Illustrating Children's Books (and beyond!) | Marco Bucci | Skillshare

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Illustrating Children's Books (and beyond!)

teacher avatar Marco Bucci, Professional illustrator & 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.

      Welcome To Class - Introduction


    • 2.

      Chapter 1 - The Manuscript


    • 3.

      Chapter 1 - Print Jargon


    • 4.

      Chapter 1 - Visual Storytelling


    • 5.

      Chapter 2 - Posing


    • 6.

      Chapter 2 - Form


    • 7.

      Chapter 2 - Shape


    • 8.

      Chapter 2 - Real Assignments


    • 9.

      Chapter 2 - Real Assignments ii


    • 10.

      Chapter 2 - Real Assignments iii


    • 11.

      Chapter 2 - Real Assignments iv


    • 12.

      Chapter 2 - Facial Expression


    • 13.

      Chapter 2 - Homework Ideas


    • 14.

      Chapter 3 - Warm vs Cool Colors


    • 15.

      Chapter 3 - Painting A Character


    • 16.

      Chapter 3 - Backgrounds in Perspective


    • 17.

      Chapter 3 - Organic Perspective


    • 18.

      Chapter 3 - Color Roughs i


    • 19.

      Chapter 3 - Color Roughs ii


    • 20.

      Chapter 3 - Color Roughs iii


    • 21.

      Chapter 3 - Final Art


    • 22.

      Chapter 3 - Delivery To Client


    • 23.

      Chapter 3 - Homework Ideas


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About This Class

Welcome to Illustrating Children's Books (and beyond!)

Looking to tailor your artwork to the children's book market? Marco will take you through every skill and step you need to take, using examples from real-life, published projects. He'll also create artwork from beginning to end, demonstrating how he starts with an author's manuscript and goes through the many stages of producing illustrations for the final book. Along the way there will be valuable insights as to how to make your work stand out for the children's book industry ... and beyond!

The class is structured into three chapters, as follows:

     - Referencing examples from actual modern-day professional projects
     - Understanding how to work with a publisher's manuscript, formatting and margins
     - Understanding how kids interact with illustration
     - Art and books for different age groups
     - Tips on sketching out various page options for clients and publishers
     - Maximizing visual storytelling in the medium of children's books
     - Composing a page for the most appeal
     - Understanding the print jargon involved in the book publishing industry

     - What elements makes a character feel unique?
     - Character posing and gesture drawing fundamentals
     - Fundamentals of form and how to make your work look dimensional 
     - Fundamentals of shape and how to pull a design together
     - Facial expressions
     - Examples from actual professional assignments

     - My model of understanding color temperature: warm vs. cool color relationships
     - The fundamentals of rendering light and shadow I use in every painting I do
     - Breaking down local color, and how light and shadow plays into it
     - Using freehand perspective for stylized (but believable) depth
     - Organic perspective for outdoor/nature scenes
     - Controlling value for clear, readable paintings
     - Using the digital environment to produce final artwork
     - Painting a character
     - Painting rough color passes of a scene to search for moods and ideas to present to a client
     - Using layers, brushes, effects, and more
     - Painting a final, print-ready illustration
     - Formatting the final illustration with proper bleeds, correct DPI and resolution
     - CMYK conversion tips

ALSO: Two bonus interviews! 
     - A multi-time published children's book author
     - A professional, active children's book art director

Digital brushpack included (ABR format)

Marco has illustrated children's books for companies big and small: Walt Disney Publishing, Sleeping Bear Press, Harper Collins, and more. His experience in the industry ranges from primary readers to various grade levels. This gives him a wide perspective from which to teach this class, and he focuses on the principles and tools that are an indispensable part of the job.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marco Bucci

Professional illustrator & teacher


Hello, I'm Marco.

I'm a professional artist with 15 years' experience in the film, TV, game, and print industries - primarily as a concept artist and illustrator. I also happen to believe that it's the duty of experienced artists to pass on what they've learned, with no BS and for as low-cost as possible. It's for that reason that I'm a passionate teacher. I currently teach at CGMA, and have previously taught at Academy of Art University, Centennial College, and more. 


See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Welcome To Class - Introduction: Hello, everybody. My name is Mark Obuchi, and I want to welcome you to my class, illustrating Children's books and beyond. Now why is it called and beyond? Well, while we will be focusing on illustrating Children's books, the techniques and tools and principles we're gonna learn translates to any medium, really, from books. Two games to television to movies, etcetera. Now the class comes in three chapters. In Chapter one, we'll be talking about working with the publisher what it's like to receive a blank manuscript that you have to fill in the illustrations for. I'll talk about my own principles behind storytelling for the medium of Children's books and how I go about producing something from a blank page to a finished product In Chapter two. I'll show you the techniques I used to draw characters. Obviously, if you're working in Children's books, you're gonna be drawing a lot of characters. We'll talk about gesture, posing, form shaped design, a little bit of lighting, and I'll show you how I get the most appeal possible out of characters. And finally, in Chapter three, we'll talk about painting your illustrations to get them to the final print ready product will be using the digital medium and I'll be talking about things like color shading, backgrounds, composition value, so much to get to in Chapter three, and I'll show you the process. I used to keep it all manageable anyway. There's a lot to get to in this class. I'm really excited. Let's get going. 2. Chapter 1 - The Manuscript: All right, let's get started as an illustrator. There is nothing more fundamental to your Children's book project than the manuscript. And if you're an illustrator being hired by a publisher or an author, it's standard procedure for them to send you a fully edited, finished and locked down manuscript to give you an example. This is a book I illustrated for fountains and Penhall. Ah, prolific publisher in the education space. And this is the manuscript they sent me. It came as a standard pdf document. Now, this is the interior pages, not the jacket. So, as you can see, if I scroll down, pages are neatly numbered and the text is laid out in its final arrangement. In fact, I was given explicit instruction to not obscure or change the text in any way. And this is something that can change from publisher to publisher. I'll show you other examples in a moment, but scrolling through the pdf, we get a pretty clear idea of what my task would be as an illustrator. But I gotta fill in all this grey space now. To that end, they also provided some art notes, and this is also something that will vary from publisher to publisher now working in the Children's book industry is refreshing because in my experience, publishers hire artists for their uniqueness. This is different from, say, working on a television show where your job is to be invisible and fit into the production and Children's books. They want the artist's voice to be a prominent part of the book. So to that end, most publishers won't overstep their bounds by giving you details. Art notes. The art notes essentially plot and overall progression for this book. In essence, we see a shadow in the tree. It looks scary, but we don't know what it is. And then that shadow in the tree as we progress through the book gets bigger and bigger. So right here, shadow getting bigger and darker. It has moved to the ground sound from the ground ger, which, of course, lines up with the text right here. So this art note is good because it gives me a clue as to what the page needs to communicate. Visually, I think it goes without saying that as an artist, looking at a blank sheet of paper can be kind of frightening in the sense that there are endless possibilities. But a good art note like this will corral you in a certain direction without pending you in completely. There's still lots of room here for me to come in and interpret what a big, dark and scary shadow looks like, as long as I'm sure that it is getting bigger and darker. As the book progresses, let's scroll all the way down to the bottom. Here this publisher included some samples of my own artwork that they responded to, which is also very helpful. So I know when I illustrate this book, I should be using the same techniques that I used when painting these. I did a second book for Fountains and Penhall. This being the manuscript for that second book, I produced these both of the same time. And in this pdf they included a little bit more information that would be useful to me as an artist just to read it. Our client loves the way you handled the monster in the attached sample, that being down here, it's basically the same page. He's warm and not too scary because this book is for a young audience. We'd like to avoid the oversized heads style for our lead character Poppies. Head size should be proportionally correct to her body throughout the story, similar to the way you treated the boy in the lower left of your samples. And then they go on to deliver information about the character you know, some basic context that I can work with. This is what you should expect from a professional publisher. Other helpful notes here, areas and gray, which we've seen before, are designated for your art, though you don't have to stick to the exact shape provided. We'd like the illustrations on the right page to bleed and a few elements conjunction gutter and appear on the left. However, the left page needs to remain relatively clean and simple, all right. They used the term gutter right here, so now is probably a good time to explain what that is. The gutter is where the book folds. The book, of course, will be bound along the center of the spread, and the binding process creates a little bit of waste space on the page. To show you what this looks like, I'll use a thick book like a novel where we can really see how that book folds in right, and you can appreciate how if there were text in this area, this would greatly anger the reader, because it be very difficult to see now. Children's books have this, too, although to a lesser extent, because they tend to be thinner and this book is especially thin. It's 16 pages, which is half the length of a standard 32 page picture book. But regardless, as the illustrator, you should be mindful of the gutter. I just refrain from putting any important part of the picture there or near there. We'll talk about setting up your digital canvas with markings for things like gutters and bleeds in a future section of this class. Okay, so I'd like to show you another manuscript. This is Norbert's big Dream, written by Lorry Dedmon. And by the way, there is an interview with Laurie Degnan included with this class. Just as a quick little aside here, I don't think many people realize that as an illustrator, I don't actually get to talk to the authors, and vice versa. The connection is made through the publisher, so the publisher solicits the manuscript, then matches that finished manuscript with the illustrator. You know, an illustrator whose portfolio they think would work well with this particular manuscript. So it's kind of ironic how Children's books look very collaborative, but they're really not or they are. But it's a silent collaboration, anyway. Laurie connected with me on Facebook after Norbert's big Dream came out, and we've been friends ever since. Anyway. She's the author of many Children's books, and I thought the inside of an author would be a great addition to this class, So be sure to check out the interview. It'll be a PdF file attached to the class anyway. Norbert's Big Dream is a standard 32 page picture book, which, when you consider the Spreads, is a 17 page PdF right with each PdF page. We're looking at two pages, which would, of course, be folded along a gutter that we actually can't see in this layout. But same as before. Each page is clearly numbered, and what you notice here is that the text is laid out in a almost a composition. Let's say now this confused