Illustration Academy: Creating a Charming Character | Judy Koot | Skillshare

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Illustration Academy: Creating a Charming Character

teacher avatar Judy Koot, Multidisciplinary Artist & Teacher

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Tools & Materials


    • 3.

      Drawing Exercise I: Shapes


    • 4.

      Drawing Exercise II: Silhouetting


    • 5.

      Drawing Exercise III: Movement


    • 6.

      Drawing Exercise IV: Black & White


    • 7.

      Drawing Exercise V: Patterns


    • 8.

      Putting It All Together


    • 9.

      Adding Details


    • 10.

      Creating Your Final Drawing


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


    • 12.

      Extra Character Demo I


    • 13.

      Extra Character Demo II


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About This Class

Join Judy Koot in this hands-on illustration class and learn how to design and draw a strong and elegant character in your own style, through an easy step-by-step method.
The only things you'll need are a few basic tools like pencils and paper.

Class Level
This class is suitable for both beginners and advanced students.
Beginners will learn how to draw a character through practical examples and clear instructions.
Advanced students will take away new tips and tricks to sharpen their drawing and character design skills.

End Results
By the end of the course, you'll have a charming black-and-white character you can use just as is, or enhance, ink, and/or color with your favorite tools and methods.
You'll also have a new skillset that will allow you to create an unlimited amount of unique, strong characters in the future.

Other Classes in This Series
If you enjoyed this class, check out Judy's other class in the Illustration Academy SeriesIllustration Academy: Creating an Animal-Inspired Character.

Video background music by © Mockmoon, used with permission.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Judy Koot

Multidisciplinary Artist & Teacher


Judy Koot is a multidisciplinary artist and teacher based in the Netherlands. 

She has been drawing since she was two, studied Illustrative Design at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, and interned as a writer, poet and illustrator at renowned Dutch children's book publisher Ploegsma in Amsterdam.

Her work ranges from whimsical to mythical, oftentimes featuring dreamy characters, inspirational texts, and bold colors.

Connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest -- she'd love to hear from you!
Find her illustrated goods on and

