Creative Illustrations: Create a One-of-a Kind Character | Guy Wolek | Skillshare

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Creative Illustrations: Create a One-of-a Kind Character

teacher avatar Guy Wolek, Illustrator/Character Development Artist

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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

8 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Class Intro: How to Draw Interesting Characters

    • 2. Tools

    • 3. Sketchbook

    • 4. Reference Books

    • 5. The Cloud

    • 6. Raccoon Hero 1

    • 7. Raccoon Hero 2

    • 8. Class Project

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About This Class

Learn how you can create interesting characters. 

Learn how to use simple imagination exersices to come up with characters you never thought of.

How to "flesh out" your character using shapes shading and contrast.

Creating a one of a kind character of your own.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Guy Wolek

Illustrator/Character Development Artist


I have worked as a freelance Illustrator since 1982. I enjoyed doing a variety of work from being a courtroom sketch artist and animation character development aristist, to illustrating corporate annual reports and children's books. 

I currently have illustrated books that are sold in Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

See full profile

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1. Class Intro: How to Draw Interesting Characters: Hello, My name's Guy Wallich. I was born and raised in Chicago, and I currently live in Southern California. I do Children's art and I do character development work. Currently, this class is called How to Draw interesting Characters. And I picked that title because I've done character work and Children's work. And it's all developing interesting characters that are unique that have a personality, ah, lot of expression and show emotion. And, um, it's what I found over the years is one of the things that's like a strong suit for me as an artist is people like the look of my characters. A person interested in taking this class is somebody who wants to learn how to draw characters. It's not just a class where you're learning how to draw a dog or a man standing by a light pole. It's, ah, class that I hope to convey how toe have expression in it and how to have a feeling behind it in a little bit more freedom. You can become very technically proficient and very skilled in art, but I think what sets it apart from artwork that like lives, is ah to really be able to grab ahold of the expression in the feeling that you want the character toe have. So we're gonna have a class project of creating your own character and you'll have an opportunity to post that up onto the site. I think this class would be good for anyone if you're just starting out or if you have been doing this for a long ties. It's a way of thinking It's not just a way of, uh, drawing. It's a way of approaching how you're going to draw something. I think there's so much more to it than just actually drawing something on a piece of paper . I think there's a way to keep this art, keep your art alive and keep that spark of life in your art. And I think that could be good for anyone. No matter where they're coming from, It's gonna be a fun class. I think it's gonna be a lot more enjoyable than just sitting down and learning to draw a dog or a pig or a chicken or whatever. So I look forward to seeing in the class and to communicating with you, and, uh, I think it's gonna be a fun and easy and fun and enjoyable time for both of us. Thank you. Is it good 2. Tools: So this is my basic work. Set up right here. Have my technical pencils right here that I use. I have a brush that I used to brush away eraser shavings. I tried using a straw, but spit comes out sometimes against in the paper. That is really nice, because when you rub it with your hand, you can smear it. If you're using lead graphite, you can smear it so I'll brush it away. It's Ah, makeup brush. I got it from my wife. Um, have some erasers right here. They're the black pearl erasers. What I like about him is they have a nice edge to him. They're pretty easy to hold. I liked the fine edge for erasing. That's easy for me. I have a ah, a pen. This is like a quill pen. Ah, but it doesn't. It's just has loading cartridges. I carry that. I have a brush pin with me as well. I have prisma color pencils there. I use prisma colors just about all the time for drawing because I like how they are. There's some that have an eraser. Those are really nice for working with, because you can you race. I use the Sometimes I use the non photo blue. I'll start my drawings with non photo blue. Keep it really light. I tend to draw very light and then I build from there. Then I have also have some very thin pencils that do not have the racers on them. The ones that don't have the erasers are a little bit, ah, stronger of a color. It's a little richer and deeper. So what if I was going through the whole process of these? I'd start out with the light blue, very light sketching. Then I would do light blue with the eraser, very things that I would go to the regular very things which are a little stronger and darker. And then to really punch it up in areas like right here and on his knows what I'll do is I'll go on with the Prisma colors that are the more crayon like, and that's what I really knock in my darks with. I like using the indigo blue color a lot. I use all different colors, but I like using into go blue because the indigo blue, when I scan it, I can go into my hue and saturation is in the computer, and I can just change it to any color I want. I can make it brown. I could make it anything I could. Grain red just with hue and saturation. Um, it can