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Introduction To Cartoon Character Design

Denis Zilber, Freelance Illustrator and Cartoon Artist

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13 Videos (2h 5m)
    • Initial character exploration

      9:48
    • Building up simple shapes

      6:51
    • S-curves and C-curves

      8:00
    • Checking anatomy

      6:26
    • Pushing things further

      8:04
    • Checking silhouette

      5:32
    • Polishing your sketch

      7:35
    • Adding values

      7:45
    • Creating basic color blocks

      13:26
    • Adding light

      10:41
    • Ambient occlusion

      17:11
    • Refining light

      17:00
    • Adding details and lighting effects

      6:26

About This Class

Are you an illustrator trying to hone in on your style? Or are you a beginner who wants to know the ins and outs of cartooning your character? On paper or on screen, this class is for you!

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I am an illustrator specializing in character development and design. I have been developing my stylized, cartooned characters for years, and I am going to share with you my best illustration tips and processes for developing your own!

What You'll Learn

You will learn the entire character creation process. We will begin by working with photo references and inspiration resources, and go into rough sketching and more refined value sketches. Then, we will explore exaggerated shapes and cartoon features with S and C-curved lines, keeping correct character anatomy. We will finish with basic three-point light rendering.

  • References and Character Exploration. We will begin with gathering resources for inspiration and exploring the qualities of your character.
  • Rough Sketch. You will compose a sketch of your character.
  • Exaggerating Shapes. You will refine your sketch and learn to exaggerate your character's shapes with S and C curves.
  • Anatomy & Sketching Values. I will cover anatomy basics with exaggerated features, and you will add value to your shapes.
  • Color Blocking. We will discuss color and you will add it to your drawing and explore rendering techniques.
  • Final Rendering. You will refine the details of your sketch and add special effects.

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What You'll Make

You will design, create and color your own cartooned character with an exaggerated style. This project will inform your illustration process and expose you to new techniques. You will be able to properly proportion your own characters and render your character with exaggerated realism.

This technique is valuable for editorial work with portraiture and cartooning. These skills will help you approach your future character design projects with a solid basic understanding. It is quite difficult to get a character's cartoon correct- and to spot what the error is! This class will train your eye to see a character or a figure like a cartoonist.

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Class Outline

  • Initial character exploration. Whether you want to learn to draw cartoons for an animated series or for children’s book illustration, this class is for you. You’ll begin by watching Denis Zilber play around with different lines and shapes to make rough sketches in Adobe Illustrator using the pencil brush tool.
  • Building up simple shapes. Now you’ll hone in on one of the rough sketches Denis created as he defines discrete shapes in his character drawing.
  • S-curves and c-curves. You’ll learn the two basic curves, s-curves and c-curves, that make up many a cartoon drawing. You’ll learn how these curves can apply to all parts of a cartoon character’s body and accessories, and you’ll get a sense of why it’s important to avoid straight lines in your work.
  • Checking anatomy. Your character may be a cartoon, but to keep it believable, you’ll want to check that its anatomy lines up. Denis will teach you how to get a basic understanding of human body ratios and how to apply those to your character by, again, drawing in Layers.
  • Pushing things further. You’ll watch as Denis applies his rule for making cartoon characters appear more expressive. By making small elements of his drawing smaller and enlarging the bigger elements, Denis will create a creature that’s decidedly fit for the cartoon realm.
  • Checking silhouette. If your character is readable only in silhouette, that means it should work in full color. You’ll learn how to make sure your character’s silhouette highlights all of its most important parts.
  • Polishing your sketch. Starting with the outlines, you’ll learn to make a clean trace over your character, getting rid of extra lines and adding details in a separate layer. Ultimately, you’ll see how to create a character sketch that you can present to clients.
  • Adding values. You’ll learn how to shade your character to preview tone value for your clients.
  • Creating basic color blocks. Denis will teach you how to use 3D masks to separate various elements of your drawing into layers to which you can add color independently. You’ll learn to figure out how to arrange these layers by grouping elements made of the same material.
  • Adding light. You’ll learn to create shadows by detracting color instead of adding it. Meanwhile, you’ll discover how to add light to accurately reflect an imagined light source and how to use light to add texture.
  • Ambient occlusion. Denis will teach you that ambient occlusion is really just a fancy way for alluding to “shadows within shadows.” By adding these to your work, you’ll learn how to amp up the volume of your character and make it jump off the page (or rather, the computer screen).
  • Refining light. You’ll learn how to realistically mimic real world lighting effects on color in your work.
  • Adding details and lighting effects. You’ll watch as Denis makes a great character drawing excellent by adding minute details. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to draw comics by applying the skills you’ve gained from this class.

213 of 217 students recommendSee All

Brilliant!
I definitely recommend the class!
This course is excellent. great workflow.

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Students

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Denis Zilber

Freelance Illustrator and Cartoon Artist

Denis is a freelance Illustrator and cartoonist working out of Tel Aviv, Israel. He specializes in exaggerated, cartooned features and characters. . . and he creates them from start to finish in Adobe Photoshop.

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