me when I first got this manuscript because I didn't know if the publisher was committed to putting the text exactly where they laid it out here. You know, on this page, obviously the intention is for one big spread. But like on this page here did they want me to do, like, one illustration there and one illustration here and one illustration there. This is where basic communication comes in. I e mailed them and ask them that question, and their answer was, It's not set in stone, but it's kind of suggested what they had in mind. In fact, they sent me this version of the manuscript after that and indicated with the blue where they envisioned the art and some of them they even attached art notes. But even this, they said, was not set in stone. If I had better ideas for how to lay out the pages, I was free to explore that the only thing I could not change was which text appears on which page. In other words, this exact text has to appear on page 10 and 11 because you know when you only have 32 pages for your story, which again is the standard. It's the job of the publisher to lay out the text accordingly. now, the other property of Children's books is there are various standard sizes. For instance, nine by 12 inches is one particular size that Children's books come in, but they can come in virtually any size, so the Pdf manuscript should be formatted to the precise print size of the book. If I go back to the script we were looking at earlier, it's plain to see exactly the dimensions of this page. And again, I'll show you how you can import this into photo shop or you're painting app of choice later. But that's why Manu scripts are often delivered in pdf format because the publisher could determine exactly the size you're working with. If you receive a manuscript in like Microsoft Word Format, the first question I would ask the publisher is what is the size of the book? Because otherwise you'd have absolutely no idea how to approach the art. OK, in the next section will dive a little deeper into the print jargon you need to know. See, there 3. Chapter 1 - Print Jargon: dealing with the print process is always fun. And when I got started, there was a lot of jargon that confused me. Thankfully, it turned out that there actually isn't that much jargon to know, and what there is to know is pretty simple. So let's get acquainted with it once and for all. So when publishers or printers provide you a template, it should contain the following features. This is called the trim line. Within this box is where you will illustrate your pictures. It's called trim because the paper that runs through the printer is larger than the final book size, and then they're simply trimmed down. So sometimes you might see this called trim size or trim guide. This, of course, will reveal the actual dimensions of the book. And usually there will also be a notation about how big the book is in physical dimensions inches, centimeters, millimeters etcetera and traditionally with is measured first and height. Second all right. The next feature is one. We've already looked at the gutter, which, of course, cuts one big page in half, making two pages. Those two pages should be labeled with page numbers, which, believe me, is remarkably handy when it comes to communicating with your client as well as internal things like file naming. It's important to note here that when you deliver your final arts to a printer instead of delivering at one page per file, you'll be delivering it in groups like Page 23 page 45 page 67 etcetera. The printer prints each one is one page and then binds everything along the middle, creating the gutter. The next feature is the one that confuses the most people, including me, when I started out, and that is the bleed. This is usually referred to as bleed, guide or bleed of lines, and often a printer will accompany it with little text indicators as to exactly how much bleed to give in this case, quarter inch bleed all the way around. Okay, so let me explain what bleed is. I already mentioned that books get printed larger than their final size and then trimmed down Well, imagine you did illustrations right up to the trim guide represented by these two colors here. Now, when that page gets printed and trimmed to its final size, if you Onley illustrated to the trim guide you can imagine there's a high probability of error. See this little white strip that's been left behind? That may look minor, but it's caused for a reprint. And imagine you just printed 5000 books, all of which were garbage. That would get you fired or at least never rehired, which is something we'd like to avoid if possible. So the solution is to extend your illustration up to or beyond the bleed lines. And, of course, when you do that, make sure you don't put anything remotely important there. Bleed is just a safety net for the printer. Most of it just gets trimmed away. Another important thing to be aware of is that Page one of a book is not a spread. It stands on its own. Here's an example of a published book to give you a sense for what I'm talking about. That page is usually referred to as the title page, by the way, So on the left is usually just like a ghost page of blank white page on the right is the first piece of art, so the bleed only extends to the right and to the bottoms and tops. Here's the Norbert manuscript again to correspond with the video clip we just saw now. The Norbert manuscript did not include bleed guides. I was sent that information separately, like in an email or something. What we see on the pdf here is just the trim size now scrolling back up to the top here because the title pages its own single page. The dimensions of this page will be half the width of Page 23 and the height stays the same , of course, so to scroll through the pages here. Most of the book will be the exact same dimensions, because pages will come in groups groups of two. But that first page and the very last page, Page 32 which is usually not part of the story it's usually reserved for in this case, a dedication. Sometimes author bios air located here, But this page is also standing alone, and the publisher will print a blank white page on this side, which we don't need to worry about as the illustrator. So when you're making your canvas sizes for the last page as well as the first page, just make sure you cut the whipped in half the front cover of a book in industry parlance is called the jacket. The jacket is one piece of paper. It includes the front cover, the spine, the back cover and often these little flaps that fold in on the inside. Here's the template for the jacket of a different book I illustrated. I actually don't have the one for Norbert anymore. For some reason, this looks more complicated, but it's really the same stuff you could see the border indicated for where the art will print on the front cover dimensions clearly marked 5.625 inches by 8.5 the spine, of course, being the middle of the book, the part that faces out when books are on a bookshelf and then a corresponding back cover, which will be the exact same dimensions as the front cover and then on flanking sides. We have those little folding flaps, and you can see that between the folding flaps and the cover is this little area, which the client has indicated here. It says art needs to extend here, but will most likely get folded under, which is kind of like bleed right. It's stuff that's gonna get lost, so don't put anything important there. In fact, you can see the characters hand in. This rough in the hand is extended way too close to that for my liking in the final art I brought his hand in so would not get lost by the fold. But otherwise this template is similar to what we looked at. You can see the minimum bleed 0.25 inches. Noticed this template calls it minimum bleed, kind of hinting like, Hey, you might want to give us half an inch bleed, which is what I did on this project. I think I have actually noticed that clients love bleed. I once provided a client one inch bleed all the way around, which is crazy and