Animal Character Design for Picture Book Illustrators | Nina Rycroft | Skillshare

Animal Character Design for Picture Book Illustrators

Nina Rycroft, Picture Book Illustrator

Animal Character Design for Picture Book Illustrators

Nina Rycroft, Picture Book Illustrator

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10 Lessons (1h 19m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Blind Drawing: Phase 1

    • 3. Blind Drawing: Phase 2

    • 4. Blind Drawing: Phase 3

    • 5. Observational Drawing

    • 6. Caricature Design

    • 7. Mind Mapping Ideas

    • 8. Sketching Ideas

    • 9. Final Character Design

    • 10. Adding Colour & Shadow

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About This Class

Animal Character Design for Picture Book Illustrators – Techniques and tips for designing characters with a narrative.

In this class, award-winning picture book illustrator Nina Rycroft shares techniques, tips and tutorials for effective story-driven animal character design. Inspired by Nina's latest picture book This Is The Dog and her Draw-a-Dog-a-Day 100-Day Project, Nina will walk you through the fundamentals of animal character design.

Nina will be demonstrating techniques with the help of her chihuahua Valentino, but you're more than welcome to use your own four-legged friend. With a focus on dogs, our besties will help shed light on the fundamentals of animal character design. 

In this class, you will …

  • Learn how to move away from reference and closer to your unique style.
  • Explore, experiment and design animal characters.
  • Sharpen your observation skills.
  • Learn how to ‘build’ animals characters using shape, proportion and placement.
  • Learn the art of caricature design.
  • Learn how to develop and apply a narrative to your animal characters.

In this class, Nina will walk you through... 

  • How to distance yourself from ‘copying’ reference by using a three-phase blind drawing exercise.
  • An observational drawing exercise, drawing the front view and ¾ view.
  • The essentials in caricature design
  • A mind-mapping process – brainstorming ideas for an animal character design with a narrative
  • Sketching ideas – in a series of thumbnails sketches
  • Designing and drawing your final animal character illustrations
  • Adding colour, texture and shadow

Whether you’re creating character design concepts for a book, a comic or a series of greeting cards, what you learn in this class can be applied to any animal character.



As you progress through the lessons, the skill level increases from beginner to intermediate. Please keep in mind that this class is more about the process and development of ideas more than the finished illustration.

Nina will be using Procreate, on her iPad and an Apple Pencil. Basic Procreate knowledge is necessary to complete the ‘Pictures and Words project for this class. If you are new to Procreate, you may find Nina's Learn how to Use Procreate to Design and illustrate a Bear Character class helpful.

Feel free to use an HB pencil and printer paper to complete the exercises, Nina recommends using Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil 2mm

Interested in character design? 

Below is my series of Skillshare classes that walk you through the entire process of how to illustrate a character from start to finish. Use this series to either brush-up on a particular skill or work your way through, for a comprehensive guide.

Nina's Skillshare Character Design Series

  1. Face Facts: Beginners Guide to Drawing a Self Portrait
  2. Face Shapes: Draw a Series of Character Using Simple Shapes 
  3. 101 Guide to Drawing Eyes
  4. Emoji Me: The art of Facial Expression
  5. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part One
  6. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Two
  7. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Three
  8. Draw a Circus of Characters: Exploring Body Shape and Proportion
  9. Draw a Circus of Movement: Simple Techniques to Bring Characters to Life
  10. Draw a Circus of Line & Gesture: Design a Picture Book Character From Start to Finish
  11. Watercolor Magic: One Character Five Ways
  12. Illustration Masterclass - Exploring Technique and Style
  13. Learn to Use Procreate: Design and Illustrate a Bear Character

Meet Your Teacher

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Nina Rycroft

Picture Book Illustrator


Please link up, subscribe and follow me on: Facebook I Instagram I Pinterest I Website

Hi! I'm Nina Rycroft, a picture book illustrator. I worked as a graphic designer in Sydney and London before turning my hand to illustration, with my first picture book Little Platypus received a CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) Notable Book Award in 2000. Since then, I've had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, winning some awards along the way. 

If you're interested in learning how and design and develop character, illustration techniques and picture book illustration, then please follow me...or even better...try one of my classes :)