be any color if you just draw in black. Like if I'm drawing with the graphite pencil right here, I can also change the color on the computer, but it's a different process. And so these are the tools. These are my basic work tools. I'm going to show you a variety of different types of paper and some other variety of tools that I like to use, but as a good traveling set, this is it. These are some alternate tools that I use. I have ah, butcher paper right here. I have crayons. I have kneaded erasers that I keep in a little tin because if you don't keep men attend, if you keep me in your pencil, case what'll happen is they'll get all over everything. I have, uh, sketchbooks, different ones. Either. These are basically the same as faras tooth wise graininess. I don't go any rougher than this for my own taste. I have ah tracing paper pad there. I like working on tracing paper. I like working on tracing paper with Prisma color pencils. It's just for me. I just love it and love the feeling of it. I have a ruler also carry, like an alternate pencil case with me that carries, like leads for my mechanical pencils. Different things like that The 3. Sketchbook: This is a sketchbook. I have a few of these different types. This one I think I got at Hobby Lobby. I have a few of these. I also get the mole skin ones I have. Ah, I really like to carry a sketchbook with me. I A lot of times when I get inspiration, I'll just write it down. I carry a pencil or maybe a thick pencil or a pen with me all the time with a sketchbook, and I just draw things that catch my interest. I think inspiration comes from everywhere, But here's some people that I see. Like I saw this person in an airport in Chicago. I saw this person metal aware. But these are just people that I see that sitting on the airplane in the middle seat, uh, some of them, you know, are a little more developed another. Some of them are not so developed. It just depends, You know, it's where I'm at this a guy in the Apple store. This is an idea for Christmas. The Baron sled, different things like that. I saw a crazy lady in a no parking zone one time, and I thought that was interesting. Anyways, I draw sketches in here. I just do scribbles and ideas and people that I see and sometimes I give them away. But I like to just put things down on paper. I will goto it later if it to feel like it has legs, you know, and can be drawn Mawr, I'll go back and I just draw it out. We just got back in town the other day and I drew these air people. I drew the airport. I was waiting for a shuttle bus to come and take us back from the airport back out here by where we live. And if you look at my website at guy Wallich dot com, you will see that I have some of these things up here. In the more developed stages, these air, just different sketches that I've done. I try to, uh, do little things from time to time, things that you know would catch my eye, something that's interesting to me. And it's not literal. This man is someone that was in a store and the store was crowded with people, but I didn't see anybody, really. That grabbed my attention that I thought while that guy's gonna be really interesting to draw that person. I should draw them. And then this little old man taps me on the shoulder and he asked me a couple questions and they looked at him and I thought, That guy right there is a cartoon and I drew him. I just kept thinking that guy looks like somebody who would own a lot of cats and if he owns a lot of canceled by a lot of cat food and he had his cart filled with cat food and smell and there's flies are buzzing around and there's a cat over here that's looking to get some of that food. So that's kind of where the ideas come from. That's inspirational to me. I want to take a moment, show you a sketch from my sketchbook. This is a character that I have been working on for a while. His name is bare and I use him in different situations, and I was in a store the other day and I saw something that made me think this. It's bear and he has a red scarf and he is buying red scarves. And what made me think that was how sometimes people will just over by they have something . And now by something almost exactly like it. And it's like you just don't have enough. And so this is like my commentary on buying the same thing over and over, even if you already have it. And I'm showing you this because this was the inspiration. No, over on this side you will see the finished product when I go on, tighten up the sketch and I do it in, take a little bit of time to develop it and work on it. And so I just want to give you an example of how I use my sketchbook sometimes. 4. Reference Books : here are a couple of books that I think are excellent for developing skills in creating interesting characters. Um, one is acting for animators by Ed Hooks. The other one is Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair. 5. The Cloud : What is the cloud principle? It's your imagination finding shapes. I use it by scribbling on a piece of paper. And then what I'll do is I'll go back and I work over the scribble and find shapes in the scribble. It's a way of developing a character, not using your mind to figure it out, but letting your imagination find something that's there. When I start my cloud scribble, I usually keep it very light. I'll use a harder pencil. I'll use a non photo blue pencil like described in the tool section, and I keep the drawing light because the rest of my drawing will be on top of that. - For the purpose of this demo, I'm going to be removing the clouds gribble from underneath the line work so that you get a better idea of the definite lines that I've come up with based on the scribbles in the next section with the hero raccoon, you'll see where I work right on top of the scribble, and I keep the scribble underneath in the drawing the whole time, all the way to the end 6. Raccoon Hero 1 : reference. Finding good references, a key to making a good illustration. Find pictures that you like, find ones. They have good lighting that showed the character in a clear and precise way. Don't make things tough on yourself by picking bad reference. Often what I do is this. I'll gather my reference material together. In this case, it's a raccoon. I look at it, a study it maybe I'll do a couple little doodles of it. But then before I start drawing, I'll put the references side, so I'm not looking at it. My idea is not to do an exact copy of over a coup. My idea is to draw the impression of what I think a raccoon looks like. I start my cloud scribble. I'll use a hard pencil or a light pencil or just purpose to draw lighter, because all the rest of my drawing will be on top of it. The cloud principle in these scribbles, certain shapes began to stand out. To me, the head seems like a body shape, possibly a back leg, a general posture in a gesture for this character. Now my idea going into this is that he's gonna be heroic raccoon. So what I'm looking for in the cloud is that type of look. I don't have a definite idea going in. This wasn't planned and how I scribbled. I just look for it in there. I think that's where you come with the most original ideas. Sometimes I'll do a few different clouds over and over, just trying different ways but not trying to pre plan too much trying to go buy more of an impression and a feeling, then actually trying to figure something out, scribbling here in finding the picture. No definite lines, just scribbling it out, not thinking too much, just drawing. Finding the image, finding the expression that I want. I keep it light. Keep it loose. I just have fun and just draw basic shapes. Finding the basic shapes gives the drawing form. It helps to give the character you're working on a structure in a solid this once you've scribbled it out and found basically where things were going to go, go back in and work on some basic shapes. Expression, Norman Rockwell once said. You get the expressions right. People will forgive almost anything else in your painting. Expression is so important in the picture of David Beckham. I like his determined, somewhat angry look. That's the same emotion I want to show in the hero raccoon. In this part of the demonstration, I'm drawing over David Beckham's face, certain lines that show that emotion and then going over the raccoons face showing the same emotions and the same expression. Adding tone helps me to better understand where I'm heading in a sketch. At this stage, I keep it very light and loose. I'm just helping myself to better see where I'm going in the drawing, when adding tone, Don't go crazy. Don't start getting to into adding tones too early. You want to keep your drawing light. You want to keep it loose. You want to keep things changeable. 7. Raccoon Hero 2: problem solving. In this drawing, I was having a little trouble with hands. I took a little time out, shot a couple pictures of my hands, then went back and worked on the drunk. If you ever run into a place where you have trouble with anything, stop look at a picture. Find a reference. Take a picture of your own hand. Look at your face in the mirror, making you angry. Look, if you want the character angry or happy, look looking happy. Get the idea on the inside of you what it should look like and then continue on your drawing. Finding the line At this point, I'm pretty happy with the general look of the drawing. So right now I'm going with a little darker of a lead, pressing little harder on the pencil, drawing a more definite line, developing this shape even more. - Where's the focus at this part of the drawing? I'm starting to darken up certain areas. More contrast. Crisper lines draw more attention. You can manipulate your drawing to draw people's attention to different places at different times. The higher the contrast will cause people to look there first. The sharper it is will cause people to look there first. You have control. Where do you want people to look in your drawing? At this point in the sketch, I want to define the lines a little more. I'm getting darker with, um, using a heavier pencil. I'm starting to make it more of a definite shape. I'm comfortable with my drawing. I like where everything's that. So now I'm boldly going in with a darker pencil, bolder lines and defining my shape the Y in the T principle, the why and the tear used to put one part of an object behind the other. As you'll see, I'm drawing with the blue pencil over the raccoon. You'll see in the forward arm that his forearm shows that it's going over his upper arm because the line overlaps it, making a why. On the back arm, you'll see that the top of the arm goes over the bottom part of the arm as it goes away from us. By making a why. You'll see where his hand, where it matches his forearm in the front arm, creates a T. Keep your eye out for the wise and the tease. There were everywhere they show for shortening. They show when one part of an object is in front of another part of an object. Wise and teas are everywhere. It's time to tighten it up. Contrast and definition, it helps to define your character. 8. Class Project: now. Your class project is this. I want you to create your own interesting character. Use the cloud principle. If you get stuck, just look for reference to help you alone. I want you to have fun. I want you to stay loose And don't forget to post it to skill Share When you're finished, I look forward to seeing it. Thank you. Look for more of my teaching videos on skill share. Follow me on Twitter friend me on Facebook. You can look for my portfolio on BA hence. And don't forget to check out my website. I look forward to seeing you against him.