See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Hi, everyone. Welcome to illustration to get me creating the charming character in this class, you will learn how to design and draw a strong and elegance black and white character in your own style. This glass is suitable for beginners. They will only need a few basic tools, like pencils and paper. My name is Judy Coats, and I'm a multi disciplinary artist and teacher based in the Netherlands. In this class will be doing a series of specific throwing exercises in which you will learn how to build a character from the ground up by using geometrical shapes, still wetting any movement. And then you will learn how to create contrast by using black and wide and interesting betters. By the end of this class, you will have a charming black and white character that you can use justice is or that you can think and recall her with your favorite tools and methods. I'm very curious what you guys will come up with, and I hope you do in my class and wish you happy drawing 2. Tools & Materials: Let's talk about what you'll need. First, you'll need some basic sketching paper. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. I just choose paper for my printer. For the final drawing, you will be needing high quality drawing paper, and I just use my sketchbook, which has high quality as a tree, drawing paper off 120 grams by the brand. A. Hannah Mullah on it has a slightly toothy texture. This will give the lines slightly rough look, but you can also use smoother paper if you want your lines to be smoother and rougher paper . If you want your pencil lines to be rougher, also, think about what you want to do what you're drawing. I want to keep it just as is. And maybe enhancing digitally or in contentiously, was. If you want to think it by hand or use fine liners or whatever type of ink you want to use , you might want to consider using thicker paper, and you might also want to think about what smoothness or roughness you wanted to have. Also think about the end result or the thing you want to do with it next. If you want to color it by hand. You might want to think about what type off paper you will be needing for that and use that paper to make your pencils wrong on. For example, if you want to use watercolor, think about using watercolor paper. Okay, you will also be needing basic drawing pencils. I'll be using to self let pencils to be pencil can A to B pencil, which gave a darker and slightly rougher results. I used to be pencil for sketching and outlining and the softer to be pencil to add more details and darken larger areas. You can also use harder pencils like to H in an H to create finer details. But they are also a lot lighter than to be pencil, so this is a personal choice. You will also be needing an eraser and a pencil sharpener. And instead of a pencil sharpener, you can also use a hobby knife and or some fine sandpaper to sharpen your pencils with. I will also be using a piece off cloth. In this case, Black felt to put under my hand. That's not too smart, my drawing, but you can also use a piece of paper or a piece of cardboard. Furthermore, I'll be using a piece of cloth. In this case, it's notes T shirt to remove a razor debris. You can also use a soft brush and I'll be using this makeup brush. But you can also be using a paintbrush or whatever broad brush you have lying around. Okay, now that you have all your tools, let's get started. 3. Drawing Exercise I: Shapes : Let's start with building our skeleton by using geometrical shapes, a triangle, a square, a rectangle, a basic circle, an oval and some other shapes like ah, half circle and a trapeze. IAM. So start by sketching some basic figures with ease. Few geometrical shapes. So I start by using a square and a rectangle and sticks for arms and legs. Here I'm trying a circle and another circle, and again I'll be using sticks for arms and legs, an upset on triangle, her rectangle and again sticks for arms and legs, an oval, a square. And now I'm trying some triangles for arms and legs. 1/2 circle. Yes, rip easy, Um, and no, I'm trying some rectangles for arms and legs, so try experimenting with different geometrical shapes. 4. Drawing Exercise II: Silhouetting: So in this lesson we will be doing something I call civil wetting. So what we want to do is creating a strong and simple character that when you look at it, you can recognize immediately as a character on, but that I mean, don't make it too complicated here. I'm going to give you a few examples in which the character will look quite complicated. And that's because I've drawn it or I'll be drawing it with their limbs crossing in front, off the torso. Think of it as kind of a logo when you put when you would make your character old black and put it on a white background. Can you recognize it immediately? As a strong character here, I'm doing another one, So what you see is quite a cluttered image. Now I'm going to draw a few characters that are clear and concise, and this means I'm going to do that by not putting the limbs in front of the torso but keeping them free from the torso so you can put an arm and to decide and two to head and bend the legs, or do whatever you want with limbs. Justus, long as they are not crossing in front of the torso. So now try drawing a few characters with limbs cutting in front of the torso and a few characters with their limbs freely floating away from the torso. 5. Drawing Exercise III: Movement : in this strong exercise, we're going to add movement to our character. So I will start withdrawing a basic static character That's just standing like this. And now I'm going to just tilt the head to show you. But by just doing one thing differently, you can make a lot of difference. I'm building the head to daughter side when I should concede. E you've already created a different type of character. So now I'm going to show you what happens when you bro face on the head. Even one had its stilted same way. Don't go to give you three different examples. So by just tilting the head and drawing the face in different ways, you already have a whole range off possibilities. The 1st 1 is turned towards us. The 2nd 1 is facing to the left, and the 3rd 1 is during about 1/4. You might want to enlarge your video to see this up close, so try experimenting with this yourself. So now I'm going to tilt another part of the body to create movement in this case, the torso. So, as you can see by tilting it to the right, we've already created different character. Now I'm going to draw the torso horizontally and now I'm going. Teoh put the head in a different place. So you don't even have to do very complicated things. You can just make a slight adjustments and you already have a different type of character. So now I'm going to tilt the head and the torso. So try experimenting with that as as well, so first only the head and only the torso and then had an A torso. So now I'm going to show you what it looks like if you draw the limbs in a different place . So if started with a basic standard character, them put arms right, right up. And here I do the same. But well, maybe a millimeter different. And here I'm experimenting with one arm to decide in one arm, pointing to left. You can also bend the limbs. You don't have to keep them straight, of course, and this will add another dimension. And now we're going to put it all together. So I'm going to tilt the head torso and meant the limbs on the here. I'm doing another one. And to add yet another dimension of movement, I'm going to bend the torso as well. So that's something you can do is well. You can bend not only the limbs about the torso to at more dynamic to your character. 6. Drawing Exercise IV: Black & White: So in this drawing exercise, we will be experimenting with black and white as a means of creating interesting contrasts . What I'm going to do ISS steak a basic character and draw this character a couple of times . So this could just be aesthetic figure, and you could do that yourself. For this, I'll be drawing a basic extending character, and I'm going to caller. We'll fill different parts off the body with black, or leave it to create white just to create interesting contrasts. So I suggest you do the same. Just draw a couple of the same characters and experiment with that. I'm going to give the first character well, type off dark on the bends or swimming trunks on the second character, a black shirt. And then I'm going to leave the lower part white. So think about breaking up your character into smaller pieces and then alternating the color off those pieces. So if you made one part black, leave another white and then make another part black again. So don't do just one big surface off black but create balance and alternated to the fourth character has a nice bikini top and short bends and You can also add some dark skin, a nice dark skin tone like this. So just by using black and white, you can create interesting contrasts, and you can give the illusion off dark skin or dark bands or other pieces of clothing. 