otherwise. The client does a pretty good job of filling out the template for you, which again, is something that a professional publisher will handle. And that just makes it easier for me, the illustrator, to focus on the artwork. Okay, I think that concludes our discussion of print jargon. Now I know I still haven't shown you how to set up a digital canvas for this, but I'll save that for Chapter three when we're actually working on our final illustrations . As for now, let's continue by talking about storytelling and Children's books 4. Chapter 1 - Visual Storytelling: Oh, picture books can play a huge role in a child's development from gaining an awareness of things that exist in the world to learning language, color, fostering an attention span. Picture books do all those things and more, and it wraps them all up in the age old ritual of storytelling. Now storytelling is one of those intensely personal things. You know, the way I tell a story will be different from the way you tell a story. So in this chapter I want to share with you some of my overall philosophies and thoughts and practices on how I go about telling stories in the medium of Children's books. So I'll start with some basic process. The first thing I do when I get a manuscript is well, I read it and I read it several times. Yes, Children's books may be simple, but they often speak to profound truths. After all, they are learning materials for kids, and usually publishers want to publish books that have universal meaning. So I have respect for that, and I take the text very seriously. Sure, it may be far below your or my reading level, but that doesn't take away the importance of the things you conglomerate from the text, especially when you're a child to whom all this is new. Anyway, let's bookmark that thought and come back to it in a few minutes. Okay, What you're looking at now is the Ruff's for Norbert's big dream. And this is the version I sent to the client which was the publisher Sleeping Bear Press. So I consider these drawings very readable, even though they're of course not finished their scratchy and rough. And Nino Norbert might not be exactly on model in each one. But the basic action is there on each page and you notice I'm also preserving the text roughly in the places that they provided in the manuscript. I may have moved things around a little bit, but that's OK. I like to use basic shading in my rough drawings. This is an area I largely elaborate on it and painting, you know, the final lighting and stuff. But I do find it really help sell your ideas to the client if you could block things out in overall values like this. You know, in this case, Norbert, closer to camera is very dark, and these three pigs a little further away are lighter. Comparatively. Now this pertains to my own particular art style, which is heavily value based. If you've seen my art online, you know, I'm a painter and as a painter, ideal heavily with light and shadow and color. So I do like to bring that into my rough drawings, but not always like you notice on the right. I don't feel like I need much shading there at all. Maybe a little cash shadow on the floor. Also, notice on each of these spreads, the gutter is indicated. If I didn't have that and be very difficult for the client to figure out, you know where the page would overlap. So in this case, the gutter would probably lead me to believe that this pig is going to get cut off a little too much. I might want to push this pig to the right. Yeah, going through this, you can see the whole book is roughed out in the same style, the same level of drawing. And I will complete the entire manuscript before sending it to the client. Because the way each page flows together is part of like a visual rhythm, and I want the client to be aware of what I have in mind, and the only way to do that is to give them the whole book, or at least a big chunk of the book. I think I've only ever done it for one client, where I submit one page at a time. And by the way, I used the same approach for my rough drawings for different publishers. Different books like this book is for Disney, and you can see the drawings air done and pretty much the same way I leave in my rough markings. I do a lot of scribbling, hatching and some basic values, and I do my best to put the text on the page where I think it should go, whether that be me moving it around based on composition or if I have to stick with exactly what the client gives me, I do that. So I send each page to the clients, and usually what they'll do is put it together in a pdf. Of course, because I've sized my files correctly, all they gotta do is just copy and paste them in, and usually I get it revisions passed. I mean, this This is a very simple book, so I didn't have too many revisions here. They wanted me to, like, get rid of some of the painting that's hiding the text. Here, you can see their notes in this pink box. Oh, and actually, for this one, I did do one fully finished painted page to also get their approval for style. So that's a finished spread right there, and then you can see the rest of just my rough drawings. And at this point, once clients can see the actual rough artwork, they'll often move text around based on what the artist gives them and make any other kind of, you know, minor change they might want to dio. Or sometimes they'll ask you to redraw page completely. Now this book again is simple. I didn't have to redraw much. I think down here I had to make this cat in front of the tree instead of behind the tree. That was probably the biggest change on this book. Other times I'll do multiple iterations per page. This is a wholly different book, and the idea of this page was this kooky old woman is friends with a cake. So there's the old woman. There's the cake. And these two kids were like telling, like narrating the story. And I mean, there's a 1,000,000 ways illustrate that. So I started with three different versions. There's that one. There's this one with her rocking chair on the cake is on the table with some mice eating the cake without her even noticing. And there's this option, which is I haven't seen these drawings in a while. This book actually was done quite a few years ago. It was one of my first Children's books I ever roughed out, actually, and I hadn't really arrived at my preferred rough drawing style. So that's why these drawings look a bit different. But you can see I'm still putting the text where I think it should go. Men also noticed whenever you're dealing with text, which is all the time in this medium, I recommend designing an area of your composition where it's a pretty clean value, you notice, like here, I'm throwing the entire tablecloth into a shadow, and the text would just read light over dark. There's not a whole lot of detail that would go here and like back here, I have this slice of light on the floor and the text to be dark over that. And here just be dark text over a light sky. So, you know, sometimes giving options to a client is something I'll do. I usually don't like to provide more than three options at 1st 3 is to me, is like a magic number, assuming you're giving them three good options, right? Three is enough for the client to pick a direction, even if they don't choose one of the three is the Final three is enough to pick a direction . So when I rough on a manuscript a minute ago, I said, I do the whole book, I dio, but sometimes I'll deliver one or two or three versions of a page, you know, a single page or a two page spread, and I'll just see where they're at creatively. Here's a different page of that book. It's a part of the story where this little boy falls in love with this girl, and here I'm trying a very dramatic staging, and here I'm trying more of a just a standard sort of wide shot of the two characters whenever possible. I like to break things up by having very simple compositions like these two kids are just lying down on a blank white page. I think it's pretty obvious to us that text has a rhythm, you know. For example, Children's