My dozen or so Skillshare... See full profile

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1. Introduction: So in this class you'll learn the ingredients needed for effective animal character design. You'll learn how to sharpen your observational skills and you'll learn the importance of story when it comes to designing any kind of character. You'll also learn new approaches to concept sketching and fundamentals of caricature design. And finally, we'll be using our rough sketches, adding detailed design and gesture to create a final story-driven animal character. So my name is Nina right craft. I've been illustrating picture books since I was awarded the Children's Book Council of Australia notable book back in 2 thousand. And since then I've had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, including award winning picture book can stay production, boom, Bang, Good dog, Hank, and Poker, which was a Yarborough award winner in 2013. So most of my books have animal characters in them, which is why I'm so excited about this class. My latest picture book, this is the dog written by morphine and published by Scholastic, released the first of February 2021. And the star of this book is a dog, animal character. The most important thing about designing believable characters is story. So while I walk you step-by-step through the process of how to design animal characters. I'll be sharing with you the fundamentals of animal character design. And we'll be using the help of our four-legged friends. So in this animal character design class, we'll be focusing on dog characters. In this introduction, I'll share with you why dogs are so popular in picture books. I'll also share with you how I prepared for this is the dog picture book with my 100 day project, which was called Draw a dog a day for 100 days. The reason why dogs are so popular in picture books are mainly because of their personality and humor, but also because of the many different character possibilities that you get with all the different dog breeds. They have a diverse range of shapes and sizes. And dogs are often a child's first true friendship. Dogs also offer an opportunity to tackle big universal life lessons like love and kindness, fear and loss in a way that a child can relate to. And something that's really interesting for an illustrator is that certain dog breeds have innate characteristics that people can relate to. For example, a sturdy bulldog, push poodle, feisty Jack Russell, just naming the breed conjures up a possible personality for that character. Before we move on, I'd like to share with you why I decided to take on my drawer, a dog, a day for 100 days project in the hope that it might inspire you to do something similar. Initially, I used this 100 day project as a warm-up for my This is the dog picture book project. It ended up being so much more than that. So the 100-day project was my opportunity to get really familiar with my iPad and all the brushes, the colors, and that sort of thing. It also allowed me to explore different illustration styles and different techniques over a longer period of time. The 100 day project also allowed me to explore and find the perfect dog character from my up-and-coming picture book. This is the dog. It allowed me to explore character and it also gave me an opportunity to relax into a daily drawing routine. And with that daily practice, I got to flex that creative muscle. And I also learned how to work faster and smarter. But one of the most important things that I got out of doing the 100 day project was accountability. I was so scared to post that first drawing. And by the end of it, I got really used to sharing my work and my journey with others. The 100-day project warm-up also helped me find the fun I could play, explore, experiment. And through all of this, I really got to nurture and grow my illustration skills. So by the time it came to doing the picture book, this is the dog. I was so, so ready. Part of my 100 day project was to have a story element. One word that would sit alongside the dog character. So for example, loud, quiet, tip, toe, woolly, wild, high, low. I had written what was essentially a poem before I started the drawings. And then each day I would just approach one word that would inspire the character for the dog that I was going to draw that day. The idea of using pictures and words also applied to my up and coming picture book. More AF_INET written about how young girl had come across a dog. She introduces herself to the dog office in a blanket and some food, then snuggle some tally up on her knee and sees what no one else could see. Along with a manuscript, Moore had left some instructions for me, saying a collection of pictures and words representing the dogs positive qualities. This was the perfect opportunity not only to develop the dog character, but to also build a relationship between the girl and the dog. So here are some of the pictures and words that I came up with. The dog was brave and I thought it would be fun to have the dog and the girl dressed up as a king and queen, reading fairy tales stories and the dogs looking quite scared, the dog is loyal. And as soon as I heard the word loyal, I thought of a police officer. The dog was funny, handsome, and clever. So you can see how really leaning into these words with the images of the girl and the dog. Story is a key ingredient to any effective character design, which is y. Final project for this class is an image and word project where you'll be illustrating adult character with a narrative. I'm really passionate about story and sharing everything that I know about designing animal characters. And I can't wait to get started. So let's get to it. 2. Blind Drawing: Phase 1: So welcome to the first lesson of the animal character design for picture book illustrators class. In this lesson, we'll be doing a series of blind drawings. This is the first of three. And the reason for doing that is that you're moving further and further away from the reference. So from the reference will be doing our first blind drawing. Then from that blind drawing will create a more finished character design. From there, we'll then do another blind drawing from that first character design. And then we'll follow the same process again. And that second blind drawing, we'll create a second more finished character design. We'll then do a blind drawing from this. And then finally, we will be doing final character design from the third blind drawing. So you can see how this process moves you further and further away from the original reference. And in that process, you can design and have some really happy accidents and designed some really unique fun characters. I'm about to do a blind drawing of a French bulldog. So not looking at my page that I'm drawing on, and this could be ordering pencil and paper. I'm going to be using my iPad. Use editing that you're comfortable with. These are just sketches and it's more about the technique and process than the actual finished product. So this is my principal Dog. I'm going to have it to the left of me and I'm using monoline calligraphy and just using black. I'm going to start off with the heat, I think, which is quite dish squared and you can see how loose and how loose it all is. Yeah, nothing to finish. Just getting to look at the shapes of everything really. That's the main, the main thing that I'm looking at doing is these shapes that are coming up from just scribbling them in and getting used to it. So it's quite straight lines actually in triangular shapes. So we have a back legs situation is a little bit, but I think I am pretty much done with my blind sketch and you can see how rough it is, but it's a starting point. So I'm going to move away from my reference. And the whole idea of this is to move further and further away from the reference. And you'll start finding things that you want to exaggerate and change. So intrasite, tending that reference on his head, I'm now going to make this layer. And I might say 20% capacity, create a new layer. And I'm also going to go back to 6B pencil. So I like the idea of this shape here. And we're starting to get some shapes can happen. And it was a bit of an arch here. Definitely, with a couple of other things going on here. So I'm just truncate the same, not really sure how to do this chin thing. I do like the lower i on this side, so I'm going to keep that on both sides. Maybe the around, maybe got it. That looks quite