Introduction To Cartoon Character Design skillshare originals badge

Denis Zilber, Freelance Illustrator and Cartoon Artist

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14 Lessons (2h 5m)
    • 1. Initial character exploration

      9:48
    • 2. Building up simple shapes

      6:51
    • 3. S-curves and C-curves

      8:00
    • 4. Checking anatomy

      6:26
    • 5. Pushing things further

      8:04
    • 6. Checking silhouette

      5:32
    • 7. Polishing your sketch

      7:35
    • 8. Adding values

      7:45
    • 9. Creating basic color blocks

      13:26
    • 10. Adding light

      10:41
    • 11. Ambient occlusion

      17:11
    • 12. Refining light

      17:00
    • 13. Adding details and lighting effects

      6:26
    • 14. Explore Design on Skillshare

      0:37
93 students are watching this class

Project Description

Create a cartoon character

Sketching and character exploration

  1. Building up simple shapes

    Start bulidnig up your character using simple rounded shapes. Avoid straight lines. Try to make shapes natural and flowing. Don't get into any details yet. 

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    My Photoshop pencil brush is attached below.

  2. Initial character exploration

    Start doodling and playing around with shapes. Create at least 5-10 different very rough and fast sketches of your character with different body types and in different poses. Pick one for the next step.

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  3. S-curves and C-curves

    Implement S and C curves into your character as much as possible. Try to avoid complex curves. Keep your curves flowing without breaking points.

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  4. Checking anatomy

    Build a correctly looking skeleton into your character. Check your character's proportions and correct them basing on his bone structure. Pay special attention to his skull bones. 

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Exaggerating Shapes

  1. Pushing things further

    Make big shapes even bigger and small shapes even smaller. Make your character's pose more expressive. Try to avoid symmetry in the pose. Pay special attention to his facial experssion and fingers.

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  2. Checking silhuette

    Check your character's silhuette against other objects in the scene. Try to keep his arms and fingers outside of his body shape.

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Finalizing Sketch and Adding Values

  1. Polishing your sketch

    Finish your lineart sketch, using smaller brush. Add all possible details, don't leave anything behind. Try to keep all tiny details in separate layer.

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  2. Adding values

    Decide on lighting in your scene. Add values to your character keeping mind light direction. Start from basic grey, adding white and black where needed.Try to keep it simple while clear and readable. 3-4 different values is enough.

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Color Blocking

  1. Creating basic color blocks

    Using pen tool create basic color blocks divided into separate layers. Keep layer opacity locked. Try to maintain layer count relatively low. Group layers using clipping masks as much as possible.

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  2. Adding light

    Add basic light using separate layers. Try to avoid using layer blending modes as much as possible.

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Rendering, Details and Effects

  1. Ambient occlusion

    Add deep shadows aka ambient occlusion to your character. Pick your deepest dark color and try not to go any deeper. Try to make your deep shadows as blurred/diffused as possible. 

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  2. Refining light

    Add details and highlights to your light. Add backlight and reflections if needed. Keep in mind that reflected light is always weaker than your major light source.

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  3. Adding details and lighting effects

    Add smal details to your character. Add overexposure effects to bright spots. Add noise and chromatic abberation.

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Resources(1)

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