books that rhyme rhymes have a rhythm to them, right? Well, pages and pictures and illustrations have a rhythm to them as well. So if you're doing something fully realized like this, you know the picture goes from corner to corner. You might want to follow that up with some visual relief like this, and I want to mention Chapter two is all about drawing characters. So if you're wondering when I'm gonna get into that chapter to Chapter one, here is more of an overall discussion of ideas and philosophies. I use in my books sometimes will take inspiration from graphic novels and split up the page and panels, this one being a very literal interpretation of panels where I've actually got four different panels here, each one slightly descending in size, which relates to the emotional beats happening in this part of the story. This particular book features these two child characters you see at the top, narrating a novel. It's actually Charles Dickens literary classic, Great Expectations. There they're reading great expectations. So the Children's book shows them reading it, but then dives into the world of great expectations. That is the world of great expectations imagined by Children. So in this book, I had to deal with literally two different worlds. The real world of these two kids reading and then the world of the Dickens's tale, which was more fantastical. So to present those two worlds in this book, I used a lot of paneling. So in here I try to use the text as a break in the panel. And then the kids up here looking down into the fantasy world which sweeps you to the right kind of sweeps you into this page, which is a full fantasy scene, which then would lead us to the next page, which is a full spread, a spread meaning two pages, both left and right of a full fantasy scene. I was actually quite happy with some of the creative decisions we ended up with on this book. We ended up straddling two different art styles in the same book. When were in the real world. It's this kind of clean, hard edged illustration style, you know, not very painterly, not overly textural, kind of straightforward, still interesting, but pretty straightforward and clean. Here's another page. In the real world, all objects were, you know, kind of handled with the same aesthetic. And stuff like that versus this, which is a full spread in the fantasy world, were playing with like, graphic icons. You know, the picture frames in the background are just like scrawl ings, and there's even some creative paneling going on, like where I'm circling here is meant to be one panel, and then that panel is divided by this character who leads us into this scene. So this is like three different panels where this character is used as like the divider between the left and the right. Also on this page, we have the silhouettes down here of the two characters from the real world narrating the scene. So I thought that keeping them just silhouettes would remove them from the fantasy reality of the scene and still communicate to the reader that it's this kid reading a book to this character, and this is what's happening in the book. So it's stuff like this that really excites me about the medium of Children's books. To me, a Children's book is a mix between a graphic novel, a comic book and a traditional novel. The form is so pliable you could do so much with it. Here's another page where we're exiting out of the fantasy world back into the real world. So when this fantasy scene, this is a scene where Jane Eyre gets taken away. Oh, by the way, this is not the great Expectations book anymore. It's Jane Eyre, which is another installment in this Children's book series, and because she's getting taken away from her home, I gave this panel well. First of all, I gave it a very weird triangular shape, and I shoved it all the way it in the top, left to kind of visually mirror the fact that this is a very uncomfortable moment. She's leaving her home. It doesn't deserve a beautiful full page. You kind of wanted to feel isolated because that's how the character feels. So it's like the form of the book. The composition is dictated by the story, and I really, really enjoy opportunities to play with this kind of stuff, and then here in the bottom were in the real world. And of course, the text would go in this big, blank white space as backs. This kid here narrates Jane's tail to his baby sitter. And just to keep going, here is a full page fantasy world image again, stylistically. If I go back, that's the real world where everything is kind of clean. And then here's the fantasy world where things are anything but clean. I mean, the shapes are still appealing, hopefully, but there's like scribbling lines like trees or not actual trees or just triangles I made with a pencil brush. We have very graphic stuff going on here and a visual language that overall is quite different from this one. Here's another page from the fantasy world, where you can see a lot of the same stuff, like odd color palettes, green vs Purple kind of splitting the frame in thirds here, big passages of dark over light Jane here being dark over a big passage of light in the background. And that's another thing I really, really think is important in Children's books is clarity. Clarity is like the theme that permeates all the art I do for my Children's books. Obviously, human beings see based on contrast, but for Children, that's especially true. Their eyes just go straight to the contrast, and I have first hand experience. I have a five month old daughter, and there's actually a whole line of books created for infants that are just pure black and white. Very high contrast pictures, and it's amazing when I open one of those books around her, her eyes just get sucked to the page. Now this book you're looking at is not made for infants, but you can see I'm trying to design my picture. So the contrast is very clear. And the highest contrast always goes where the focal point is in this case, the focal point being Jane, looking at the window in the background. So Jane being very dark window, being very light. This is the highest point of contrast, and that's true for any image. Here's the next page right here. The focal point of this picture is this sort of area here that I'm circling with my mouse and you notice all the highest bits of contrast in the picture are found there. So we look at this a lot more in chapter three when we're actually doing paintings. But clarity achieved through contrast is basically the Onley unifying principle that I use on every single page. Here's another page here where this big school teacher is kind of malevolently dictating what the students should be doing. He's in the process of punishing Jane here. So the focal point of this picture is this big, rotund teacher. So no surprise. I gave him the most contrast with the background Dark versus light. Jane here is not the focal point. She still needs to be visible, so she still has some contrast. He probably has, like the second most contrast in the picture, as well as this girl here who is also quite important to the story. You know, she's in the process of carrying out her punishment, writing the Lord's prayer on the chalkboard. So these girls have contrast, but less than this guy. Also, he's such a big shape making for such a big area of contrast that the viewer just can't help but look there. And just to reiterate what I said earlier, I'm leaving a sizable portion of this composition open and with a very similar value, which provides a nice little bed for the textile. A. In now, I do want to be clear about something that is a principle, not a rule. Here's a spread from backs that is absolutely ridiculously busy. I would venture to say that there is no focal point here in the sense that there's so many competing elements. For your focus. You might think this clock tower is a focal point, but actually, when this book gets folded along the gutter here, that clock tower kind of dies away a little bit. And that was done on purpose. You know, when I illustrated this page, the