good. And then I'm going to draw almost like a socket area here. And then I'm going to draw the, the head differently more angles. And I thought originally just by doing the blind drone was able to, to say that. So now might be a bit big. Let's have a look like this year as much. So I'm just gonna get rid of it and do a similar to that one. So I'm going to start with the NIC. And here you're moving down and around. And this was a strange area. This was kinda like the chest mates did their own thing as well. And this sort of circled under. And what surprised me was how solid and straight these legs were. There was one here, one here. Just keeping them simple shapes at the moment. And this literally went straight up. Trying to join that with that. And then we had the hind leg with the foot tucked under. So we didn't really see much of that. Let's have a look. I think I'm happy with that. Some kind of white area that I can make an a may be big O of something here. So I think it's time now to do that needs to line up. And so this is my first sketch. I'm going to print this out. And then I'm going to do a second blind drawing from my mole finished sketch. How did you blind drawing? God, I would love to say so please make sure to post them in the project section of this class and I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Blind Drawing: Phase 2: So this is phase two of the blind drawing. And what we're going to do now is we're going to draw a blind drawing from the more finished character drawing that you did earlier. So pup away the reference. Just look at your character design. And here we go. So what I'm going to do now is make this group and rename this drawing one. And I'm going to hide the layer. And so now I'm going to do a blind drawing from this printout scenario back to my calligraphy pen. And I'm going to draw this little guy. Starting with the HD. Maybe move around a bit. Maybe good. And I'm going to draw and straightaway integral and move around this question. Well, how did go down? Now? We've got one foot down here and that's quite straight out line name with another foot here. And then we have him sitting. I'm not sure that would work. They would go. So this is my second blind drawing taken from my Fest and more finished artwork. So make this into a character. So the way I do that is I'm going to make this layer, make the capacity of around 20 to 30. And then I'm gonna create a new layer and change my pencil back to a six B. I'm not going to look at this reference. I'm literally going to come up with a character design from here. I'm seeing here that I like the idea of having the nose. Maybe good. So that noise is working quite well for me. And the snatch, much more hunted down in this one I think the other lake. So he's got quite thin legs which I quite like. So I'm going to do that on both feet. Medica, keep them quite small. And then that'll join up to the head somehow decides to high. I quite like the randomness of it. So I'm gonna use this line for that. I know it looks quite pinch Billy. And I like the idea of sort of sometimes have fold sturdy. But I didn't get the shape of a weaker. And the ego that works quite well. Yeah, yeah. Character starting to emerge here that I'm going to trim is Arabic. Spin a bit too big. And then I'm going to bring this line down. And i like that he's hunker down. So I'm going to keep that idea. Is hind leg more aligned here? Yeah, I like the idea of seeing him hungered. And I wanted to maybe even just try a few different thing roots. And then this will be the the whites splash area. Yeah. I am happy with that. I'm going to leave that there. And I'm going to print this out. And then algebras and third line drawings from this sketch. And how did you, how did you go with your second contour blind drawing? I really look forward to seeing what you came up with. So please make sure to post in the project section of this class, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. Blind Drawing: Phase 3: So here we are about to start the third blind drawing of this series. So once again, hide everything that you've done so far except for you're more Finnish character design, your second one and will be starting with that. So here we go. Now that I have my printout of my second morphing EarSketch. I don't need it over here anymore. So I'm going to group this drawing to to hide this lab and make a new layer. And i'm going to go back to my calligraphy. And I'm going to do yet another line drawing. I'm gonna start from the bottom. And you're going to be around here somewhere. And then maybe over here. It is some kind of smell lingering triangles. Now the guess is good. Alright, I'm gonna try and make sense of this now. So I am going to start by creating a new character from my sketch, going to lower the opacity to between 2030. And then I need to change back into 6B. Safeguard. What I am going to do here, I think, I think I'm almost like a hexagon. I can see a very perfect. Ok. And then we've got the same line here that this nose bringing. Just a very simple line down here. I'm going to use this idea. And I'm going to do the same side this size side I like, I can see some shapes that are like, Oh, this is quite good. And actually, and I'll do the same on this side to that. That's coming together. And then I'm going to, I mean, I know it is important on French Bulldogs, so I don't want to move too far away from the correct shape. So I may have to go back to the original just to check the IAEA. Because I know that, you know, it's quite important for some breeds to have pointy is, and other breeds naught. So much. So this was kinda fun that I notice that this we had a little bit. Almost like a step down twice. So I'm going to woo it's gotten much smaller gate. But he's still a sika French book, which is kinda cute. And then the idea was to have, I'm gonna keep the pose, pose looking similar in size. And in this one was just going to come up. And then we have here we have him. I'm not quite sure what to do. This. We've got this other leg around here that could follow this line here. There we go. And then I'm going to, yeah, I like the idea that this is the same line. By the idea that this and this and the same width. So it's just tidying up a few things. I think that I am happy with the general look of this new version. So it's not entirely finishes, just more finished. But I'm happy with them. And what I might do is work on the eyes and might even have a shape or something around here. I wonder if I could hum. And this needs like a squared IN here. That works better, I think. Yeah. Okay. Alright, so I'm really happy with that. I think it looks fabulous, sad, but fabulous. So my next thing to do is to join these two layers in a group. I'm going to call this group drawing three. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to make all of these slightly smaller because I want them to sit. I want to sit for cross. So this is the last one that I did. And I'm gonna go in and make this full opacity and bring this up. So it fits. Drawing two. I'm going to move over here. And I'm going to bring it up. Maybe carry that's trying to and actually trying to still quite big, isn't it? And drawing one. Probably my mice realistic and my least favorite because of that. And it's going to be over here bringing capacity of this line drawing up. And one last thing, I'm going to add inset photo. The original. I don't want to allow a layer so that we can see what we're sketching. So basically, here we go, 123 and I add a new layer. And i'm going to go shall brush. You can see how we fasted I blind drawing from the photograph. We did blind drawing and then we did a more finished sketch from our own blind drawing. And then we did another blind drawing from a more finished sketch. And then we did a second more finished drawing from our second line sketch. And then we did a final third blind drawing from a sketch. And we ended up with this character. So you can see the progress and how it moves further and further away from the photo. And more and more like a character design that you can use. How did you go your third blind drawing. And it's so interesting, isn't it? To see the progress and moving further and further away from that original reference, please post. And I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson where we'll be looking at caricatures. 