Shading Cartoon Characters | Grady Williams | Skillshare

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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

5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction to the Course

    • 2. Practicing Value Ramps

    • 3. Rendering Value on Simple Forms

    • 4. Breaking Character Down into Forms

    • 5. Rendering Value on Character

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About This Class

 In this lesson we will look at taking a cartoon character and shading it to give it life! If you've ever drawn a character and thought to yourself, how do I shade it to make it feel solid, this is the class for you. 

In this class you will learn the follow:

- Basic Concepts of Value

- How to render value on simple forms

- How to look at your design as simple forms and render value

- How to render value on your own character design

The beauty of this class is you can be a beginner, and with practice master these approaches in no time at all.

Meet Your Teacher

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Grady Williams

Children's Book Illustrator


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1. Introduction to the Course: excreting, and I'm an artist illustrator. Our can vote traditional and digital. My background is in classic drawing, paying illustration as well as animation, and over the last 15 years, I was teaching at the college level as well as playing very a short animation and Children's book illustrations. Science. You can find a lot of my work now only on Amazon, but a lot of my drink deals. They're also available on YouTube. Well, sharing my knowledge as an artist has helped me to grow exponentially, which is why I'm here on skills here, and this course will go over various techniques for rendering value on your characters. So we'll talk about the various techniques for shading. We'll talk about how you make things feel like they have form in Volume two, and we'll talk about how you can apply that to your own characters so that you can make them feel tangible, believable, make them feel like they have master all the skills that will be talking about, translate directly into you wanted to be a concept artist, visual development artist and to a certain degree, if you want to be anatomy, one that you understand about volume instruction characters more effective idiots for Canada. So if you're a professional artist, your happiest, your beginner, it really doesn't matter. Everything that we're talking about in here will be something that you can pick up if you put in the time energy any but in practice. So if you follow through with the step by step examples in the practice exercises and follow through with finished illustration, you can apply that to any of the hard work that you're creating, an effect that we build a really strong body of work. So I look forward to seeing you in this skill share class. Join me. 2. Practicing Value Ramps: our first value transition exercise is transitioning from dark to light. One thing that we want to learn is you want to learn control of our tool. There's many ways that we can approach Making marks the first example here is using the side of our pencil. Using the side of your pencil was is an easy way of being able to cover a lot of space and a lot of area really quickly and being able to minimize the amount of very clear linear marks. More often than not, it's easier to hold the pencil and to be able to create ah, light a lot of lighter marks and then transitioning into darker values. One thing that you'll notice here is that we try to work from top down all the time with this, so that we're always able to look at the difference between the dark and light thighs and transitions. The next approach that we would to work on is we want to work on creating value by just using vertical marks. They're times in instances where we might be doing something that's a bit more architectural, less organic, and it would lend itself to, um using very rigid mark making. One thing that you won't see in this course is you won't see any finger smudging. There's a lot of debate on fingers smudging any approach. And if it's you know or stumps, Um, I'm a proponent of understanding your to your tools and how to use those tools and effectively making the marks that you need to make. So in this example, and in all of these examples, it's effectively using our pencil to make the marks that we need to make. So the last one is going to be using circular marks in order to be a value. The purpose behind all of this is to show you some examples of that. There is no right way to build value. Whatever feels comfortable for you to effectively create that transition from light to dark , it's what's going to benefit you in the long run. So whether it's using the side of your pencil, whether is using those vertical marks or horizontal works, whatever kind of marks or circular entry practice, he's technique these approaches so that you can become more skilled in controlling the types of marks that you make. So what I would like to see is I would like to see three variations of your mark making again. It's up to you if you want to do side of your pencil. If you want to do just horizontal marks, vertical marks, circular marks, just label it so I can see the differences between them and being able to give you some feedback on Hey, your transitions good. Or there's too many bars and breaks in between there, so value rendering go to it Happy mark making. 