publisher and I almost compared it to like a wears Waldo book where you can look at any given part of this picture and find something worth really paying attention to. I particularly like this area of the page where it's just a bunch of nondescript houses, and you contract the little pedestrians walking along the street and sitting by the fountain and such. Of course, the characters are over here having a nice little soiree, and you can probably imagine that when the text would lay in, which would go over the sky. Here, the text would discuss what the characters are doing. But visually, we wanted to sell like the opulence of all this, the overwhelming nature of being suddenly high class and, as the Dickens story tells, dumped into a world with which you have very little experience. So this page was designed to be overwhelming because it matched the story beat. And I think it's effective for that purpose, and I've seen entire books that kind of used this aesthetic. But in general, this is not what I like to dio. In fact, one of my friends who is a mother told me that her little son, whose one year old hates books like this because he gets frustrated by simply not knowing where to look. He just starts pounding the pages like a gorilla, she said, whereas books that have a simple area of contrast and therefore a focal point really hold his attention much better. And I kind of used that philosophy has a little more of a driving force in my compositions , and what you're seeing here is more of a one off. All right, I mentioned earlier in this section that Children's books are learning materials for kids, you know, teaching them common things that exist in the world. Norbert's Big Dream takes place on a farm, and this is the manuscript for Pages two and three, which is, in effect, the first page of the book Page one, Remember, was the title page. So the manuscript reads. Most pigs air satisfied just rolling in the mud or slurping slop or snoozing in the shade, but not Norbert. So, of course, me is the artist. Looking at this blank manuscript, I have to visualize what goes on these two pages. The text describes four different actions. Pigs rolling around in the mud, pigs slurping slop pigs using in the shade. And then Norbert, who's doing none of those things. So the very first image I conjured for that was kind of a collage. You know where this section is, the pigs rolling in the mud. This bottom section is pig slurping slop, and we got pig snoozing in the shade. And then we have Norbert kind of sitting there may be prompting the reader to ask what makes him so special, and I think this would have worked, but I don't think it maximizes what I can bring to the learning elements of this page. So I roughed it out a second time and came up with this. Now, if you notice the drawing of the characters is pretty much the same. In fact, those pigs, they're just a copy and paste of those pigs. But the simple change I did here was I put everything in one environment, and this leads to something I've learned about Children's books. Or I should say how kids interact with the illustrations in a Children's book. If you ever watch a teacher or parents reading a Children's book to a child, you'll notice that the experience of each page is not finished once the text is red. Oftentimes the teacher will spend a lot more time on the page, just pointing out things that relate to the text. For instance, the fact that there's a barn in the background. This is not mentioned in the text, but having that context helps a kid visualize what a farmyard looks like. You know there's a barn with some mud over here, and offense in the fenced area is where the cow hangs out. You know, these are all obvious concepts to you and me, but I mean, a kid might not know that animals hang out together chickens and pigs and cows. They have to learn that somewhere. And just presenting them of vista like view of a farm, complete with the various elements of a farm, kind of takes the spirit of the text and adds just a touch of a deeper layer to the page. So, of course, while the focal point of these drawings mirrors the action represented in the text, you know, pigs rolling in the mud, pig slurping the slop and stuff like that. This design ultimately gives the reader of the book, um, or rich experience. And instead of having Norbert just sit there, I have him walking, which is probably just a more fun way to see Norbert for the first time, this year's Page 28 29 right at the end of the book where Norbert has completed his adventure and you notice I'm illustrating the same part of the farm, just from a different angle and the main changes. Norbert is now walking on two legs, indicating his arc as a character. So I thought that was a nice kind of button to wrap up the book with. And my hope is a kid reading the book would be able to say, like, Hey, those are the same pigs as the ones over here. Isn't it funny how they're still sleeping? And you can even make a little sub story like There are four pigs sleeping in the shade and here there are only three, you know, perhaps suggesting that a pig happened toe wandered by and say, Hey, that sleeping thing looks pretty good. Don't mind if I do. These were a little sub stories that are not important enough to write about. You know, this book is about Norbert, not the sleeping pigs. But whatever you can do as an illustrator to bring something mawr to the manuscript while still keeping focus. Where it needs to be, I think, is a good idea for your illustration. Here's another example of me going through the same thought process. This was for a book called Goodnight Reindeer, where the whole book is saying good night to various things. So we have comments and stars and planets and cars and cookies and toys, and I illustrated each one separately as its own. Kind of been yet, and I think the drawings would have been fun enough to illustrate. But the publisher and I ended up going with this, which, just like Norbert, provides context for where these items exist in. And there's the reindeer herself, fast asleep, surrounded by all her favorite things, which represents the simple thought of organization something we all have to deal with. So you know, it's like toys go on the plane, Matt, because that's where we play. The cars are maybe collector's items, so they go nicely on the chest here, and maybe the cookies go by the bed for a midnight snack. Also, this prompts a very common interaction with the page, where a teacher a parent will say, like, wears the cookies and the kid will point here. You know, where's the planets? The kid points up here. This page facilitates that kind of thing, whereas this page doesn't I mean, yeah, you could say Where's the cookies? But obviously the right there, where is this again provides more of a context for that, connecting an item with its relationship in the real world. Here's yet another example of a time where that happened. This is supposed to be the elves workshop, and they sleep on this triple bunk bed here and instead of keeping them to separate entities by simply combined them into the same environment. And I wasn't too surprised that the publisher heavily preferred this one. But this one you get a sense that they've just put their tools down, the brooms on the floor, the toolbox there with screwdrivers as work time is over and it's time for a night's sleep . So again, showing things in context can be a little bit more powerful for storytelling. That isn't a rule. Of course. It just seems to be a common thing that I keep discovering. I wanted to show you this spread as well. This is one of the last pages in the book. Santa here is saying Good night to Rudolph and, of course, Rudolph being a bit of a light junkie. His room is festooned with Christmas lights, and in the manuscript, Santa's gonna ask for it off to turn out the light. In fact, he does that on this page. Time for bed. Turn off your light And of course, my first instinct here was toe have him dimming a light switch. But then I thought there could be some interesting visual continuity between these two spreads. If I go back to remind you about all these lights that are lining his room, I thought wouldn't be neat if we brought some of those lights into the next spread. And instead of Santa flicking off a light switch, he's gonna unplug Rudolph's Christmas lights. Now. I'm not claiming this is a genius idea. I'm just saying it goes one step deeper than the text on the page, which is kind of a metric that I tried evaluate my work by and Children's books. How many times I'm able to plumb one or two layers beyond what the texts literally says, and maybe just spin something in an unexpected direction because that creates surprise. And when you can surprise somebody, it's way more likely to be memorable. And in this one ended up flipping it, because when you turn the pages of a book, Rudolph's room would be to the left there, so it makes sense of the lights air coming in from the left, not the right color, of course, plays a huge role in Children's book art, and Chapter three of this class is gonna be devoted to using color and actually painting your illustrations so we'll get into the nitty gritty of it there. But as an overall note, I find that the medium is best suited for brighter colors because Children's books tend to be printed pretty large, especially in relation to the size of a child. And when you have a very large page laid out in front of you that's covered in dark ink, there's just something not appealing about that now. This is, of course, just my opinion, and this is not to say that you can't ever have shadows or anything. You can see in this page their shadows on Norbert, their shadows on the wall. But if I bring in my color picker here and I sample the shadow values, you can see that the shadows air very, very light. They're all up here. Norbert Shadows will be a bit darker, but even his shadows, you know, are in the mid range. Of course, little accents like inside the mouth that will get quite dark. But any shadow that's part of the subject. You know, his belly, his chest, the wall. I'll keep those very light. You know the haystack here. They're all kept in the mid range around here. And then what that means is your actual lights, like the light on the wall. Those will be pushed even lighter. In my experience, printers tend to darken the image a little bit, especially those of us working on bright LCD displays. Remember that your monitor is projecting light into your eyes, whereas a print is very different. Apprentice physical pigment on paper and pigment will take a white sheet of paper and make it darker. So in a way, prints darkened things. Monitors lighten things. I know that's oversimplified, but that's kind of what I used to remind myself when I'm painting for Children's books, you know, I remind myself to push my shadows just a bit lighter. In fact, my first pass on this spread looked like this. Now, when I painted this, I didn't quite realize it, but there are a lot of dark colors in here again, bringing back in the color picker you see on these pigs like we're getting quite dark. The trough is quite dark. The slop. The reading is basically black. The barn is completely in shadow and these shadows are Yeah, they're kind of in the mid range. But, you know, it gets quite dark up here. And while this might look OK on a screen, this prince just abysmally dark and that can take a happy book and spin it in the complete opposite direction. So I revise the spread toe look like this, and I don't know about you, but I almost feel a weight being lifted when I do that like I go before and then after, it just feels like the sun came out or something. Notice that the broad side of the barn here is still in shadow. But look how much more fun you can have with color when the shadows are a bit lighter in value. In painting, this is called Hai Kee Ah, high keep painting uses values in the lighter range even for the shadows. Get bringing my color picker back in. I'll sample some of the shadows on the ground here. Look how light those are ill sample the color and value on the barn wall here, and, yeah, same sort of lightness going on because of ambient occlusion. It gets a bit darker up here, but if this were a real life painting where the ambient occlusion would probably be down here I have a whole YouTube video about ambient occlusion, by the way. So I'm just kind of talking as though you've seen that normally ambient occlusion would be quite dark. But in here I raised the key of the painting so dramatically that even the ambient occlusion, the darkest areas, are still pushed up. And I'm happy to say that in print, the mood really carried through. It just felt like an inviting scene that you want to be a part of. This here was the cover art for Norbert, and it's obviously a night scene, but you notice what I'm doing here. First of all, the blue sky at its darkest is still way up here. Also right around Norbert. I even lightened the sky further, so it's way up here. Blues, by the way, are notorious for printing very dark. For some reason that I can't explain printers have a hard time with blue. So whenever I use blue in my paintings, I try and ramp them up. You can calibrate this with experience, which is what I did. I noticed blues got quite dark, so I just over the years developed a habit of painting blues lighter anyway, pushing the blew up pretty light around Norbert forced me to make Norbert's light side quite light. In fact, the highlights are basically white. And then that gave me the value space for his shadows to again not be so dark. The thing about color that I've learned is that and this is true not just for print Children's books but in painting. In general, anything around this range, any color you pick is that if your values down here, it's just gonna look black to the viewer, like the viewers not going to really be able to appreciate the difference in color between this and this if your value is so low. So when when I'm down here, color really doesn't matter, and I don't want that in my Children's books. I want the colors to be identifiable, you know, that's the other thing kids are learning with Children's books color like red and pink and yellow. So by pushing your values up, I'd say This is about the darkest I would go and still expect someone to appreciate the difference in hue. Anything below that color kind of goes away and just becomes opaquely dark, and I try and keep those areas to a minimum. There are some areas like his hooves here, a pretty dark. Some of the cows, eyebrows and hose air dark, and that's okay. A few little areas like that's fine, but in general my advice is, keep your values up high key paintings as opposed to Loki paintings. And, of course, you do this on a per project basis, like in Scary Story here. Remember, the manuscript called for that shadow to get darker Well, by the end, when the monsters air scared and running away. That shadow is opaquely black, which, of course, sets up the punch line for this kitten to pop out. But I built up to that black over the entire book. This here is what the tree's shadow originally looks like. It the beginning of the book, The values Air kept much lighter, definitely with some very dark accents, but overall you get the sense of ah, higher key in the painting. So in this case, the value use was truly tied in with the storytelling. Looking back at this page here, this book has not yet been printed, so I have not actually seen how this turns out. The publisher and I consciously pushed our contrast to a pretty high extreme here. Like if I sample Jane's hair that is very dark, even the lightest part of her hair well, that's definitely the mid range that will probably print well. But this a lot of this, even the lines in your hair might get crushed to black. I'm worried about that, but it's nothing a sample prints can't solve will do a sample print, which in industry jargon, is called a proof, by the way, and then I'll come back and adjust. I think it looks great on a computer monitor, but again, print is a bit of a different