5. Observational Drawing: Welcome back. In this lesson, we're going to be working towards designing caricatures. Now to start with, you need to have a really good understanding of your subject. So this lesson is going to be more about observational skills. And we're going to be looking very closely at our reference. I'm going to be using a photograph of my dog and his name is Valentino. And again, I have a reference sheet in the downloadable section of this class if you want to use that, if you're more than welcome to follow along and use the same reference that I have for Valentino, or use your own subject. We're going to be really looking at your subject and we're going to be practicing observation. It's all about observation. And we're going to be getting a feel for what that character looks like. What shapes you can see in that character. What shape is the head, the eyes, the ears, and the proportions between various elements of the face and the head. It's not about tracing. I know in using the iPad, it's very easy to just put the photograph underneath as a layer. That's not the point this is, this is about building that muscle of observation. So even if you just have them side-by-side, it's really important not to trace at this point, but two, actually look and see and be able to relay and transfer what you see onto your own drawings. So let's get to it. In this lesson, I'll be creating some caricature sketches of my Chihuahua Valentino. I'll be using procreate and sketching up using my HB pencil. And I'll be choosing the color blue for my initial sketches. This class is more about the process rather than the tools. So if you don't have an iPad and an Apple pencil, you're more than welcome to use an HB pencil and printer paper in a lot of my character design classes, I also use the stead LA clutch pencil with a two millimeter lens that you can swap out. And I like to sketch with the blue LED and then swap it out with an HBR and be carbon lets you can do that too. And make sure to download the reference sheet that I created for you. To begin, we'll be drawing a sketch from the front view photograph of Valentino. You may choose to do a caricature of your own pet. Just make sure to have a clear front view and three quarter view of your subject. Also, when you do take a photo of your subject, make sure that you take the photo from eye level, not your eye level, but from there I level. So you can imagine I've had to lie down on the ground and get really low to the ground in order to take a decent photo of Valentino. So very quickly you can see that the shape that I see in Valentino is head is a five-sided polygon or an upside-down Pentagon. There's a flat top, angled sides and his chin is quite pointy. So now I'm looking at the eye level, which is about halfway down that polygon shape. And I'm also going to mark the center line as well. Now I'm going to be looking at the eyes and the nose related to the positioning of the eyes. So you can see I'm just very lightly marking where the nose will sit. And once you start putting things in place, like the nose and the eyes, and the ears, and the general shape. You really are getting a very good understanding of the subject that you're drawing. And once you have an understanding of your subject, then, and only then can you properly understand the shapes enough to be able to exploit them. So here I'm just marketing in the shape of the snout and how the bridge of the nose moves up. And you can see I've just put a tiny little chin there. So this lesson is all about sharpening your observation skills and doing a breakdown drawing of your subject. So it's just doing that in itself will give you a really good understanding of your subject. And then, and then you can choose to exploit or exaggerate or emphasize or elaborate upon certain shapes. So with any character, the eyes are really a window into their personality and their souls. So I like to spend a little bit more time on, on the eyes and with the Chewa breed, if you're going to go with proportion to other features on the face, the eyes are actually massive. So I do want to spend a little time working on the eyes and you can see that I've actually drawn in the pupil, the black pupil, and where the eyes are like a dark, dark brown. I've left white. I feel like I can make more sense of it that way. So here I'm now looking at the darkest shapes around Valentino. I don't want to draw them exactly the way they look. I always see Valentino is looking quite sad and silky, but it's really the shape of the eyes. So I'm going to try and emphasize this sort of sad, the sad silky eyes and hopefully these dark rings around, around his eyes will actually, they could be a potential feature for my caricature. So now I'm just gonna do a little bit more work along the nose and the nose and the top lid and just finish off the snout. Now, Tino has a darker snout and know so I'm just gonna fill that in just using the side of my pencil. And just doing that a little bit of blending. Just again working the detail of the nose. And for me, what strikes me is the, the nose is actually much larger than what I would have originally thought. Just by drawing and looking at the proportions of the nose to the eyeball. The noses is actually quite large. So now I'm going to start work on. Years. And for, and rather than drawing every single strand of, I'm going to make more graphic shapes and clunk some bits together and have a few wispy bits as well. And valentine, if you look closely, has these Catholics just under his chin, one going one way, one going the other. So I feel like that could be an interesting feature as well. So I'm just working my way around his head and I don't want to lose the fact that he's still got this polygon shaped head, I need to see that so the fur doesn't replace that. You do need to show that the underlying shapes of your, of your subject, especially if they're ferry. So just finishing off the ears, I'm tilting my my pencil on the side and I'm just filling in the inside of the ears and living some of the fair in front of the darker areas of the year. So you can see how this is a pretty good likeness of the photograph of Valentino. The polygon shape for the head, and also how large that forest is and the ears a massive as well. So I've already got some ideas for the character drawings that we'll be doing later. So now that we've finished the front view of Valentino, I'm going to move to drawing a three-quarter view. Now the idea behind a three-quarter view is it, it's actually quite a tricky view to draw. So it's important to sort of start seeing how your character might look from every different angle. Move your pencil around and really get an understanding of the placement of the nose against the eyes or how far back of the eye sockets? How wide are the cheeks? That is, the shape of the head, the size of the forehead, all those things you want to really be looking closely at its building, that observation muscle, but it's also building your bank of knowledge for when you come to drawing a Chihuahua later down the track or a new dog character, you'll always have muscle memory for, for doing this. And we'll just make it so much easier for drawing dogs or, or different animals in the future. Having settle this, let's get started. So now we're going to start work on the three-quarter profile of the subject I'm doing Valentino is profile. And already I can see how he's got a huge bold this forehead and such a small little ski jump of a nose. So I'm going to really make the most of that. So once again, this is a really good opportunity to hone in on your observation skills and really study and understand the shapes and proportions of all the different elements that go into your subject. From the shape of the snout, the size of the eyes compared to the noise, that is that sort of thing. And you can see I'm working on the snout of the moment and I'm just really moving the pen around, my pen around constantly while I look between the reference and my drawing. So I get a really solid understanding. So here I'm marking in where I think the eyes will sit. And I can see that the tip of the nose and the edge of volunteer knows forehead finish on the same plane. So I'm out quite a bit. The forehead actually needs to be much bigger and much more boldness. So I am just rubbing out the line that I had. And so the contour of the forehead and the ski jump knows is so much more exaggerated than I initially thought. So now it's just looking at the photograph and marking in where the eyeballs will go. So you can see I'm just