3. Rendering Value on Simple Forms: It's time to take what we learned in the value of exercise and now apply to something that has four. We're going to a sphere and a cylinder. So what we're doing here now is we're just trying to get an idea of where the light stops and where it's going to cast a shadow into the ground. Well, the first thing is, one establishes where the light stops so we can get a separation between where the light side is and where the shadow side is and where that object is casting a shadow into the ground. Well, we clearly understand these things. It makes it easier for us to be able to understand where we're going to have the dark parts and where we're gonna have the light parts and where we need to make transitions into those parts. So I like to start at the core and then work from the core into the shadow, and they work from the core into the light. Part of the reason for that is that you're able to build contrast. You're able to look at the difference between the value range that you're building up in the light side versus the value ranges your building in the shadow side. More often than not, you're trying to keep a degree of separation between those two things. So the elements that we're looking for is in that light side. We have a highlight, and then we have the light side where we have a range of values. We have that core shadow, and then underneath that core shadow, we have our shadow side, and we have a reflected light that bounces up from the ground, and we have our cash shadows. So if we that the minimum have those six elements more often than not, we can render very effective value. And four. And so, as part of our goal, is to practice that over and over again so that we get to the point where we're comfortable being able to build those transitions and values fairly easily. Once we're able to do that, they were ableto progress and use that on any type of form that we decided to build. So the 1st 1 was a sphere. The 2nd 1 is going to be a cylinder, and it's almost the exact same concept. The only difference with this one is that we have multiple light size because we have the top of the cylinder, and then we have the sides as well. So again, the core shadow is where we're effectively saying that the light stops there and it doesn't continue. The thing that we have to remember about rendering value is that even in the dark parts, even in the shadow side in that dark side that there's still some light bouncing more than we could keep that in mind, the more that will be able to make things feel like they have a nice Volume two. If we rendered a value transition and it becomes completely black or completely dark in the shadow side, it starts to flatten out. So one of our goals is to constantly think about how do I maintain, you know, some degree of transition, which is why it's important to practice those value rams so that you're able to control the transition in light and dark. So you able to effectively build up, you know, a range of where value starts and we're value stops. So that's the important thing about this exercise is being able to control the amount of you know where your value starts and where it stops, and now you're able to find where your core shadow is and bill your values on either side of that core shadow. Keeping in mind at that core shadow. It's going to be the thing that helps you to be able to look at how much contrast in my building on the different sides of these forms. And if you practice this and you master this, I mean, master this. It makes it easier when you start to apply these concepts to any shapes and forms happy rendering. 4. Breaking Character Down into Forms: now that we render simple form and we understand how to create value in transition. Well, you want to do is we want to apply these simple forms to a character. If you don't have your own character, I'm gonna include this one in the class. And I would include another one as well, maybe one that's a little more human, so that you can use that as well, because some people may not want something as exaggerated. Start with the important thing, though. The character doesn't matter, because you can turn anything into basic, simple forms. So the beginning stages of this is to do what I would call it an analysis. So all we're doing now is we're analyzing what are the basic forms, the building blocks that make up this character. So if you've got, you know, some cylinders, some a taper sort of cylindrical for and some spherical forms, so we know how to render value on those things because we practice them, so now we're going to do is think to ourselves where's our lights overs and then make decisions about the transitions that we want to build. We ask ourselves questions about where's our cash shadow. And then how much transition do I wanna build from my core shadow into the dark side or that shadow side? And then how much transitioning value don't want to build into this life side? The essential thing with the way that we're handling our value rendering is that we're dealing with one light source, really and or reflected light, which is going to make our value rendering a lot more simple when we started deal with multiple light sources, which is a more advanced topic just because and it requires us to think more about the intensity of the different lights, that's a completely different scenario. So for what we're doing, building our value of form is excruciatingly easy. The only thing it takes is patience. All these videos in this whole Siris are sped up, so I'm actually rendering these things this fast. Um, I will say this probably took a good 25 maybe 30 minutes. And