Simple Animals with Simple Stories - Cute Illustration with a Narrative | Terry Runyan | Skillshare

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Simple Animals with Simple Stories - Cute Illustration with a Narrative

teacher avatar Terry Runyan, Visual Artist & Creative Encourager

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Your Project


    • 3.

      Beyond Decorative & Pattern


    • 4.

      Storytelling From Experience


    • 5.

      Storytelling From Research


    • 6.

      Creating Animal Characters


    • 7.

      Facial & Body Expression plus Random Shape Animals


    • 8.

      Personality & Anthropomorphizing


    • 9.

      Story Props & Cast of Characters


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Welcome to Simple Animals with Simple Stories! 

I'm Terry Runyan, visual artist, and I will be sharing with you how you can create cute animals while telling a story with your art.

I have been illustrating cute animals and visual stories for well over 35 years.  I spent 30 years as an in-house illustrator for a social expressions company where I created cards, children’s books, gift items and numerous other storytelling product.

In this class you will learn:

*How to tell a simple story through illustration and art.

*How to create cute animal characters for your story.

*How to bring your illustration to the next level with story telling.

*The difference between decorative and pattern art compared to storytelling.

*How to pull story ideas from your own experiences.

*How to pull story ideas from research without copying.

*How to use facial and body expression to tell a story.

*Using anthropomorphizing on animal characters.

*How to use props and a cast of characters for storytelling.

You might be interested in two books I just completed about drawing animals and characters.  The books are available here:

To learn more about finding your art style, check out my Skillshare class Discovering Your Art Style Through Daily Creating here:

You can find all the supplies I use and the links here:

You can find some  awesome character design inspiration on Pinterest here:

I look forward to seeing your projects!  If you have any questions please post them in the comments section or with your project.  I'm on Skillshare most days and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks again!!

Music in order of use:


*Kick_the_Can The Mini Vandals

*Bongo_Madness-Quincas Moreira

*Mr_Sunny_Face Wayne Jones

*Merengue_de_Limon Quincas Moreira

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Terry Runyan

Visual Artist & Creative Encourager



Hi!  I'm Terry Runyan Visual Artist and Creative Encourager.  I love creating and exploring how the creative process unfolds.  I see creativity as a means to connect, communicate and share with others! 

In my classes I go into depth with what I teach with watercolor, drawing, cute characters, story telling in art, mixed media, collage, Procreate and all things related to creativity. 

I love encouraging people to explore there creativity for the joy of it!  Plus there is often the extra benefit of having art to share!  I hope you join me!




My favorite supplies:

Daily Cre... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Welcome: Welcome to simple animals with simple stories. Cute illustration with a narrative. I'm Terry Runyan. I have been creating animal characters for a while now, and I will be focusing on animals in this particular class, along with very simple, cute, happy, giggly stories and how to achieve that in your art. It's a way to bring your art your illustration to another level and engage people through the art of storytelling. This class is for those of you who just want a simple how to around creating cute animals and having a simple story with your artwork. I have quite a background in doing storytelling with my art. I was an in house illustrator for 30 years for a greeting card company, and I also did several Children's books while working there. I just completed two books and they're drawing books. So all linked to those in the about section in this class I'll be sharing a lot of my own work and the stories I've told through my illustration. I'll also be doing some drawing and some demo video in this class. We're really going to be covering just the basic ideas of creating cute characters and stories will be using the most basic narrative style. These stories can be used to make someone smile warm. Someone's heart, maybe make somebody giggle their ideal for greeting cards and calendars, and also fantastic for posting the social media to brighten somebody's day. This is not a course on decorative art or surface pattern design. Storytelling can be incorporated into both of these types of artwork, but there is a difference, and I'll be explaining that in the section on storytelling. This is also not a class about discovering your art style. I do have a class here on skill share. That's all about that. That doesn't mean that you won't get clearer about your art style and taking this class. And that's the cool thing about art. Whenever we move into doing our art, we start to discover what it is that makes our aren't unique to us. I'll be going over how to generate ideas for stories, how to come up with your own ideas for stories and how to develop animals and characters. So let's go ahead and jump into creating a visual story. 2. Your Project: for your class project. I would like for you guys to create some cute or fun animal characters and have them interacting with each other or have an emotional connection with the viewer or some type of story going on. Remember, these don't have to be complicated. They could be extremely simple, which is really what the aim of this course is. I've created a list of story ideas and possible characters. You could choose in the about section just to make a few suggestions off the bat. Think about your animal characters and how they're connecting to each other. Maybe there's an animal character giving a flower or heart to another animal character, maybe the gift of a smile, an eye. Contact little animals with big animals like a mouse and an elopement, maybe ones helping the other. I personally love the relationship between cats and other animals because I got a couple cats here to set an example for me. I love that cats are so aloof and kind of grouchy a lot of the time. They can also be extremely cute and loving and giving, but you know it's all on their terms, and I like to play this up with my storytelling. So thinking about what this illustration is for maybe you have a card you want to do for a friend. Or maybe you're building up your portfolio and one at a birthday card of some sort or celebration. Let's do one of those now with some animal characters. So the story here is mostly going to be between the person who gets this card and the person who sends it. Somebody do a single animal character with a little birthday gift offering trusty glasses just for fun. I'm gonna start with the eyeballs on this one, and these eyeballs are gonna be looking straight at the recipient, giving it a little extra happiness by adding the heart tail way. Have a happy little squirrel bringing a cupcake and a hat back in the greeting card days. We'd call this a bringer. You don't like to do this without cheeks, so we'll add some cheeks with a little marker. You can see how simple it is to do a story. These stories don't have to be complex. Doing a little character giving a gift is an awesome way to tell a story, and it has three off factor. The emotional connection with the viewer. So that's ah thing to keep in mind for your projects. So let's move on to the next section. 3. Beyond Decorative & Pattern: but that I go ahead and do a little video here about maybe pointing out the difference between storytelling and a decorative image or a surface pattern. And it really comes down to an emotional connection between the characters or between the character and the viewer. So let's try some stuff with patterns and show the difference when a story comes into it. So I'm gonna paint some mushrooms and paint mushrooms is if they're just going to be mushrooms and nothing more and mushrooms are awesome, and there's nothing wrong with just having a pattern of mushrooms. But having a pattern of mushrooms without anything else doesn't necessarily tell the story . So we're gonna look at how possibly we could make this to make it more of a story unless of a surface pattern or decorative piece to keep this interesting. I am attempting to vary the shapes a bit with these mushrooms. No, I could do more around that by varying the colors, too. But for this demo, I'm not gonna do that, cause this is really a demo about adding story to a pattern. So we have our mushroom pattern here and grab my dryer and get this dried so like we can continue on what? Quickly. So we have some cute little mushrooms, come in with my black line and put a few details on here. But my white pen here and I'm gonna do a little patterning and you're thinking, What does this have to do? A story