starting to mark in the back guy and now I'm doing this. I know I really like the way that Valentino is looking at me. So I want to make more of that. And I'm always open, as I just said, a little bit more than it is in the photograph. So once you've got a better understanding of your subject and you've broken down the drawing into different shapes and you've really honed in on your observation skills. You already start identifying which shapes in areas that can be exaggerated, emphasized, and elaborated on. And this is all to aid in the design process while we still maintain the integrity of the subject. So it's really important to have that initial knowledge and understanding of your subject before you go out there and start, you know, exaggerating, let's say the forehead or making the ears bigger or the eyes wider. You really want to understand a little bit more about the basic structure of your character. So once again, I want to make more of the markings. I really love Valentino, those dark circles around his eyes, I make him look quite sad. He always looks worried. Scenario as I start looking around, I'm going to start working on the ear. And again, they are enormous. So I really need to get the scale of the ear. Correct. And I could definitely choose to exaggerate this as a feature. So when I'm looking at Valentino based on the photo reference, I'm drawing these studies and I'm examining the inherent shapes of the subject of Valentino. So I'm looking at the shape of the ear. I'm looking at the shape of the head and comparing the proportions and getting an understanding of what bits go where and all of this is just getting really good understanding of my subject to so that I can then move on and exploit certain areas when it comes to doing the caricatures. So these drawings are studies and they're meant to examine the inherit shapes of your subject. And from these design, several different character designs of Valentino and various styles to demonstrate how basic knowledge and the practice of shape exploration works. I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson where we will be designing for different caricature designs of Valentino using various shapes to demonstrate how the basic knowledge and the practice of shape exploration works. So I can't wait to see your to observational drawings, your front one and your three-quarter. Please post them in the project section of this class. In the next lesson, we'll be creating caricatures from the front view and the three-quarter profile of these observational drawings. 6. Caricature Design: Welcome back. In this lesson, I'll be taking you through drawing caricatures from the front view, observational drawing of the character, and also then from the three-quarter view. So it's about playing around with certain elements from the original drawing and seeing where you go with it. So without any further ado, let's get started. In this lesson, we'll create for caricature or sketches or Valentino. Now if you prefer to use your own subject, please go ahead and do that. Who designed to from the front view and two, from a three-quarter view, using various styles to demonstrate how basic knowledge and practice of shape exploration works. Before we start, I'm going to hide the photograph reference that I have or Valentino. And I'm going to move my two observational drawings to the left of the page so that I have room. So we've done our drawing studies and we've examined the inheritance shapes of our subject. Here in the front view, you can see that it's far more angular in shapes with that polygon and the large triangular ears, as opposed to the three quarter view, which is much softer and rounded. So appli, playing around with this idea. So to start with, I'm going to be focusing on the front fuse, so I'm going to hide the three-quarter view for the time being. And I'm going to create a new layer to work my two-character chills. So I am drawing this polygon shape that I initially did. And I'm starting off with a circle for the snout, the nose, and from the snout I'm going to come in and do the bridge of the nose and actually mark that up. So from the bridge of the nose, I can start seeing these sort of almost like a socket, kind of isochoric kind of shaped area. So I'm going to make the eyes of this particular Chihuahua caricature all about the eyes. Seeing this sad, drooping eyelids. I'm going to exaggerate that. And I love the idea of extending the, the dark areas around the dark shapes around Valentino nose, eyes. And just so I'm just going to finish off the snout in the nose. And then I'm going to think about the ears. I'm using the angle from the edge of the face and I'm extending it out and pulling and building those is from, from angles that are already drawn. Mei, You can see how I've almost exaggerated the size of the ears. They wanted those major show our features. So I want to make a thing out of those is and I'm just document that central part. I want to sort of have the ferry elements of Valentino and also the dark circles under the eyes. That's quite important is that's very Valentino as well. So I'm just going to work those in and move those around. And at this point, this is a sketch that seems to be coming together. It's quite different to the original observational drawing. But I feel like it's, it's quite fun. And it's and it does look like Valentino, just a different version of him. So I'm actually quite happy with this sketch. So just putting the finishing touches. So it's all about the fluff and suffer from the ears and all the way around the face. And I'm going to leave it at that I think. So before I start on my second caricature or from this front view observational drawing, I'm going to create a new layer. And I've moved my initial drawing it across to the right. This will lead me plenty of room to draw my second caricature drawing and be close enough to my observational drawing. So let the idea of using these teardrop shape for the snout. And here I've got the nose in the center of it. So I like the idea of this and I'm going to move the eyebrows around an office, so up and around. And this whole sketches already feeling a lot softer and rounder and with more curves. So here we have more of that tear drop shape, just sort of echoing that from the snout shape. And here I am with the eyebrows and I'm looking at putting the eyes within this. So again, I've got this idea of the sad eyes, but I'm just gonna play around with this for a bit. For me that show our eyes need to be wider and larger than what I first thought. So what I've, what I've done is I've drawn them and place them further out. And I just need to adjust those eyebrows so that it all fits in this little design. So just playing around with those eyebrows again and you can see how this illustration is evolving as far as the shapes that I'm using. And as I move around sort of these lines and areas on my illustration. So now I'm moving around towards the, designing the ears. So as I look at putting in the ESA almost slot into the sides of the face. And they quite pointy. But there's still, they put more curve and more movement than the initial observational drawing. So I'm just playing around with what this caricature style is. Asking for and putting in some affair and detail around the sides of the face or the pupils, just trying to get the right size. The Shines of the I just darkening those areas so I get a sense of what this looks like and you can see the sad eyes or volunteer or really coming forward on this. And he has a very dark snout. So that really is a big design feature. So I'm just going to add in that dark area around the snout and as it softens up the bridge of the nose. So I might put a bit the darkness on the islands as well as they look heavier and also under that ice as well, I'm going to continue that shape around. And that feels like very Valentino actually to have the dark circles around just finishing off. It's a bit heavy around under the nose there, so I'm skirts smudge that out a little bit. Again, these are really rough sketches and ideas. Nothing's to be perfect. I'm just, I've just used the smudge tool and I'm coming back in with my pencil just to tidy up that area around the snout and just darkening the insights of the ear and putting a bit of shading in on the eyebrows, those very sad looking eyebrows. And I'm just gonna move around the edges of the face. And I want to make more of that. Those Catholics under his chin and around the ears. So here we have it. I think I'm almost there. I just want to just follow my pen around all the shapes just to make sure how it feels. And I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with so far. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to hide my observational drawings and my caricature 12. And I'm going to bring back up my three-quarter observational drawing and do two more caricatures from that. So I'm going to start off with this circular shape. So I'm studying this caricature off with an oval shape. And I really want to make the most out of this bulbous head and the ski jump I really want to make the most out of this is some second S-band, isn't it? And just putting a smaller knows at the tip of the snout. And I wanna continue this shapes. So the idea of going straight up to form the side of the ear will be quite dramatic. And I feel like this will work really well for this caricature. I'm during the year and you can see those similar angles that I'm using. And I'm just sort of getting a feel for the overall look of his character. So I've got the small, small tip of the nose and then we've got a lot of forehead and larger ears. So I'm just drawing in the dark or part of the snatch. And I just wanna get a sense of how the mouth would actually work within this. And again, I'm going to start thinking about where the placement of the eyes, there's one. They can be quite large as well. So two eyes, they're similar in height. And again, Tino has this very worried look on his face. So I am going to try and do this with this particular character. So just finishing off with the pupils. And I just want to add a highlight and a bit of yeah, but if dark color on that pupil area and we're pretty much there. So I've just moved this caricature off to the side so I can draw my fourth caricature. And you see I've done a new layer. And i'm going to draw this fourth one in-between my observational drawing and my caricature, three. So I don't know about you, but I always find it hard to do that initial circle, but he goes, I'm drawing another snout area coming off that circle. And I'm also going to be looking at the general shape of this particular caricature. So I'm putting the little nose in and I do like the idea of this small snout area. So I'm just gonna grab an eraser. I think this nose is just a little bit too big for what I want to try. So just going to have another go at this and just bring the nose down and make it a little bit smaller. So now I'm going to be working on the shape of the head. And again, we've got this teardrop, large boulders head but the eyes, I'm gonna keep much further forward and just try to get the shape right. Looking at the observational drawing, but sort of exaggerating it ever so slightly as well. I really liked the idea of using those dark shapes around Valentino xyz. So I'm just making the most of that. I'm just filling in the pupils and getting an understanding for how those shapes are going to work. So this three-quarter angle is quite tricky. So I'm just going to take me a few goes just to get it right. But basically you want to see a little bit of the cheek and aside. And then I'm going to now swing around and work on the ears at that top end of the circle. So large triangles and sort of working from there. Feel like I'm really wrestling with this piece. Valentino, I looks quite angry, which I don't want that to happen. And I've also struggling with the side of the head. So I'm just playing around and seeing if I can get this working. I want Tino to look as a tiny little dash or a little flick of the wrist to any got a completely different looking character. So it's just playing around and seeing what happens. So I'm going to soften this idea of under the, I really not happy with what I've come up with so far. So almost starting again. But this is all part of the design process. I'm going to use the circle of the head and use this circle again as the shape around the eye. And I much prefer this. So it's just a matter of looking at what you've got on the page and seeing if you can come up with something new. And again, I'm doing the nose, trying to come up with something a little bit more simple that would work for this particular caricature scenario. I'm going to bring in the area of the ears. And I've just wanna align around so that the ears and nestled into their head. And that bit of shading just to, just to add a bit more depth. So as I move around the subject and just adding those final details. And I like the idea of this flicked Catholic at the jewel of this, of this particular caricature. Think it works really well. So, and that's something I could work with. And I'm just moving my way around, making sure I've got everything in place, adding a few details here and there. But overall, I'm really happy with the way that this fourth caricature has turned out. And it's gonna make him a bit smaller and just tidy everything up a bit. So here we've done to caricature designs inspired by the front view observational drawing, and to caricature sketches inspired by the three-quarter profile sketch of Valentino. And we've used various styles to demonstrate how basic knowledge and the practice of shape exploration can really help you along when it comes to caricature or design. So how did you go with your character and your drawings? I can't wait to see them. Please post them in the project section of this class. And I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson where we'll be doing a bit of brainstorming. 7. Mind Mapping Ideas: Working with image and Word is ever so powerful because as soon as he add the element of Word, you can play around with it. You've got so much more to work with. In this lesson. We're going to be doing a mindmap session. I'll be using Valentino is my character. And we're just going to be jotting down words and anything that comes to mind when it comes to looking and getting a sense of what that character is. This will help us progress into coming up with a story-driven illustration that includes and involves our character. In the last session, we experimented with inherent shapes of our subject using various styles to demonstrate how basic knowledge and the practice of shape exploration works. In this session, we're going to add to that. We're going to add story like I did with the 100 day project. And in my series of illustrations for my picture book, this is the dog. Adding that word element to your illustration automatically adds more story element to your artwork, giving the character more depth and personality and appeal. So on the left of this page I have my photographs of Valentino. And we got Valentino the day before locked down in March last year. And he was so tiny, weighing in at just under a Qila who was the run to the pack. So that's definitely word I'd use to describe Valentino. And being so small, I'm always surprised at how brave he is. He's the first one at the daughter, you know, look after protect the house. If he sees a larger dog that he doesn't like the look of, he will not shy away from barking and being all bravo with it. So he is tiny, He is small. He is and can be very timid at times, but when he needs to, he will definitely stand up for himself and his family. So there's this constant back and forth between him being brave and then timid. And then we have Valentino is main and we'll think it looks very line-like. So I'll put in the word lion and his star sign is a Leo. So any words that come to mind just jot them down. So we've got the contrast between brave and timid, which I quite like the idea of. And it's just an idea of the brave lion and then Valentino. So it's just connecting a lot of these words and how will they work together? So when we walk Tino on a windy day, little leaves flying or a bird jumping in rarely make him jump out of his skin. He really is sometimes scared of his own shadow. So this came to mind. I'm just gonna write it down and see where I go with it. So keeping on this idea of the shadow, I'm going to try and bring in this idea of a lion. Perhaps the shadow is the shape of a lion. Like a fierce line, something really large and scary and intimidating in comparison to small little Tino. So I quite like this idea of the shadow and Valentino and the contrast between the large lion and small Tim and Valentino. And basically, Valentino thinks he's aligned. So that could be a really good story idea for this illustration. You can see by this mapping process how an idea for an illustration is starting to form. I really like the idea of the shadow and light that the idea of the shadow in the shape of a lion, contrasting with the timid, small little Valentino. So you're more than welcome to follow along with the idea of Valentino being scared of his own shadow. Or if you have your own subject, spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas around how you can bring more visual story to your animal character and see what you come up with. Whether you went along with my idea, Valentino and the lion and the shadow and that sort of thing. Or you might have come up with something completely different with your own subject. I can't wait to see what you came up with. So join me in my next lesson where I'll be coming up with some rough sketches around the idea of Valentino being scared of his own shadow. 