7. Drawing Exercise V: Patterns: and this strong exercise, we're going to work with patterns. So just as with the black and whites throwing exercise, we will be starting withdrawing a few basic characters. So I drew for characters the same type of characters, and now I'm going to draw a few basic betters and show you what it looks like if you use the same character but use different bedrooms. I'm doing some horizontal lines, some vertical lines and some crossing lines. Um, diagonal lines, just your your basic burns. So when you start wrong betters, don't make it too complicated. Don't do all kinds off delicate and intricate flowers. Just pick a few basic shapes to make matters with those basic shapes. So what we want to do is create a strong and elegant character, and we can achieve this by keeping the patterns very basic, instead off making all kinds of intricate parents that on the detract from the drawing you could do it. But then you would create a whole different type off character, and it's a bit beyond scope off this class. So now I'll be picking a few basic veterans and just experimental dose, so I suggest you do the same. Just roll a few basic figures, then draw a few patterns you find interesting and then just start experimenting with does So here I'm doing again. A dark shirt so bad in the shirt, Andi pick better and and in this case, I'll be doing a triangular pattern. You can break up your character in smaller pieces and then use patterns on those, just like we did with the black and white. In this week, we can use different types off patterns to create interesting contrasts and make the drawing more dynamic. 8. Putting It All Together: So in this lesson, we will be putting it all together. I'm just going to take all my sketches, all the drone exercises we did, and I'm going to look with them and see what I find most interesting. And you can just use a pencil marker for that. So take a look at your drawings. Start with the basic shapes exercise, and I just Mark would have find most interesting. So I like this one on hair. I like that one. And also this one, so you can choose as many characters as you like. Okay, So, like this one and that one here, I'm going to choose to as well, my friend, those the most interesting. So now I'm going to take to characters on do some basic sketches, So I like the horizontal flying one you could say, and I'm starting with the of course, using the shapes like the most. And I'm just students, some drawings just experimenting in here. I have a few sketches and of the sketches. I will be picking that one, and I will be picking the pattern and I find most interesting. So that's a black shirt and a skirt with triangles on it, and then we have our basic bear character, So let's get to the next lesson 9. Adding Details: So we ever a basic character with the movement we want on black and white and veterans and shapes we want. Now we're going to add details to make it come alive, so I'll be adding some boots and I'm going to make them like, because that will be more interesting, I find. So think about creating compress While you are adding details, I'm going to add some striped stockings just to add a fun little extra pattern on and just change the shape of the head a bit. I don't want to create some reading ice flowing hair like she's flying in the air. And again, I'm going to make the hair black, too, because that will add some interesting contrasts with the white face can and will be more balance overall. Instead of keeping it white or light strong a little here on, I'm going to draw very basic official features. So just a plain knows the mouth close eyes in this case and a bit of a blush on your cheeks . Andi again, Just as with the banners, we kept that simple. Try to keep your details rather simple, so don't give the eyes eyelashes and do all kinds off intricate stuff. Just keep it simple and a little accessory or actually fruit an apple. But I don't think it fits quite well, so I'll be changing that. I think I'm going to do the heart. It will be more fitting because she looks so dreamy. So you can do all kinds off details and, um, accessories like bags. And when you do hair, you can think off curly hair off, long hair, short hair flowing hair straight or spike there. And you can also think about adding hats and the type of stuff and heading different types of, uh, fun accessories or headphones or a crown. But again, try to keep it simple. I'm going to add a little, uh, some some banks just to give it a little more charm. And there I have my finished, detailed character sketch. So let's get to the next lesson 10. Creating Your Final Drawing: So get your drawing tools and your nice, strong paper ready. I got out my sketch and I'm going to start with basic outlining. And for this out. Be using my B pencil. So because the B pencil is so much harder than the to be pencil, I can drawl very light lines with it. But you can also use on HB pencil warn H pencil, if you prefer. I'm starting with the basic shapes and basic outlines, and I keep it very lights. Now I'm going to take my softer pencil I to be pencil, and I'm going to draw or make some lines darker and at a little more detail. So if you go to do your final drawing, think about working from light to dark. So always start with lifelines and a light sketching like shapes, and then work towards darker lines. Also, think about ah, working from big to small, so from basic over few or basic out finds to more and more detail. So, as you can see, the soft to be pencil gives a nice dark color. I like to just start with the easier shapes, so that means filling the heart and assured in the hair, just the big black surfaces. So I usually safe the the more difficult things for lay there for the more detail things for later. So again, I'm working from from big to small from from Global two detailed. So the skirt is actually the hardest part because off the intricate, actually because of the geometrical shapes. So if you don't do it correctly, it will look a little bit off again. I start with light and then make it darker and darker, and she can see I'm using my piece off cloth or Piece of felt has Do not smudge my, uh, drawing. You can use a piece of paper piece of car poor for death, and also use your erase or use your A razor like it's actually another drawing toe I uses to shape my drawing, and I use it quite a lot, and I also used my brush or piece of cloth to get rid off the razor debris. Here. I'm refining the lines on, and I'm also going to because it's a little bit dark or it has marched on the outside. That's this advantage of ah, soft let pencils is that it because it's so soft, it's much is more easily than harder pencils, and you could see the difference now between my a basic sketch and my final drawing. 11. Final Thoughts: we've reached the end of this glass. Let's do a little recap. We started with basic geometrical shapes and build a basic skeleton. Then we did some still waiting by leaving the limbs free from the torso. Then we created movement by tilting and bending separate parts off the characters body. And we created contrasts by using black and wides and by using interesting patterns. Then we put it all together and created a sketch. I did some nice little details and made a final drawing of it. You can leave your drone. Justice is, or you can, for example, like I did here a digitally enhance it and add a little color. Or you can think it and or Qala rate, which would prefer to some methods. At the end of this class, you will find two bonus lessons in which I show you how I did two other characters by using the same set off drawing exercises. I'm very curious what you guys came up with. So upload your character to the product section and also make sure to leave kind and constructive feedback on a work off others. I hope you guys enjoyed my class, and I hope to see in one off my next ones 12. Extra Character Demo I: 13. Extra Character Demo II: