2D Animation: How To Design Human Characters | Mike Ryan | Skillshare

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2D Animation: How To Design Human Characters

teacher avatar Mike Ryan, Traditional Animator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. How To Design Characters

    • 2. A Toon Boom Harmony Tutorial

    • 3. How To Set Up Your Animation

    • 4. What Is A Cartoon

    • 5. The Human Figure

    • 6. How To Draw A Cartoon Of A Man

    • 7. How To Draw A Cartoon Of A Woman

    • 8. How To Draw Arms And Hands

    • 9. How To Organize Your Animation

    • 10. Class Recap & Project

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About This Class

The first class will show you, from start to finish, how to create an illustrative caricature of someone like yourself. Throughout this specific class and the project you will be undertaking here, I’ll be teaching you how to design yourself as a character with some of the principles of illustration and caricature. This will include drawings of a man, a woman, and the arms and hands as well from various perspectives. These drawings will help you plan out your animation down the road in the classes ahead.




Meet Your Teacher

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Mike Ryan

Traditional Animator


Hello everyone, my name is Mike Ryan. I’m an old school animator who specializes in traditional animation. I’ve animated for over ten years creating short films, work reels, & small pieces incorporating character animation, effects animation, & storyboards. Sharing all that I’ve learned from my mentors to old school animators like yourself will be a rewarding experience. I look forward to having this time to show you the ropes through my animation tutorials here at Skillshare.

Mike Ryan attended the University of Central Florida from 2009 thru 2014, where he studied as an Experimental Animation major. His creative work has been awarded twice at UCF with the J.R. Hopes Scholarship for Animation and the Sony Scholarship.

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1. How To Design Characters: Hey, everyone. My name's Mike Line on Multiple Diameter, who specializes in traditional animation. I advantage for 10 years creating short films, work meals and small pieces incorporating therapy. A nation of examination insta reports. Sharing all divert for my mentors. Two old school animators like yourself will be a rewarding experience. I look for to having this time to show you the ropes through my animation to tour was here at school share. The first class of the series will focus on character design. This class will show you from start to finish how to create an illustrative caricature of someone like yourself throughout the specific class and the project. Your be undertaking here. I'll be teaching you how to design yourself as a character with some of the principles of illustration caricature. This role who drawings of a man, a woman and drying to theorist hands from various perspectives. These strong's will help you plan out your ammunition down the road in the class is ahead. This is the class and got. Students were either just starting off the medium for for students who already have some prior knowledge of the art form. This class is great for beginners, hobbyists and professional soon field because he can use these skills and you're understanding of therapy designed to create your own character with the principles of illustration through your distinctive artistic sensibilities, you can apply the skills to situations outside class characters of your own choosing. Brother is yourself so else or character out of your very own imagination. I encourage all of you to show your projects around here because we're all in the same boat reaching for the same goal. By the end of this course, you will be able to create cartoon characters of simple shapes basic understanding of the human figure. Not only will this class help you come up with if you're a visually appealing characters by alternate guide you in your animation, the classes ahead Thank you for dropping buying, and I hope you enjoy this class. 2. A Toon Boom Harmony Tutorial: it's time for another tune. Boom, Harmony tutorial. Click on the paint brush tool on the top left corner of the screen, choose a color and used the job down arrows to expand or hide the menus to refine them for both the color and brush menus. The top sider deterrents the size of the brush, while the second slider determines the smoothness of the brush. I personally prefer these numbers because it's thinner and the right amount of sweetness. Right here is the timeline. This is very plan and time or drawings, and above it is the Candace. This is where we're able to create our drawings for our animation. Since we do on the campus now, a block is filled in at the timeline. That means a drawing is created. This represents one fring. To extend the exposure of a drawing, you go to the animation tab on the top. Next go to sell, followed by extend exposure. If we want to extend it even further, all we have to do it. Just repeat the same process, like so to cut something we don't eat anymore. We just highlight over anything we want gone next, select the scissor button to cut them. Drawings are layers of their own. You can show or hide them for the eyeball image to the left of the name. You can even rename the wear by double clicking the name. You can also add or delete a layer by pressing the adverse attract button over here, select the kind of layer you want. In this case of drawing where in verifying when the pop up box shows up the life. All is so light table option here to whom functions as a digital light table. Were you able to see through multiple layers to bring an image to tune room, go to file import images and a pop up box for show up? I have it set so that the image is imported as it is, and that a new layer will be created with the image inside of it. Your timelines showed. Look like this. If the drawing to make on the first layer, then your reference image or images you import in the second layer. If each to drawing is a new block, the same applies for reference images to you can also see. I already have my reference image imported to the timeline, which is in its own layer and with the life ball. But in selected, I'm ready to draw on my drawing layer, which is above the reference image in the timeline with my colors decide I can easily switch. You can choose one, but for me I like to use more than one so certain parts that drawing can be seen visually. It won't hurt your eyes if it is always one color, so it sends out more like color pencils. And that's it for now to now for the next video lesson. Thanks for dropping in and see you later. 3. How To Set Up Your Animation: So now we're going to start our classes by first study of our animation. So let's start by creating a layer if there's not one already, so going create a layer with this budding will give us a list of options of what we want. All I want is to create a new drawing layer and do this drying layer will be doing our initial character design work. 4. What Is A Cartoon: What is a cartoon? Well, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is a drawing intended as sad time caricature for humor. Now you're probably wondering that there some very complicated way of going about this on how to make a caricatured illustration. Well, it's actually not that hard. It's quite simple, and our best example is the Walt Disney animated film Alice of Wonderland. Here you see the enemy to Mark Davis working with the voice actress, and here you can see how the amputees were able to pull it off. The staging of the scene were dictate to them how to draw the character. Here, you can see in these close ups the head remains the same, but the body and shrunken while in far away shots. The body is kept the same, but the head gets bigger when you see how the AM ears have done it. We've realize what an effective method they have in transferring the human figure into a character that contains an illustrated caricature quality to them. Kind of like how we would see Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt that their heads are bigger than their bodies or a character like, let's say, Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons. No matter of the design or style of the universe of that show or film, they all follow the basic principles of character design, all done through the distinctive artistic lens of the animator. Whoever they may be now drawing a cartoon version of the person does not mean we should abandon the principles of the human figure. On the contrary, we need that understanding of the human vigor to guide us in drawing our illustration or a caricature. Chuck Jones