8. Sketching Ideas: In this lesson, we're going to come up with some rough sketches around the idea of Valentino being scared of his own shadow. So again, I'm using my iPad and I'm using a blue colored pencil, just HB pencil under sketching. And I'm just following the lines of the reference sheet that you, that you have. I'm just following the shapes of one of those one of those Chihuahua outlines. So I'm moving my pencil quite quickly and roughly around. This is a rough sketch. I'm exaggerating and you can see I've got my Charaka chores on the left-hand side there. And I'm using them not to copy so much as to just keep playing around with the idea of this character. So I'm just drawing whether the chest area is, and you can see how that's an oval. Their ears are represented as almost like triangles, really. So very simple shapes and I'm just moving around the page as rough as I can just to get a general sense of how I want my Chihuahua to be positioned. So I'm just working on that left leg there. Quite muscular extra Actually the two hours. They've got, you know, quite a lot of muscle around the joint areas. So just working out, you know, where does that front leg sit? Where did the feet sit? What is the you know, the the proportions of the chest and the size of the head, and the length of the legs. So just trying to get a good sense of the body, of the Chewa and the forms and the shapes that I can see. See how I've already widened the positioning of the front legs and now I'm actually working even I'm just drawing circles. I'm I'm working on the back, the Hind part of the chihuahua. So I'm actually thinking about the ribcage. Had is that base of the body sit. How did the leg SIJ what do those what is it? The joints. What are the joints during How did the legs bend? As it's little things like that that can make or break your character drawing. Let's say what this actually looks like if I make the head slightly larger. So just, again, just really roughly playing around looking at whether having a larger head works or not. I think it does. So I'm I'm going to leave it at that. I'm also going to look at the idea of just working on proportions. I'm also going to move my character up into the corner because I need some room underneath to actually make room for a shadow. So I'm just gonna start penciling in where I think that shadow would be. So once again, these are really rough sketches. I quite like the idea of this shadow being quite grimacing. So gnarly teeth, open mouth, pointy ears. And it doesn't have to look exactly like the shadow of the Chihuahua. It's his imagination. So just having a little bit more fun with, with the idea of making it a little bit more exaggerated and, and fun. So here we have the first sketch. I am just going to make it a little smaller so that I have room to do a second sketch. So Healy, I'm just gonna move through quite quickly with this second sketch. And you can see that I'm using the profile idea for the second show our and I'm just drawing in the body. Again, I am looking at the reference sheet that I've given you. And I can haven't copied it exactly. But I'm doing something quite similar or quite like this stance of situ our leaning away from the shadow in fear. So I'm just going with that. So just knowing and understanding where the joints are, the shapes of the body I'm looking at, you can see simple circles and lines and looking at the hind legs and where they sit with the body. So again, it's very sketchy. It's not perfect, but it gives a really good sense of what this character may look like. And I love the idea of him looking up at a wall and seeing his own shadow, but the shadow isn't necessarily him. It's more of a gnarly type of Lyon or Monster looking shadows. So being scared of his own shadow is kind of the theme of these Illustration ideas. And so I look forward to seeing your ideas, adding story to your character sketches. 9. Final Character Design: So welcome back. In this class we're going to be using the rough sketches that we did earlier. And we'll be bringing elements in from the previous lessons as well. And we'll be combining them in and creating a final illustration of Valentino doc. Alright, let's get started. In the last video, we came up with some ideas around Valentino being scared of his own shadow. In this lesson, we'll be completing a more finished drawing of Valentino that's going to lead into that final illustration. In this lesson, I'm going to be referring to reference from the PDF files that I've given you for this class. And you can, if you're on an iPad, you can break those elements into different layers like I have. I'll be referring to my original photograph of Valentino, as well as this image here where I quite like the stance and my original sketch from the photograph. I'm going to use that as a, as a basic outline for my character. So I liked the idea of using the hit that this whole image of this dog. But I want to use my head and pop that on top. So I'm just going to grab that drawing that I did. It's on another layer. I'm going to make it smaller so that it fits the size of that image of the dog underneath. And I'm going to tilt the head so that the nose is looking up and pointing the same direction as the image underneath. I'm erasing a few of the lines from that reference image of the dog underneath so I can see the face more clearly. I'm now going to merge those two layers together. And I'm going to make this layer much softer. So I'm gonna bring it down to about 40% opacity. So I'm checking that I've got an HB pencil. But what I'd like to do is use a black color rather than the blue color. Once I have all this in place on a brand new layer, I'm going to outline my character's face using the reference image that I had before. Again, I'm not going to copy exactly. I need to keep an eye on the eyeballs. I don't want I want the eyeballs to do something quite different, but I'm being quite careful as this will be my final piece. So here I'm going to start working on the eyes. And I'm just copying the image underneath, using that as reference and just working my way around. And I may change this at a later date, but at this point in time, I'm just going to have something quite similar to what's already been done before. So moving around the ears and the for I'm just going to take my time. I don't want to miss any of this up. So just literally just marking in where my character with the contours of my character. As I'm moving around the contours, I'm thinking about line variation. I am thinking about the different lengths of the individual for and just keeping an interesting, you can see I'm following the contours of the neck line when I bring those lines around the neck and all of that sort of color of fluff that Tino has. And thinking about the line of action. But also I'm thinking about grounding Tino. So the weight of him, How did the feet, the toes press up against the ground underneath. So that's a really important thing when you're drawing any kind of character, you really want to ground them. So what I'm doing now is I've brought down the reference so that because I want all the four legs on the same plane. So I've just moved the reference down so that I can do this and I am just working my way around. And I've almost finished doing the outline of Tino and here it is. So Valentino was looking quite angry here, which I don't really like. So I'm going to change up the eyeball and see what I can come up with. I want to soften it and make it look more concerned and worried. So just coming in and filling in the underneath area of the eye. And I much prefer