part of it was me taking time thinking about make sure that I'm not cutting corners and trying to make sure that I'm running volumes on everything, So that is very clear when you're watching you eso all the legs are just cylinders, and the more that we can think in those terms, when we're dealing with characters, it gives us the freedom and flexibility to make decisions about how we're gonna handle rendering the value on these things. So all I'm doing, you can see Repetitive Lee over and over again. I try to find where my core shadow is because it is really going to determine how I build my value and then you can see after I established a lot of the basic values, I just go back in there and start to build up the transitions. How much darker do I want? The shadow side and how much transition do I wanted to the light side? So that's your goal is to figure out how to establish the core shadows so I can look at the contrast into the light and into the shadow, so side by side comparison real quick of our character and then our basic form breakdown. If you really want to become effective handling value with your characters, if you can break them down into basic and simple forms and then you can render transition on that in a make it easier for you to be able to figure out what are the important essential forms that really me structure. And then what are the things that you can kind of just throw on there and give him the magic treatment? Meaning that you're not going to invest a lot of time in, you know, trying to perfect the value on them and that you're gonna indicate some things. So practice the basics first, happy rendering. 5. Rendering Value on Character: we finally made it to rendering our character. You probably saw in the last video that I'm using a light table to do a trace back on the character, too. Get the essential parts that I need on and I keep this state pretty light so you can even see in the video that it's kind of hard to see because I don't want to make this so heavy that when I started rendering value that I've gotta fight against it. So I still have my rendered version of my character off to the side that I'm looking at in my mind. I'm thinking about this spherical volume when I'm rendering spherical things, and you have to be very clear about where your life sources if you lose track of where your life sources, things will flatten out really quickly, extremely quickly. So be conscious off if you need to put a sphere or cylinder like somewhere. If we need to put the arrow that shows where your light source is coming from. Because that's the most essential thing is not to lose sight of Where is the light and where is the shadow, which is again, why established that core shadow. And you can see here I'm always thinking about and working from core shadow and then going into shadow into light, primarily because if I know how dark something is, is easy to compare it to the light. And then it's easy to think about how much darker do I want this compared to the light instead of instead of just guessing and hoping that if I scribble enough magic, things will happen because we don't want to make that a principle of how we were that we just scribbled too really good things and hoping that really good things will happen so you could see that the value on this is very extremely similar to the simple spherical volume. The only difference with this one is that a matting in the details of the mouth and the nostrils, which it sounds bad, but they're almost like stickers, in this case, to a certain degree. Even the other elements, like the collar on the shirt in the bow, tie the pants. A lot of that is just decorative elements, and if I know what a light source is coming from, one thing that is going to help them integrate into the design is just making sure I put cash shadows. Word of the belong to help them stay anchor properly. Outside of that, Yeah, this is pretty simple, adding all of the clothing elements the you know, ears and folds and all that sort of stuff. It's just thinking about where's the light coming from, how much that is going to receive light and how much that is not receiving light. And the book of your questions are Is it directly receiving light? Or is it getting just reflected light is in the light side or is in the shadow side, and usually if you establish where your core shadow is, you know you have tow think necessarily as much. I mean, there's thinking involved, but it's not a whole lot. It's just you saying to yourself, How much do I want to push the value on this? And then eventually, when you feel really comfortable with these concepts of value, you can manipulate them however you want, meaning that if you don't want something to be as dark as it realistically would be that you're free to manipulated and you're free to you, you know, throw things into shadow darker than they normally would be. You know, push stuff into light, make something more shiny. You know, you have all the freedom of luxury in the world, so you can see I just kind of flipped back and did some quick comparisons of some versions of it. But I'll have the example in the classroom, and you can see here the two side by side, what it looks like when its basic forms and what it looks like, what is render. So hopefully you have an opportunity to use these concepts to render value in your own characters. You post him in the classroom so I can give you feedback so you can develop a body of work and develop a degree of comfort would rendering value in your characters. Thank you for joining for this course in happy rendering.