Building Character 2: Inking Your Character | Jesse LeDoux | Skillshare

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Building Character 2: Inking Your Character

teacher avatar Jesse LeDoux, Illustrator, Artist, Designer

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.

      Materials Overview


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Light Table


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Setting up your drawing


    • 7.



    • 8.



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About This Class

This is the second class in the 3-part 'Building Character' series on creating a unique character! Join artist Jesse LeDoux — former Art Director of Sub Pop Records and character designer for Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network — as he inks the character he created in Building Character 1. This 26-minute class will open your mind to endless possibilities as you'll explore Jesse's style and watch him create a character.

You should take this class if you're interested in character design and exploring the inner depths of your imagination. Designers, artists, and illustrators of all skill levels welcome. By the end, you'll be ready to ink and share your own unique character with the class for feedback, inspiration, and encouragement from fellow illustrators! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jesse LeDoux

Illustrator, Artist, Designer


Born in Portland, Oregon, Jesse LeDoux worked for many years as an art director for Seattle-based Sub Pop Records where he created iconic album and poster artwork for such artists as the Shins ('Best album packaging' Grammy nominee for Chutes Too Narrow), Iron and Wine and Death Cab for Cutie before leaving in 2004 to focus on his client-based and personal work at LeDouxville.

Parallel to working on commercial illustration and collaborative projects for such clients as Starbucks, Nike, Disney, Giro, Rapha, Penguin UK and Target, he has exhibited internationally. His work was included in the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial (2007), an installation at the University of Maryland (2008), and has work in the permanent collection of the Experience Music Project (Seattle, WA), R... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, my name's Jessie Lido. I'm a designer and illustrator living in Seattle, Washington. This class is the second in my Building Character series, and this one we will be drawing with ink. So the first class in the series was on character design, and so what we'll be doing in this class is inking the character design that we did in the first class. If you have no interest in character design, then you're in the right place. If you want to start from the beginning, then I suggest seeing the character design video first before this one, otherwise, yeah. I love drawing with ink. I feel there's a warmth to it that just can't be replicated when you're working digitally, plus I like the opportunity for happy accidents. There was this one time where I was working on this drawing and I was almost finished, and I brought my pen over the piece of paper and this big dot of ink just dropped right in the middle of it. Totally accident. Something I would have never intentionally done, but it landed right in the perfect spot and the entire composition just came together with this dot being right in the middle of it. That's just something that isn't going to happen when you're doing something digitally. So yeah, ink is king. In this class, we will try inking with both a pen and a brush. The pen that I'm going to use is just a standard Crow Quill dip pen with a jar of ink, and the brush I'm going to use is the Pentel Pocket Brush. It's a brush pen. So it has the ink canister inside, but a brush tip. If you have a light table, that will be helpful as well, but it's not necessary. So yeah, that's really all you need for the class. It's a pen, a brush and a light table if you have one. So round that stuff up, and enroll for the class, and let's get to drawing. 2. Materials Overview: Let's start out with a quick look at how to achieve different results with your line work. The first is with this 100 nib. It is a Hunt 100. This is what I use for probably 95 percent of the drawings I do. I feel like it's a really versatile pen. It can do lines that go from really thick to thin. Depending on what paper you use, you can get different results. This is a thicker watercolor paper. Because of the tooth in the paper, it gives me a rougher coarser line which I like a lot. Whereas if you use it on vellum, you get a much cleaner line. This was a series of drawings that I did for a minus the bear music video. I wanted cleaner lines than I would've gotten with this. I use the Hunt 100 for that. With this archers of loft post I did, for the primary drawing, I used that Hunt 100 pen, but then I use the Pentel pocket brush to do the colors. That was because I like just the rougher more painterly texture that the brush pen gives me. The different brush pen is this one. It's from Japan and it doesn't have bristles like the Pentel does. It's just pretty solid. So it gives you a much cleaner lines. So it still gives you the thicks and thins. But it doesn't give you a rough line. It's even a cleaner line than the Hunt gives me. Next is something that's a lot of people's favorite, but it's micron pens. I use these when I want a really consistent line where I don't want the thicks and thins. So I did a poster for Steve Martin and I just wanted really consistent lines. The other nice thing about it is, you can staple really well with it just because well for easy, you don't have to keep dipping it into ink in stippling, but it also gives you a really consistent dot on it. So I use that for that Steve Martin poster. Then the last example I have is this pen and this is just, I don't know what this nib is called, but it's totally uncontrollable. It's a wild animal which can be cool. It's super hard to control. But that's what I wanted to create this messy drawing of this city and the trees. So it's really good for that. Sometimes it's good to lose control a little bit and just allow the ink to have a mind of its own. So this is what I used to achieve that. So those are primarily the pens that I use in my studio. But there are a lot out there and it's always good to experiment with different ones. Try a bunch of stuff out and see what works for you. 3. Paper: In the last video, we talked about paper a little bit and I want to go a little bit deeper on various papers that you can use. So the first is vellum and vellum is really smooth and pretty translucent, so you don't even really need a light table when using vellum just because it's almost like tracing paper. It feels very different from tracing paper, it's more plasticky, waxy, shiny feeling than tracing paper. As a result, the ink sits on top of the paper more, so it takes a little longer to dry. You have to be a little more careful about smudging ink, but vellum works really well. Next is just a thick sketchbook paper. This is the stuff that I prefer the most. It has a slight tooth to it and it's thick, it holds the ink really well, it doesn't bleed much. This is primarily what I use, it's not opaque so it's good to have a light table when using this, but this is a great paper. Then lastly, I use arches paper quite a bit. I use arches paper more for gallery work because it's a pretty nice paper and you don't need anything super fancy for doing commercial work. But for gallery work, I like to use arches paper and it has a nice tooth and it holds the ink really well and I like it. This is called press and it has more of a tooth than this paper here. But it's not as heavy of a tooth as arches rough, arches rough really has a pretty heavy tooth and it can catch your pen a little bit if you don't watch it, which can be a nice thing for it to really give you an inconsistent line. But these are four different paper that you could consider using. 4. Light Table: It's pretty helpful to have a light table. This is one that I got recently, several months ago and it's incredibly thin and it's great. You can change the brightness of the light that's coming through, which can be nice so that if something is too bright, it can be harder to see what you're drawing on top of, and so this is nice that you can dim it if you want. So with the light table you can easily see what you want to draw through it. As I mentioned before, with the vellum, you don't really need a light table, but with some of the thicker paper, it's nice to have it. This is an example, if you're using thicker paper, you want to have a brighter light table just so that you can see the drawing beneath it, but if you're using a thinner paper, you can have a dimmer light or even no light. If you have any glass table like a glass coffee table or something, you can just put a lamp underneath shining up through it and that works great or just a thick piece of glass stacked up on a couple of books, that can do the trick too. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but having a light table is helpful. 5. Pens: The last tool we'll be using are the pens and brushes. These are the four that we talked about earlier and so I will do a quick drawing of the head of my character with each of these just to show you how each of the different ones react, the result of each of them. As you can see, there are four very different styles that you can get with the four different pens. This is the one that I typically go with, with most of my work, but there's something just weird and cool about this. It really pays to try several options and see what works the best for you. 6. Setting up your drawing: Once you've decided on a pen and paper to use for your drawing, it's time to decide how to draw your drawing. If you plan for the image to just be a static image that you would use on a T-shirt, or a poster, or something where it's not going to move or be animated, then you can just draw it just as you see it, as one complete image. Whereas if you want to draw it for animation, it's best to draw it in parts so that you can take the individual elements and they can all move separately. With that, I try to have things touch as little as possible. Eyes are contained inside the head shape, so that way you have more maneuverability when you're moving things around. Since it's pretty straight forward to draw it as you see it, what we're going to do for this class just as an example is to draw everything as different elements. Then once we've drawn that in the coloring class, the next class in the series, we'll take all of those and put them together to create the image that you see here. 7. Drawing: Let's get started on drawing this. Since we're drawing everything in pieces. It doesn't really matter the orientation on the paper, but just to maximize your paper, I like to start in one corner and then just work across and try to fill up as much of the paper as possible. Let's get started. Since the hat is on the top of his head, I will start with that. When you're drawing with ink, especially with a pen that you dip. It's really easy to smudge the ink. The ink dries pretty slow. It's best to start at the top left and work your way to the bottom right. If you're right-handed, like I'm, if you're left-handed, you probably want to start at the top right and work your way to the left so that you don't accidentally smudge anything. With this, we'll have the hat go behind his head a little bit, so you can just draw it below. Once I've drawn the hat, then I move the paper so that it won't be touching the head when I draw the head. Now what I'm doing with the circle, just to avoid smudging, I'm only going to draw a portion of it and then I'll come back and and draw the rest later. Otherwise, if I had drawn this section, I have to hold my hand above the paper when I'm drawing and that it's just awkward and I end up messing up. With this pen, you can really push down. The harder you push, the thicker the line you get, which is pretty nice. Other pens that have more stronger tips or shorter tips, you won't be able to press down quite as much. So that's something to take into consideration. When you're standing in front of the nib aisle at the art store. As you can see, I drew right through the bow tie because I want to draw the bow tie separately. Draw the backpack separately. I'm even drawing things that you won't see like the rest of the backpack just so that if you needed more of it, it's there. I'm treating the body as one full unit and the legs as separate elements. Again, since this back leg will go behind the body, you want to extend it up a little bit so that you don't accidentally run out of room. On the back portion of the leg, I like to press down just a tiny bit harder so that there's an implied shadow to it. I think that is it. What I'm going to do is use my brush to just add the shadow, just because the brush mix makes a really nice shadow. There we are. In the next class, we will take this and color it and put it altogether and and go from there. 8. Conclusion: So that's it. We're done. From here, take your ink drawing, and upload it into the project gallery so that we can all see which you're working on. If you decided to do both a pen version and a brush version, upload them both. But, if you only had time to do one either a pen or a brush, then go ahead and upload that. Because I'm sure we're all eager to see what everybody ends up doing. Then from here, the third part in my building character series is going to be on coloring. So keep your eyes open for that in the near future. Thanks.