends and enemies into the mix.

Character design being one of my favourite parts of the process, I really liked this class and the exercises we did. Maybe Bob has some potential yet…




Life Drawing: Light and Shadows

This week at life drawing, our model posed with a variety of different props with his favourite seeming to be a black fedora. I have been working on making my drawings look more three dimensional, as Vanessa pointed out to me that I have a tendency to draw my lines down very definitively meaning my objects don’t have as much structure as they could have. I think it’s definitely a habit informed by my background as a cartoonist, rather than a fine artist! The circle technique proved really helpful to me, so I used this as much as possible (though I still draw heads first, a cardinal sin. Sorry!) As well as using as much construction as I could, I also took the time to shade my drawings properly, as you can see here:


I hadn’t previously given much thought to adding shadow to my other drawings as I was more focused on the outlines and basic shapes. This time, I focused a bit more on light and dark, muscle tone and anatomical definition which meant I felt that my drawings improved lightly. I do feel like, when it comes to life drawing, practice makes perfect, or at least makes better! I was quite pleased with the drawings I came out with this evening, as they showed a bit more accuracy but retained my style at the same time which is one of my objectives. I’m definitely feeling more positively with regards to anatomical drawing!

We Become Film Makers!

One of our projects this term – a rather unusual project in fact – has been to shoot and edit together a two minute chase scene film. Our group decided to shoot on campus, as it would make the most sense for us, and after writing out some story boards to plan our scenes we decided to cast Melissa as our starring role, along with a friend of mine to play her stalker. I also had a brief cameo as her friend in the first scene!


Our film followed a student as she left campus late at night, being pursued by a sinister-looking hooded figure who, as it turned out, just wanted to return her student card to her. (Or did he?) Our main problems as film makers stemmed from the issue of light; because we needed darkness to film our scenes, we were limited to very specific times, as well as having to think about our location with regards to how much light could be seen. This meant that we filmed quite intensively over the course of two separate days, shooting about ten or fifteen scenes at a time. Here’s an action shot:



What we learned over the course of making this short film was the importance of angles and exposition in creating a suspenseful piece of work; we tried to vary our camera angles as much as possible, using POV camera as well as long shots to add a bit of interest to the film. Finally we edited everything together using Premier Pro and added suspenseful music, before screening it for our class. I was really impressed with the range of stories our class created in their separate groups, with all of us taking “Chase Sequence” in a slightly different way. Here’s a link to our short film that I’ve posted on my Vimeo:


All in all a fun project, and a first-time foray into film making!







Spongebob Construction Theory: Character Design Workshop

This week was character design week, something I was really excited for as this is what I would ideally like to go into professionally once I’ve graduated. CSM graduate Josceline Fenton gave us a great talk detailing her experience in the industry, both in comics and in advertising for Felix and Virgin Media among other things. She also did work for Steven Universe and Cartoon Network, which I thought looked really impressive! Her talk was mainly focused on the idea of mimicking other people’s styles, which I definitely need to work on. It is a strange concept to me as I don’t think of it as being as creative, but I understand that in the industry you often have to take pre-designed characters for projects more often than not! Here are some of the designs I attempted:




Spongebob proved to be a hard nut for me to crack, despite having watched him religiously since a child; from memory we all struggled to recreate his expressions, meaning we had to look at his character sheet for a bit of help:



Who knew that Spongebob Construction Theory would be the title of one of my scholarly worksheets? Finally we had a go designing our own original characters and passed them to a friend to try and replicate. This was a really fun exercise, though not an easy one! We all have such different styles and trying to mimic them was quite the challenge, though one I really enjoyed. I’m fully qualified to construct my own Spongebob anytime…