the look of this i and this expression than the previous one which was looking just a little bit angry. Now I'm focusing on the nose and I'm not happy with the triangular nodes, so I'm just going to have a go at having a circular knows I think it goes well with the with the circular eyes. And yeah, I'm quite happy with how that's turned out. And now I get to play around with what I wanna do with the mouth. So looking at my photograph of Valentino, my reference, I can see that his failure is actually a lot longer than I originally had. So I'm just coming in and I'm just lengthening areas of the for I want it to look like a real lion's mane as well. So I'm just working my way around and just making those corrections when I need to. So helium, the finished outline of Valentino. Please join me in my next lesson, where we will be adding color to this Valentino character and we'll also be working on the lion shadow. So I hope you enjoyed that process of designing and combining all of those different elements and seeing just how an illustrator is really putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together in some sense. So in the next lesson, we'll be adding color can't wait, see then. 10. Adding Colour & Shadow: Welcome back. In this lesson, we'll be adding colored to brave Valentino illustrations. So let's get started. In the last lesson, we drew an outline of Valentino using this reference and also referenced from the sheet that I have given you. In this lesson, we're going to be adding color. So the first thing to do is to get the selection tool and slowly work your way around the outline of your character. I'm going to leave out the eyeballs, but everything else I'm going to select. And now going to select a mid tone from the photo reference. I'm then going to go up and I'm going to select from painting that Nicole rule. And this is a really great tool to just drop a lot of color and also maintain a bit of texture. So really I don't want this to be a finished photographic reference of Valentino. I want to have fun with this. So here I'm grabbing a lighter color and I'm just placing this with a smaller Nico brush. I'm going around the edges and just lightening up. I don't want to get into too much detail. This is really just dropping and dragging tones of color across this page. The idea is to just layer in texture and also experiment a little bit and see what comes up. So here I've got an even lighter tone that I'm using, and I am just moving it around the image of Valentino. Once I'm happy with this base coach off this lighter tone, I'm going to go and select a darker brown color. And I'm going into my brushes, and I'm going to select the dry brush. Now again, this is very experimental and it may not happen the first time you do it. It might be too thick. It just takes a bit of practice that I, I like the idea of the dry brush and using that for texture for Valentino is first. So I'm just moving my way around and not being too precious about it. This is all about having fun and experimenting with the dry brush technique for the, for. So I'm going back in. I like the idea of trying a different brush. Here. I'm choosing the Jaggard brush. And I'm going to just experiment a little bit that's far too big. So I'm just bringing it down in size and just saying a quite like what's happening here. And just experimenting with the ears. And It's a lot darker than I would have first thought, but it's got some really nice qualities around it. So have a play around with some brushes and techniques. It's a really good opportunity to just get out of what you would normally do. So now that I've, now that I finished my basic for, I'm going to be selecting the dark elements, the snout and under the eye. And I'm looking at brushes and I'm going to go to my painting and squash and have quite a small brush with the Guassian just darken the snout ever so gently. So don't want to be too heavy handed with it. I just want to slowly add a little bit more form to what's already there. So just moving around in circles almost and just getting a feel for darkening those areas. So once I'm happy with the general look of Valentino, darkest snout, I'm going to move across and select the inside of the ears. So I'm just grabbing the selection tool and moving around. And what I want to do is just pink it up a little bit. It's a bit dark and brown at the moment, so I just want to add a little bit of soft pink on a new layer just to the edges of the ears and a little bit on the nose. That's too much with this, just a little bit of a glow in those areas and on the cheeks and the feet. So I'm happy with that. And now I'm going to be selecting the hind legs and the dark areas. And I want to just add a bit more depth and NACLO goes back a little bit. So once again, I'm going to select a darker brown and just dark in those hind legs and push them back a little bit. So the final thing I want to do is the the eyeball. So I'm selecting both labels and I'm going to use my guage brush and a soft grey. I can then highlight the eyeballs and the tip of the nose. And for the final touch, I'm going to grab a darker color or black and draw some stubble for Valentino. So I now have my HB pencil. I've grabbed some white and I'm just going to move around the cuff and the color of Valentino and just highlighting some of the fur and just moving the pencil around roughly. This is not a perfect photo rendition. It's a, it's a really fun, playful illustrations, so just have fun with it. So a few flicks, a white in that year, and we're pretty much done with Valentino. So now I'm going to hide my photographic layer and I'm going to start work on the lion shadow. So I'm going to select the line work that I haven't. You also have this as reference. I'm going to select a blue and I'm going to fill that lion. Now that the fill and that line work of the line of the same color, I'm going to choose a lighter gray and I'm going to fill the line shadow with the gray. So now I'm going to select that Bembo chalk. And I'm going to select a lighter gray. And I'm going to head over to the size of my brush just to check i want it nice and large. And I'm going to select my line layer. And I'm going to just run this texture across the lions shadow. It makes it look more like a concrete or, you know, some kind of shadow off a wall of some kind. I'm going to make it slightly darker around the base. And moving that texture across the entire lion. So a bit of a gradient, but and slightly darker at the base than it is towards the top. So I'm just getting a feel for this. I think it needs a little bit more of a lighter colors. I'm choosing the lighter gray again. And I'm just coming back in again with that lighter gray. And I feel like having the lighter gray behind the chihuahua behind Valentino helps him pop and move forward. So I think I'm pretty happy with how that's looking actually, to help the Valentino character stand out even more. I'm going to add a layer underneath the colored area of Valentino. And I'm going to make a selection and I'm going to fill that selection with white. So this is really going to help the Valentino character pop out and away from the shadow. Once I've done this, I'm just going to tidy up some of the edges between the shadow and the Valentino in the foreground. There's one thing I'd like to change is I would like to actually get rid of this part of the shadow. I don't think it's necessary. I think the line behind looks like he could share a bit of an area with Valentino those legs. So I also have an idea around the tail. The tail of the line looks like it could also double as Valentino, those tiles. So I'm actually going to color that in, in the same tones as Valentino. So having outlined the tail with a pencil and black, I'm going to go to the color layer. I'm going to select the tail area. I'm going to select the same color that I used in the darker areas for Valentino. So just a brown and I'm going to use the Guassian and the dry brush and just to add a little bit of texture as well. So just a little bit of playing around there. And I'm also going to delete that area with a shadow so that the tail could double as the shadow of the lion's tail, but also Valentino nose tail. So here's the final illustration of brave Valentino. How did you go? I can't wait to see what you came up with. Please post your final illustrations in the project section of this class. And I look forward to seeing your version of your dog inspired by story.