Transforming Character Design With Proportion

Brian Shepard, 2D Game Artist and Illustrator.

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7 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Assignment

    • 3. What Big Teeth You Have...!

    • 4. Body Builders

    • 5. Facial Features

    • 6. Negative Space

    • 7. Funhouse Mirror

21 students are watching this class

Project Description

Funhouse Mirror: Transform Your Favorite Character

Have you ever tried standing in front of one of those bizarre, wavy mirrors at a carnival? Your reflection probably looked a little funny. Maybe your forehead was bigger than normal, or your legs looked twice as long. We're going to do the same thing with a well known fantasy character!

This class is all about character proportions, so the idea is to focus on a few features and exaggerate them more than they normally are. Your final delivery should be an image of the character you chose to draw with these altered proportions.

  • First, upload a reference image to the Project Gallery of your chosen subject. A Google search should be easy enough to do in most cases, but you can upload a high quality photograph of your character if you prefer. Try to choose an image without any complicated or confusing poses -- just show us a clear, straightforward view of what your character looks like on a daily basis. Whoever you decide on doesn't have to be human, but they should have some sort of visible body structure, or at least discernible facial features. Otherwise you won't have much room to exaggerate things, which is the purpose of the assignment.


  • Next, create a simple blueprint of the features you're going to exaggerate, and upload this JPEG or PNG image to the Project Gallery. This step is meant to help you plan out your final drawing before diving right into it. It also gives the rest of us an idea of your thought process for how you choose to alter the proportion and scale of certain features. Stick to simple, single-color shapes in this drawing -- the important thing is for you to develop a guideline for size relationships. How many heads tall is your exaggerated character? How big are the eyes? How thick are the arms and legs? If you're having trouble deciding what changes to make, look at your reference image and see what features stand out most -- then reverse the formula. If their eyes are huge, make them small. If the nose is barely visible, make it long and pointy. The possibilities are endless.


  • Finally, upload your exaggerated character art as a PNG or JPEG image to the Project Gallery. This is the culmination of the previous steps. You can use any medium you want, with or without color! In fact, you're free to use 3D media like clay or modeling software if you have the time for it. The point is to show us how your version of the character is different than the original by playing with proportion and scale. Bonus points if you can match the pose of the original reference image you uploaded!


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