once said that Bucks boning does not look like an actual bunny and that they still use the principles of human design to help them design Bugs Bunny because in actuality, bugs Bunning is like a person by with a rabbit costume. He sure it's the same sensibilities as any other person. The same applies to when we draw our characters and bring them to life, use what we learned from our drawing classes or from our drawing books like by Christopher Hard or from George Bridgeman, and we use those lessons from those very books to guide us in constructing our characters. So I'm going to use a picture of mine as an example, I'm gonna begin for circle, followed by an access. I can rest the eyes and the nose during the chin, neck and the top of the head, keeping the head the same because that the weighing the shot is framed because to close up the heavy means the same. But the body will be smaller. So I have the square, the chest and I have part of the arms here. You can see that there's a difference in proportions. Fund the actual image to the ocean ation we just did. Now let's try a woman for the second example the same wall supply. We're gonna keep the head of Same as for the neck. Instead of making a thick like a man's, we're gonna make it a little bit thinner for the woman's for the chest. We're not going use square, but I used to trap destroyed instead. We didn't do the arms around here, and as for the Bresse, people tend to over exaggerate. Overdo them. But the correct approach is to do a subtle line. True, like not to make it extreme or over the top, make it so that it comes slightly underneath the arm and to me. It kind of have it stuff after it crosses over the border of the Trappist story. And there you have it. So now that we've gotten that out, the weighing for the next video lessons we're going to draw a man and a woman from various angles. 5. The Human Figure: If a hedge name an artist I would strongly recommend for the human anatomy, it would have to be George Bridgeman. Bridgeman is well known for how he composes and deconstructs the human body through simple shapes, perspective for and curved. It is an effective and simple way of conceiving the body. His drawings had a big influence on mean as I drew as student at the University of Central Florida. Now, at the time, I was honestly flabbergasted. I didn't know how to draw the human body, because when we see the human body and try to dry, we recognize it as a daunting challenge because the body is a very complex and intricate form to conceive of. That is where George Richmond's methods come in handy. As you can see, his methods are no different than from what animators like Preston Blair would use in their cartoon characters. They use basic shapes, form with them and curbs even when they're drawing very cartoony animals. Animators so applied their understanding of the human figure to their works, just like in figure drawing. We continue to refine it, and further we work it in order to better capture the essence and form of the body as seen in a shot bakes very effective method of constructing the human form, which helped me justice much as President Blair's and George Bridge Mints methods. Remember how we constructed and deconstructed spike to be? Well, let's construct and deconstruct the human figure now going to construct deconstruct the human body, using my drawings from UCF Days as reference. So let's start with some squares for the chest and head. We're gonna draw a circle for the hit, another circle for the head and the curve, which is the spine. I'm gonna draw a diamond here to symbolize the neck. I'm gonna draw these long ovals for the arms on dry. Any smaller circles for the palm of the head and small rectangles with fingers Brad more detail in addition to and the lakes which, like the arms, are like ovals with the circles being the knee. Let's try another one unknown draw the chest and hips again, this time from a three dimensional perspective circle being hip, I'm drying the curve for the spine and circle for the head. The diamond represents where the chin hits where the ears hit and where the forehead hits and now drying wrong ovals for the arms en long Goebbels, the legs drawing swallow ships, the fee and circles for the knees. It will be more detail here and there. Let's do another one. So none due to more squares here, The circle here and what Here you draw the curve of the spine dream or ovals for the ARBs ace. More detail like the back anymore. Ovals, the legs in addition to the circles, the knees and there at this point concede it's a pattern for me, the pattern being that the human body, this pie it's complicated and intricate for is really made out. Simple shapes. It's up to us. You see simple shapes to help us discover the four of the body. It only shows that the human body is not as daunting as we thought it was. In the beginning. Let's do a few more drawings. I'm going do more squares this time for a three dimensional perspective. I'm gonna draw the curve, the spying, this time for the head. Let's put the head in a cube. That way, the head can also being for the dimensional perspective and adding the diamond shape here to tell me where the chin is, where the ears go and where the forehead is. There draws some more ovals here for the arms and swallow circles. The hands and smaller rectangles fingers got at the breast here already, you can see that George Bridge wins. Methods are sharp bakes methods, and President Blair's methods are having an effect on our drawing. We now have a better grasp and understanding of the vocabulary of the human body. That's do you going more drawing again. I'm going, Do you the squares? From a three dimensional perspective, I had to circle for the head, the circle for the head. The diamond, which represents the points for eight years, are where the chin hoods and with the forehead meats in the ad ovals the arms and make the back more pronounced, adding the hands adding the waves. And by now you get the drill. You see that the shapes really do form the body in ways that we cannot expect, which I think is pretty cool, because Porter thought that who would have thought that a complicated, intricate form like our body can be composed of basic shapes? I think that's so awesome. I love that discovery. And with this very important discovery, we can use this to help us design our characters in the next video lessons in this class. 6. How To Draw A Cartoon Of A Man: So let's get started by drawing a man first, followed by a woman and then the arms and hands. First, the man on drawing circle, followed by an access, then a diamond shape to pinpoint where the ears and the parts the head go. I'm drawing the chin, fall by the eyes, the pupils in the eye wells. The nose is always agree importance to character because you know the old saying the nose makes character. So I like to make sure the nose, you know, captures the essence of the person in this case being me. So right now I'm adding the hair and the neck, followed by the smile. Any ears. As you can see from here, the eyes rest on the access. The placement of the ears can vary depending on where you want to have. For sometimes the ears can rest on the access, or sometimes it can fall between the eyes and the edge of the nose. I've seen anime restrict both ways. It all depends on where you're feeling for it. CME Gone now start adding the beer from that. Add more details around the around. The hair has been more of a weight to it. Giving some blush is on cheeks. At this point, I'm now we finding the drawing further, which I would say it's always necessary and required part of the animation process. As animators, we always refine our work no matter how we might feel about it, because further refinements will only make the product the thought of product much better. In my opinion, at least, the pupils. Of course, if you seen cartoons your noticed, sometimes they can be just black circles, you know, like Barney's eyes on The Flintstones. Or maybe like some of the other Disney cartoons, he might have a white circle. I like to add the white circle in him of these for this character to give him more of a personality. But there's other character set I would definitely prefer. The black dot approaches well. It's still a bit more detail here. Tech scene, just the face and those the 1st 2 drawings. Let's do another set, shall we? Enjoying the circles first, Then the axis, as you can see I dressed, drew a curve flying for the spine. The curve is a huge important part of the body. In the matter of its animal or person. The spine gives it the dynamic pose or action that we seek for the character. You're a little more about the curve in class and before which steals from gestures and how we do a gesture. Pass an animation. But just to repeat the curve line is very important when we create our characters because they give it a sense of action, of dynamic ability, that sort of thing in here. Um, I guess you can think of this as a preview for the future video lesson on the arms themselves, the arms, the kind of like cylinders Onley, these cylinders. They start big, but gradually but ever so subtly to get smaller. It gets smaller once he reaches the elbow, and it further gets smaller when I reach just a hand and here you can see me draw the back of the head. The back of the head or the back of anything can be hard at first because, you know, we tend toe, you know, draw characters that have bases right. Facial expressions were just different. If you're driving in the back because we don't have those features that can no guidance and drawing the figure. So this is where you know you're drawing experience come soon. You know, if you study drawing the human figure, that would help you in drying the person perspective when you're seeing from the back. Now we're definitely recommend George Bridgeman. His books are always a good read for drawing, as you can see on the other drawing we can see. Then we're applying the same approach as we learned from before, where the head it's the same. While the body has shrunken, which creates a caricature or an illustration, not simply a copy, give it some more detailed on the beard and the mustache. And just to make another pointing, I mention it's in the other class. I posted a while back, but the use of multi colored pens pains it's very helpful. It helps us see the drawing. It helps us pinpoint specific features. The drawing and just visually makes a drawing better. And there you have it for imposes of a man. Tune in for the next video lesson where we were draw for more opposes of a woman 7. How To Draw A Cartoon Of A Woman: Okay, so now that we've drawn in, then let's draw a woman now for this video lesson. So I'm gonna draw a circle followed by access here and the diamond to pinpoint the points of the head like the ears forehead in the chin. And now I'm gonna draw the chin, The nose and the eyebrows fall by the pupils in the eyelashes. The longer the eyelashes, the more cartoony is these. That's how I approach it. So the longer the eyelashes, the more cartoons it would appear to be. I'm drawing the chest from Trina like a upside down traffic story. Have triangles to help me draw the Preston. Now I'm drawing the arms for the woman's arm. See are thinner than the man's arm so it won't be a slick. Now I'm gonna draw the hair the hair In other anime characters like Ariel, your noticed that the top part of her hair they tend toe fall over the head almost like, um, it's hanging over the heads. I try to emulate that. You're see that there's like a shading that put on the top left portion of the hair to show that there's a shadow underneath that way else put if we get the other drawing a shadow, too, to tell us that there's hair behind her demanding some freckles here, and that's seem any more detail to hair to make it more waving. See, I'm fixing the neck vaccine, the collar. I'm I'm not liking where that arm is going on the left joint, so knowing them gonna have to. We do that drawing because it's not giving me what I want in the arm. So expect me to a place that arm in a few short moments after I do a little bit more refinement here. That's more detail here. You know, I took out the arms. I can you do it. And again, I emphasize the importance of you seem different colors to help us and character design. I personally like that because if we look at the same drawing, you know, if the same, um, color Lakers red or blue, then it just hurts her eyes. I like doing it while take color because it helps the image visually stayed out for a while , her eyes after we spent so much time on these drawings. Of course, when it comes to any meeting Once we clean up the image, we would have to use the same color. Which is why we're driven to madness for anime. Because when you look at the same seriously drawings over and over again, your dream to madness. Okay, let's try the second set of images here. Like before. I'm drawing a circle, followed by the diamond to pinpoint the features of the head and face chin, the eyes and nose and so on. You can see from the other drawing. I'm drawing the bag end of it. I like with the man. I'm drying it from the perspective for seeing the person from behind. So I'm trying the face so that we see just the grumps of the eyes, but nothing more, and maybe just a bit of the nose. So she's not quite stern bag as the guy waas, but still more or less in the back, just not as much as for the other side. You can see him dream or from the side perspective on drying the arms and, like I served the arms, they're like cylinders, cylinders that begin bigger. But as you go down, they get slightly thinner before reaches the hand I'm giving the character of Pony Toe, which was actually inspired by Judy Jetson from The Jetsons. I always like how she had the point until behind her. For me, it's like a pure sixties visual aesthetic that I like. So I put that in there. Any more details? Hair, pretty more detail in the point. Ella's well, I'm gonna finish off with the rest the body. I'm gonna start doing the head area and add more detail on stuff in the body, like the back of the arms seeing, which is fixed that me race that smile I wouldn't give a better smiled. War is subtle. Smile like that. We add the hand. Here you're learn more about the hand in the next video lesson about hands and arms. You know that I finished that I'm gonna finish the rest the hit by giving her address again a sixties inspired design, so to speak on. I won't say that's premature, like where the drawing is for both drawings, and that's it for those two. That said the four drawings. I like the top two more, particularly the one where it's just the face looking to us 8. How To Draw Arms And Hands: the hands and arms. Let's start with the arms. As I previewed in the previous video lessons, the arms began bigger. But as you go down the line down, fund the shoulder pad tol boetsch the hand. They get smaller or thinner, and then we draw the hands, which come by at the tip of think of them as like cylinders or cones. They begin wide or big gradually as we go down the line or the slide or her way. You would like to think of it. It gets thinner or smaller. Now let's try the hands, the hands like the body or composed of shapes. We began with square, followed by the fingers, which come out from the root. Does the square and the thinkers could be composed of rectangles that either go straight or curved, depending on how the fingers are. If they're pointing straight or if they're curved or pointing somewhere, the thumb is usually separate from those fingers that comes off to the side of the square, as opposed to the fingers coming out the top, and the thumb usually has two components. In contrast, fingers, which have three components as you can see it beginning of the thumb as we go up to the index finger on the little finger, the fingers gradually get taller with the middle finger being the peak. And then once we passed the middle finger and go down to the pinky, the fingers get smaller, wants more or shorter. I should say so before we call it a night. Let's do two more final hand drawings this time fun to different perspectives from the front and from the back. For these poses, I'm gonna draw the square in the three dimensional perspective point of view, which will help me draw out the hand from those angles. I always like to think of the hand in terms of geometrical shapes, purely geometrical, because the hand is a very intricate part of the body. Unlike the head or the chest of hip, there's a lot of parts, a lot of subtle parts, the hand that may get missed as we try to draw them out. So drawing the now in geometric shapes helps us so that way, once you get the basic form done, you can then round it off and use those contra lines of the shapes as a mark for where we can soften the features of the hand to give him more for death, await a perspective. That's why drawing out the shapes are always important to our character and our understanding of how the character moves and flows. That's a more detailed the fingers. I won't create the impression that the fingers are heading towards us, not away from us. As for the bag end of the hand, I won't give the impression that the fingers are further away from us not going towards us . And to give the impression that the thumb is closer to us, as opposed to the west, the fingers and if the hand drawings I've dressed on, I like thes to the most. And there you have it all the hand joins right here. 9. How To Organize Your Animation: So now that we've done 12 drawings in our character design class, we can now organize and put them away. So let's seem we have the 12 drawings here, so let's create a group or folder Phylum. This button again will give us the options of what we want to put in the time line. I'm going to choose Group the Group folder while Allah's to put our work in that folder. So let's name the group Class one character design now that we've renamed it, Let's also we name the Layer Let's call the layer simply character designed. Now that's been renamed. It's dropped the layer into the folder, and now it's in The folder will be doing this procedure and all of the nine classes to follow. So that way all of our work will be organized and easily accessible. Now let's put a lock on it. Don't tell us that's closed and locked up. And finally, let's savor work. So let's go to the top left quarter and press the safe button. It will ask us to give us a name for the file. So let's name this file how to animate yourself that way all the work that we will produce throughout these line classes can all be found in this file how to enemy yourself. So every five minutes, maybe even every minute, depending how you feel. Like I would save my work just in case. And sometimes the program can crash. And, you know, we I don't want that to happen. So always save your work whenever you can not dress at the end of your work. But during your work. That way, even if your program does crash all of a sudden, you will still have access to your most recent work with you. 10. Class Recap & Project: open. Thank you, everyone. Now that you have finished, the first class lets you a quick recap before we were before you dive into the class project. First, we learned what makes a cartoon human character in illustrative character. Secondly, we learned how to apply. Design met that such proportions appeal and caricature into our characters. And lastly, we learned how to incorporate some of the principles of human figure drawing before work. That all said, Let's talk about the project Ruby working on for this class. Our task would be to create eight drawings of ourselves in an ocean and caricature. Wait just like many examples, he started career in this class in total therapy. Eight drawings for moments for ourselves, man or woman from the waist up and former drives of your hands and arms screen. Calf your drawings and save them as either J pets or panties. The drawings can be screened, captured separately or all together. It really doesn't matter in screen cap. Then it would ever wait one. And finally just post your images here in the class Project gallery again. Thank you for dropping by and treated for the next class. See you later.