telling nothing. These air, just some cute little mushrooms. And they're not storytelling there, just sitting here being cute. So we're gonna add some cute animals to this to make it more of a story through a few pieces of grass in there. So now we've got this surface pattern and or decorative piece of artwork. So in order to add story to it, I'm going to bring in some characters to connect emotionally with the audience and with each other and just know that I could have made thes mushrooms into characters by adding eyes and nose and smiles and such. But this is a class on animal drawing. Swimming added some animals now and we'll go from there. My animal creatures are very simple. I use a lot of round shapes with my animals, which round shapes make things look more cute. Where square shapes make things look a little more solid. I'm going to go into other types of animals as we go along in this class besides cats. But for now, cats and mice usually always make for some sort of good stories. So I thought I'd throw a cat in here being really messy with my painting. You don't have to be this messy. Thanks. I'm going along here and I'm not totally sure what the story is yet. That's why later on, this class is going to be talking about researching and coming up with ideas prior to starting. There's also this method of just jumping in and seeing what story shows up for. Now, I'm just going to get going on this peace and see what kind of story develops. Okay, get a little bit more of a story here with these mice staring at this cat. You don't really know what's gonna happen, and I could develop the story further, but we'll play with that more as we move along. So let's go ahead and jump into creating a visual story. 4. Storytelling From Experience: Okay, then creating visual story. Remember, we're really trying to keep it simple here in this class. So we're just going to focus in on what's important in the single scene, that we're creating some of the things to keep in mind with storytelling. Is there some sort of emotional interaction between the characters or the character and the viewer? That emotion really helps people to follow a story and to engage in a story. It also invites them to share in an experience. And you can also include telltale signs, which is adding things to your illustration that give away information. I personally have a recurring story. I like to dio and that is cat on head. And this came to me because whenever I lie down or do anything where a cat can get to me, they seem to get on my head. For those of you who have a get, you might relate to this, so I'll show you how I do that here. Now I have drawn a lot of dogs and I've drawn a lot of cats, so I didn't do a lot of research for this, which I'll talk about in future sections. I got a general idea how dogs looking out cats look especially with one on top of the others head. So I'm just winging it here and I'm just making some shapes. But I'm of the firm belief that any shape can become a cat. I'm using a really lightweight paper right now, so it's doing a lot of buckling, which I'm not used to So making it work with storytelling as I'm gonna talk about later on in this class, a lot of the story is in the expression of the animals faces. I'm gonna talk about how the eyes look and how the mouth looks. And all the different features could make a big difference in how the story goes with cute characters. It often doesn't take a lot of information to be able to tell what the characters are. Adding whiskers and ears and a tail to a shape. Plus a few clause can really say a lot about this character being a cat, that this is a good natured fellow. I also like to make my animals just a little cuter by giving them cheeks and maybe a bit of for So in this little study, I started with the shape that became a dog. You'll find as we go along here that I don't have much of a plan here when I start these little character animal stories and they kind of develop as I go. But that is, after many, many years of researching and keeping an eye out for what's going on with storytelling and from my own experience of how cats and dogs are together and just cat attitudes in general , a simple story could either be really subtle or it could hit you over the head, as I've said in this class will be keeping the stories simple, even though they may be very powerful. You can always add complexity to a scene, but with storytelling, you're really wanting to get people's attention on what the story is. So keep in mind that as a main focus when you're doing your illustration, also, a visual story in an illustration can give a sense of time. A sequence of events can be imagined from that single image. You get a sense for what might have happened before, or what might happen after. You can also, of course, bring an immediate emotional response to the scene at hand through facial expression, eye contact and body posture. Ah, lot could be communicated in a piece of art. It's always good to ask yourself questions about your characters in order to get a story going. Who are the characters? What is their relationship to each other? What are they trying to achieve, where they going? Simple questions like this will help you to develop a story around your characters. I'll be discussing this further in the character section of this class. Also, you could think about what the artist for is it to make someone's day? Is it to bring a smile to someone's face? Do you want to make people laugh? All these things can be taken into consideration when developing your story. It's awesome to pull funny, quirky, interesting ideas from your own life and maybe from the life of the people you see around you. This concert only be seen and how much I focus on cats in my storytelling because, after all, I live with a couple of cats. Also funny and interesting situations you see in your life really come to life in an illustration when an animal have seen doing those things, so keep an eye out for the stories around you, and possibly they could become your next illustration. You can pull personalities and characters from your human friends as well as your animal friends. Who does it remind you of? Which one of your animals are your friends, animals sticks in your mind and why all these enquiries will help you to hone in on a story telling stories about what you know can be brought to life in an animal character. Maybe that cat character you make can be a bit grouchy. Kind of like somebody else. You know, in the next section will be talking about generating stories, coming up with story ideas from nothing basically looking through research and generating ideas from ideas you see out there and tweaking them to be your own story. Remember that no art is really new. We're all learning from each other and growing and changing and shifting stories that have been told for ever. And so you don't have to come up with a perfectly unique story. You will make it unique by adding your personality to it and your own characters to it. So let's jump into that section now. 5. Storytelling From Research: So what if we don't have any ideas? What if we're just like I don't know? It's just blank here. I suggest looking at a lot of research. I love looking at research and love, looking through what other artists have done, what photographers have done, you could look at Children's books. There's all kinds of places to get story. Ideas were going to be paying attention to what lights us up, paying attention to what interests us and exploring those sparks of inspiration. As we develop our own story in our own characters, any of those felt senses of excitement or a lifting of spirit. That's the time to stop researching. Just take a break for a minute and start working on something. Jot down your ideas, do some little thumbnail drawings, cause that inspiration comes and goes really quickly. From my experience, the thing that has really helped me with my productivity in my storytelling in my character is art is to move with e inspiration when it happens. Rather than waiting till a later time, it also keeps us creating rather than consuming. When we consume and don't produce and create, we can get kind of bogged down and it can feel like a creative block. Or it can feel like you're just exhausted. Or it can feel like you have actually done something because you did. All this research will not actually put in your pencil down on the paper. So I get that. I used to do that a lot. So just a little tip there that if you move with your inspiration when it happens, it really makes a huge difference to your ability to create fun characters and stories. Once you have that hit of inspiration and you start to jot down some ideas, or maybe you go directly to an illustration, you can ask yourself, what if questions to help expand your story. So you know what? If that character wasn't a dog, but it was a fish. Some of those What if questions might be things like, What could happen after this scene? What if something just happened before the scene and the scene is the results? What if the animal was driving a truck and had a bunch of friends in the back? Remember that? What if questions are a wonderful way to develop and expand on story ideas? One more point. I want to make about researching. Make sure you look at a lot of different artists, a lot of different characters, all kinds of different scenes, all kinds of different stories. We don't want to get too close to anyone. Artist with our work, the more were influenced by a large number of people and bring those inspirations together into our own unique voice. This will really make a difference to your development as an illustrator and artists and your own personal style. So as far as coming up with stories, and I keep a lot of Pinterest boards to kind of spur my imagination and I'll show you a few of those here, I've got different characters. I keep here. We have a board with hamsters and guinea pigs, and when I looked through this kind of stuff, sometimes I'll look through animals that isn't the animal I'm going to create. But there'll be a shape with one of these pieces of art that tracks me, and I'll go with that shape for a different type of animal. So it's a really good idea to save your research to boards like this. Here's my CAT board with cute cats. Some of my own works on here, but there's just all kinds of situations, you know, here we have a cat scrubbing itself, but that could just as well be a dog. And you could take that story into another direction. Maybe a dog is scrubbing a cat. I don't know. So this is a really useful thing to Dio when you're developing stories when you don't have something to draw from from your own life, just know that experiences from your own life will show up in your stories, even if that's not how they started here. Because you bring yourself to the story. You bring yourself to your art whenever you go to create. So again looking at lots of different artists, a lot of different styles, a lot of different stories and jotting down ideas for your own stories. I just love this little situation here and what other animals want to sneak food besides cats? You could take that idea in another direction. Yeah, so I think you get the idea of this full belly of the cat. Maybe it's another type of animal that's got food and spell E. This is one of my works here, where the cat is bewildered by all these butterflies and it's not catching anything, so that could be any character. And it could be any kind of bug. Or maybe it's a bird. This is how I generate ideas when I'm not coming up with anything just for my own life. And it's fun to see what other artists have done. Another stories that are out there to help spur a story for you. You never know what that story is going to go once you start drawing and painting. Okay, let's draw a few situations. That'll give you a little inspiration about what a story could be. And I'm going to draw some animals here in the next section, I'll go more into how to style your animals and make them cute and appealing. But for now, we're just going to focus on little story telling vignettes. So what I do when I'm drawing an animal is I kind of take the essence of the animal and draw that I got the trunk. I've got the ear, all the essential pieces to an elephant. I'm gonna wait on the I, though, cause I'm not sure the story here yet I think it's gonna be a mouse and an elephant, So I'm gonna go with that in mind. And this little mouse is going to be a little mouse bringing a gift to this elephant. It's a wonky little mouse. Luckily, we can do whatever we want with our characters. I always like to put knees on my elephants. This is a happy little elephant, so that little elephant is getting a mouse gift here. I'm using the posture of the body to show a leaning in towards each other. We seem to have ourselves some bunnies so you can see having these two bunnies connecting and giving each other a hug brings an emotion into the story. Or you can know what's happening here. This cat is leaning away from this dog, and here we're using the downward facing eyes is a way of not caring. So this little interaction gives you an idea that maybe this cat doesn't care much for whatever this dog is up to. So there's a few little ideas for you. Remember, I have a list of other idea starters in the about section, so take a look. There will also listen, animals that you can match up with the situations. If you want to start there with your storytelling in the next section, I'm gonna be sharing with you about creating animal characters and doing some demos around , creating animal characters and how these characters can be telling a story. 6. Creating Animal Characters: in this section, we're going to be drawing and playing with animal character development or our stories and one of the things I want you to keep in mind, just like the rest of this class. We're trying to keep these characters relatively simple. That doesn't mean they are gonna have a lot of expression and emotion and connection ability with the viewer. But we don't need to over complicate our characters in order to get a story across. Keep in mind when you're starting out with animal character art, you want to break your characters into simple shapes, and those could be square triangles and circles. You also want to vary your proportions and size relationships within your character. Now these air not hard and fast rules. I have a tendency now with a lot of character art behind me not to break my shapes up when I'm creating character. It's more of a free form kind of drawing, but as you start out, it's helpful to draw characters by putting shapes together. So I'm gonna do a demo now of simplifying and style izing some animal characters so that you can see how you might want to start off with developing your characters. So I'm going to start with a bunny rabbit. I'm gonna make this a cute bunny. So I know I want to make a round head, something that you can keep in mind when you're doing characters that a larger head in a smaller body usually makes the animal look younger and cute. So I'm gonna do a little square body and a couple little things for years. They're more like an oval shape where I didn't continue the end and this money is going to be sitting. So I've got the little feet. We have a little triangle for the knows. The other thing to keep in mind the cuter and younger a character is the lower down on the face. The features are So let me show you another example of that. And this bunny could be looking up, but you can see that the higher they go this looks more like a adolescent rather than a baby. And this looks more like a baby bunny. And you can really hit that home when you make body even smaller. Got a little catty. Want this with my bunny year? But you get the picture. So using a cat as an example which I'm so familiar with Get around head for acuteness little triangle ears, A little square body tail Could do whatever you want because cats tails dio gonna make this a cute young cats. So I'm gonna keep the features low on the face and and the eyeballs low as well. Little tiny paws. Those features got a little high, so I'm gonna show you again. Keep drawing. You can make mistakes like I have been to keep the features low on the face, little triangle nose and a happy face. And a tiny little body was a kid. He's a baby now if I want to draw an adult cat going to put the face up a little higher triangle, nose eyes or higher the cats now grumpy since it's an adult cat and the body proportionately would be larger with the way cats look when they get older. Now you can see that this is one way to draw a cat or a bunny. Or we can do a dog this way too. They've got a bigger knows. This is a happy puppy, little tiny body and a dog grown up. You can see I'm not doing this with much care as faras wanting to keep it just right. And this is really important to do when you're learning how to draw characters because you don't wanna be perfect about it. You want toe? Really? Just have fun and see what shows up. No, I could feel a whole page with different ways to draw a dog. Here's a square head dog, big old nose, round eyeballs. Maybe this dog is leery of that other dog. Maybe they got their tongue out. Dogs usually have collars. I'm gonna make this dog lying down. And generally dogs have a pointy tail and cats have a rounded tail so you can see these drawings. A really quirky. I'm not trying to make him perfect. I'm also drawing with a pen that does not erase. So I'm kind of stuck with what I draw here, and that's a good practice to do to not over edit yourself. Remember those shapes that you hate or you do something you don't like. That could turn into something later. So this time I'm gonna do a triangle head. It's a little triangle years and this to me looks like a fox. So got the fox going on here. And I know foxes that their tail is really fluffy and pointed. So we have the square. We have the triangles. This is a eyeball shape, really, But it's sort of a circle with some triangles at the end. Just breaking it down here so you can just continue on with this. A bear. We know bears got little rounded ears. They're kind of larger in the torso. Maybe this one standing up, he's got little square legs. Maybe this bear is holding ah, heart. Sometimes they have a little tail long nails. The other thing about a beer that I like. They have a snout. The sticks out, so all usually draw the snout this way on a front facing bear that makes you think it's a bear. When you're drawing your characters, remember to vary those shapes. You want to make sure that to keep him interesting that you want to keep the shape size variation active in your drawing so you get more characters to choose from. So with the bear, I can make a huge head on this bear and a smaller body with tiny little feet. Maybe this bear has little tiny eyes and it's suspicious of something. Or maybe this bear has a smaller head on has been eaten the honey from the honey bull and then grabbing up all the available food. How about a very tall, slender bear? This bear is going to bring a flower, So try a lot of different shapes with your animals. And I know from researching bears that they have claws. I'm gonna give this guy a Billy button just cause I can't. After you've researched animals a lot, you have a general feel for what they look like. Then you can spend less time doing proportions and stuff and war time just doing free flow , drawing and distorting. In that way, one of the other things I want to encourage you guys to try is to create a bunch of versions of the characters that you are creating. I've drawn ah bunch of cats in my life, and because of this I have a pretty good understanding of how I can distort those or how I can start with something that doesn't even look like a cat and make it into a cat. So drawing your animal over and over again and different styles is a wonderful way to explore possibilities with animal character. I'm gonna show you a few ways to do that now. - So keep drawing just Philip a page with one type of an animal and see what you come up with. The more you do this, the better you'll get at your animal character design. You'll also surprise yourself with shapes you do come up with. It's really fun to push and pull your shapes to distort and stylized your animals. This keeps, um, fun and takes it away from, ah, more realistic style with animals. Now there's nothing to say that realistic animals can't be telling a story, and we all know they're very cute. So this is going to be a demo about how to style eyes, your animals and not so much draw them realistically. But remember, there's nothing wrong with adding a lot of for and details to an animal. I'm gonna show you how I distort and push and pull my characters to kind of get variation and personality into them. So I'm gonna do that while working on birds, and here we go. So a bird shape, basically, is something like this, right? It's got a head, has got a tail Little big, tiny. I not a lot of distortion a little bit. And I want to push and pull these shapes so that I get a lot of variation in my character. So it's always kind of fun to do birds with long necks. So I've got all the elements here. Have got the head shape in the body shape. Small body. Maybe it's a tiny tail, and maybe this is a large beaked bird. Kind of looks like it might be a dodo bird. And to make him look a little bit more doughy, I'm gonna put the eyes high on the head a little bit closer together, and maybe he's got just a tiny little wing. I like to put feathers off the tops of birds heads, so we have one variation in style. We could dio a little tiny head with a larger body, which looks more like a dove. Let's see what else really push and pull your characters. Sometimes when you do this, you get an idea of what type of bird or character it is, and then all the little details make a big difference. Drilling really fast here. So pretty sloppy. Take your time If that feels like the right way to go for you making plenty of mistakes here. So you guys can see that this is how we learn. Put a little mad bird into this situation. So there we have it, pushing and pulling shapes to create different characters to create variation. Always have fun drawing birds because, like cats, almost any shape can become a bird. You may want to be creating an animal for your story that is one you've never drawn before or you're not familiar with enough to be able to just draw it. And this is when research is a good idea. The recent books I did around drawing animals and characters required that I did some research into each animal that I hadn't drawn. I've never drawn an impala, and I think I'd only drawn one rhino in my life, which I must tell you was not my favorite. So researching these animals really helped me to get a better idea of how they look in real life, plus researching how other artists have interpreted the animal is really helpful, and it's a great way to learn for your own way of staying an animal. But in addition to the actual way the animal looks, it's really great to know what the environment is that an animal lives in or what an animal's personality is like or their characteristics as that animal giraffe having a long neck to eat, leaves off the top for tree, or an elephant with this long trunk bathing in a river and squirting himself off with water . You can take animals also and create a story out of their particular characteristics. Like a raccoon, for instance, would make a great bandit, and maybe your giraffe is a world champion basketball player. You can also send your animal characters in the opposite direction to their personality. Maybe your lion characters is a scaredy cat or your mouse character is strong and brave. There's all kinds of stories that could be weaved out of doing the opposite of what a character is known for, or leaning into what the character is known for, or playing with their particular characteristics. To create a story, make sure you change up the expressions of your character and Maybe they're tired. Maybe they're happy. Maybe they're grouchy. These things can all be portrayed with the same character, and this could lead to all kinds of new stories in the future or hone in on the character for this particular art that you're creating now with these character drawings. Just start anywhere, make a lot of drawings, make a lot of bad drawings. Sometimes those drawings that I make that are like OK, what is going on here? Turn out to be the coolest thing when looked at from another angle. Maybe there's a shape there that I wouldn't have considered, or that happy accident becomes the best animal that you've ever created. I love working with what shows up. Not by my intention. The more we draw and make mistakes and trying new things, the more breath and depth will have in our animal characters. Using props in an illustration is always fun to get across the personality of an animal and the story that's being told. Think about things like an easy chair. If something is sitting in an easy chair, you kind of get the idea that perhaps there's laziness going on. So if I throw a bear in an easy chair, and he's kicking back. What a cool Dads day card that would be from the storytelling section. I went into how evoking an emotion or a feeling in the scene and with the viewer is a really important facet of storytelling. There's a lot of ways to convey a feeling or an emotion, from facial expressions to body posture or both. Together, I'm going to go into facial expression and body posture in the next section. 7. Facial & Body Expression plus Random Shape Animals: okay, facial expression and body posture to storytelling. So much can be told in a story. With the way an animal looks in this section, I'm gonna talk a little bit about that and show a few ways that I used body posture and facial expression to help tell a story how the face looks in a story. How the eyes air pointed, whether they're looking in the direction in particular or looking at the viewer. And the expression in the mouth and face in general can really enhance a story or actually be the whole story. Simple tricks with the eyes can be to have them wide open and staring, which gives a shocked or fearful book. Or maybe there demure looking down and up. Or maybe they're looking at another character or looking like this. Like who boy anyway, playing with your own expressions. Looking in a mirror can help you to see how different expressions convey different emotions with little animal characters. I like to use an upside down U for the eyes to signify a very happy, cute character if you put the you right side up than the character looks sleepy, or maybe the characters looking down. Just remember that I contact whether it's with the viewer with another animal or the way the I expresses is a huge story enhancer and can also convey the whole story you're trying to tell. I'm gonna make a few animal character expressions just to show you what I'm talking about. Here. Have the upside down you, which makes a smiley face got down, which could be sleepy. Happy smile, you troll. So there's a few expressions on a cat. I know you can take this very simple expression facial expression to any kind of animal, and it'll work the same way. So I hope that's helped in facial expression 101 simple and quick. This, coupled with body posture, are things to really keep in mind. If you see your character leaning away, that is a good indication that maybe they're they're either surprised. Or maybe they're just aloof or fearful or annoyed. Leaning away is a good way to indicate an emotion and a character also leaning in as another way to signify an emotion. Maybe it is moving in and over, shadowing the character and being scary. It's interesting what you can do with posture in the character. Okay, this time we're going to create animals out of random shapes. I'm gonna paint some blobs or maybe find some pieces of paper and use those to create new animals. It's really fun to create animals from random shapes. What do they remind you of? I saw an elephant in this one to begin with, so I'm just going to go with that. And I really wouldn't have thought about making an elephant look like that. These are just very rough. Having fun, experimenting with shapes. Got a bird? An alligator? Not sure who this is. Yet. When in doubt, make a cat. Sometimes these animals are just weird. That's exactly why we're doing this. Well, they gave me some animals. I would have never expected. You, Comptel. I have my fallback animals. I like to do like cats, dogs, elephants, birds. That's what came through today with a little bonus alligator. So give yourself a few pages to do this, just glue down some random shapes or pants and blobs and see what comes to mind. It's kind of like that exercise with looking at clouds and seeing shapes and clouds or seeing shapes and tiles. So have fun with that, and let's move on to the next section 8. Personality & Anthropomorphizing: okay. Capturing personality. This is pretty fun to Dio, and it's also part of what happens with the posture and facial expressions and other things we have talked about here. When developing your character, though, it's kind of fun to ask yourself what if questions again, What if your character is lazy? What if they're intense? What if your character is excited? What if your character is scared? All these things are things to keep in mind when you're developing your animal character. It's so finding to think of ways certain animals can be, I mean, who doesn't know that a dog is fixated on food? Also, a doghouse is a really great thing to put into a scene or other environments that animals are known for. Maybe that cat takes over the easy chair, and the dog has to sit by while the cat is the boss. Now I'm going to to a little anthro for morph icing, which basically means making animals like their human by wearing clothes and such. So I'm gonna pain a little something around that. Now I'm going to start off with shapes. I like to start with shapes, often times rather than line work. So I basically know what a pair of pants look like. And to tie these characters together, I'm going to reverse the colors of their outfits. Makes him seem like there together because a couple her friends, remember your animals don't have to be complex have drawn a lot of dogs and cats in my life . So I'm not doing a lot of research at this point. But most cats and dogs that I know don't hang out holding hands for wearing matching outfits, and they certainly don't wear boots. This cat happens to be happy with situation. You can see this dog is very interesting because he's leaning in. So we got a cute little love story here. Take the story a little further with a little bit of flowers and, of course, can't forget the whiskers. Whiskers on a cat when they're going up slightly. That makes Cat look a little happier when they're going down. That could make the cat like a little more sinister. So, yeah, details really help the story. If I really wanted to keep going with the story, I could add some other characters that are watching or looking towards the couple and that it kind of point the viewer back in to the situation. So just another idea to keep in mind. So let's move on to the next section. 9. Story Props & Cast of Characters: okay in this section, let's talk about props. I love adding props to my characters. I love adding clothes, boots, hats, scarves, car's all kinds of things that can help tell the story. It's fun that you can put a pair of glasses on an animal and make him look really smart. Or maybe you add glasses and a bow tie, and they look nerdy. I love adding close to an animal. There's nothing like a purse, a dress and a hat to make your animal look like a fashionista. The possibilities air analyst with props you use in your story. How your character responds to those props in the story is also a fun thing to think about . I love using a yarn prop with a cat. There's nothing quite like tying a cat up in some yarn. And then, of course, the expression drives it home. Also, there's an instant connection between characters if they're wearing similar clothing, or maybe they're sharing the same scarf. That could be a really cute scene. Remember that interaction between characters is really important. How are they feeling about each other? What are they doing together? Are they on their way somewhere or have they just been somewhere? These are all great questions to ask yourself when you're developing your animal story and Leslie, although I don't like to call him a prop, I like to call him a cast of characters, adding a cast of characters to your story to help enhance it. And to highlight the story is a really cool thing to Dio. I like to add mice and birds and fish two stories I have around cats. After doing some research with the animals you've chosen to draw, you can see what sidekicks would work well for them. It's also fun to play with casts of characters that are unexpected in a scene. But the main point is to keep that story the central focus and to use those characters as a way of adding a little additional, something some or helped to direct the attention back to the scene. - The last thing I want to talk about with storytelling is keeping the story open to interpretation. There's nothing quite like leaving the audience with the question that they can answer themselves. It helps them get their imagination going and adds interest to the story. You don't have to tell everything in your illustration, the viewer will bring their own interpretation. It's really fun to see how different people interpret what you've done and where that story goes. Maybe your artwork is pointing towards something, but you don't really quite know what that something is. This really intriguing for a viewer to be able to make up their own ideas about what happens next. You can add clues to your artwork to give indication or a direction as to where the story might go next. And this is really interesting for the viewer as well. These things really helped to get an emotional connection with your viewer, so keep these things in mind when you're doing your projects, and the more you can draw and play with your characters, the better. But do make sure that you work on a final image for the project section. I'd love to see how your stories come together, 10. Final Thoughts: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this class. It's been a lot of fun playing with characters and stories and experimenting and seeing what happens. I hope that you found new ways to draw your animal characters and tell stories with your art, you're bringing more depth and interest to your artwork by telling a story with your characters. Engaging the viewer emotionally really helps to bring interest here. Work. The thing about storytelling and creating cute, appealing animals for me is that I might uplift somebody's day. I might bring a smile to someone's face, and that's pretty awesome. I hope you've enjoyed this class and I hope you will show your project with everyone here. I can't wait to see what you've been working on. I will be keeping an eye out here and responding to everyone who shares their work. If you have any comments or questions that you'd like me to address, please leave them in the comments section and I will respond. Thanks again for being here and have a wonderful creative day