beast. Anyway, let's save further color discussion for Chapter three. Ask for right now. I think that wraps up our discussion of storytelling and wraps up Chapter one. So let's move on to Chapter two, where I will discuss and show you some of the key concepts I use to draw characters. I'll see you there 5. Chapter 2 - Posing: Oh, all right. So let's start talking about actually creating art, and I want to kick off this section with a lesson about posing your character. Now I don't have any official stats, but I'm pretty sure like 99% of Children's books involve characters. And whether your book has a pig or a person or anything in between, you have to know how to draw them in various poses. You know, when you think of finished artwork, you might think of cool things like detail and lighting and shading and dimensionality. And those things are all part of finished art. But in my opinion, those elements are all secondary to a well thought out gesture drawing because it's through gesture drawing that we define what pose the character is in any lighting or form or dimension we apply has to serve the pose. I think the power of gesture drawing is best demonstrated with traditional two D hand drawn animation. Here on YouTube, I'm gonna search for Sergio Pablos Disney Animation. We get our search results and I'll click on this 1st 1 here. Oh, and by the way, before we watch this, Sergio Pablos is the owner of spa studios. That's the studio that made close the 2019 Netflix film, which I really, really loved. Anyway, he's been a long time favorite animator of mine, and I think you're going to see why. Right now, officers. And if I might interject here I am the noted astrophysicist, Dr Delbert Dubler. Perhaps you've heard of me? No, I have a clinic officers. And if I might interject here I am the noted astrophysicist, Dr Delbert Dubler. Perhaps you've heard of me? No, I have a clinic, officers. And if I might interject here I am the noted astrophysicist, Dr Delbert Dubler. Perhaps you've heard of me? No, Uh, I have a clipping. So the thing I want you to notice here as we play this now, without audio is that the posing, the acting? The gesture is Justus clear in this very rough phase as it is here in the final finished film. This is Disney's treasure Planet. By the way, in this finished frame, we have clean lines, detail, polish, dimension, light color, all of that good stuff. But the artist Sergio Pablos, in this case at the very beginning, is not resolving any of those things. He's resolving the pose, and he's doing so using very rough drawings, the lines air gestural and flowing. It's not a labor intensive process. Don't get me wrong. It's a thinking, intensive process. But these drawings are designed to be done pretty rapidly. Looking at these three drawings, I think they're very descriptive. And what they describe is how this character carries himself. In other words, his attitude. You can get a sense for who he is as a human being or animal human, in this case, just through the simple flow of his body's position, his pose. In that sense, I think these drawings are also very accurate, not necessarily accurate in terms of the arts finished look accurate in the sense that it appears that every element of his body is all acting toward a singular emotion. And, of course, it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to see that this is exactly what we want to do in Children's book art, too. The reason I'm showing this to you an animation is that animators have to draw so many pictures to convey the sense of motion. So by necessity, animators have had to boil down their art to the most simple yet the most expressive elements possible. And studying animation is really how I started my journey in art. I actually didn't start off wanting to be a painter or illustrator. I started off with the inspiration of the legacy of Disney animation, and I wanted to be an animator not to get into my life story, but I ended up pivoting away from that. But I am really happy. I started for a few years studying animation because I developed a really respect, I guess, for the power of oppose. All right, So I want to show you what I look for when I do a gesture drawing, and it's really a personal thing. That's the other beautiful thing about gestures is every artist is allowed to look for what they think is the most important thing, and I'll show you what I look for. The first thing I do is I look for a single line, if possible, that describes the whole pose. You've probably heard this called the line of Action. Um, it'll either usually be an S curve, a C curve or a straight in this 1st 1 here for instance, it's a C curve, and it looks like that now, when I say the term seeker of you think of the letter C is like this, right? We'll see. Curve could also be like this, or like that, or like that, like it could be different variations of the letter C. Like this one has a pretty hard taper right there and then it's smoother over here. This second pose here is a similar curb, although it's steeper up top. So you know where this C curve looks like that the second C curve has a more of a kink at the top. It's almost like an inverted L shape, which falls under the category of a C curve. It affects the attitude just slightly, obviously, these air to see curves so they're gonna be similar. This also speaks toe how riel people pose. You know, you and I have had years of experience in real life, you know, building up our muscle memory in our habits and our attitudes and all this stuff that filters down to our gate to are posing like our natural way that you and I hold ourselves when we walk or when we sit when we stand. Sergio Pablos has implemented that sense of history into this character. If you've seen the movie, this character makes a whole lot of C curves in his posing, you know, speaking of seekers, this third pose is also a seeker of, although this time it's inverted, it goes the other way, and I'll just throw him anyone there so we can compare the three now. The next thing that's really, really important to look for at least what I look for. And I want to remind you at this point that every artist can have their own system of priorities. But the thing I look for is how the shoulder line crosses the line of action. So I've chosen a different color here, and it's just a simple is doing something like this. Making this T crossing where the shoulder line is the 2nd 1 here is very similar to the first, Although much like the line of action, there is a difference in angle ever so slight. That's the other thing that super powerful about gesture because, as we all have experience with, we're extremely good at reading people's body language. You know, the slightest turn of a shoulder can appear rude or the thrust of a chest can appear brave . The slump of a back congeal ese. We have a lifetime of experience reading people's posture, so the exact angle, the exact crossing of the shoulders to the line of action of the body is what I really think is is indispensable imposing. And in this one we have the line crossing here. The next thing I like to do is pretty much the same thing as the shoulder exercise we just did, but I apply it to the hips. So if you think about like where the apex of the hip is, you know the two highest points of the iliac crest, which is the hip bones. Think of where those two points are, and it's just draw the line down this way. This one is a little bit like this, and this one is off frame, but we can imagine it's probably something like that, and these are the kind of road signs that I look for in any pose I ever draw. This includes when I draw gestures from riel models like real life people, or when I'm inventing a character from my imagination. I always start here turning off the artwork. You can see what I mean by road signs. It's like this gives me a little bit of a map as to how to block in the actual drawing of the character. So now that we have the shoulder line kind of in place, I kind of do the same thing as the line of action of the body, this red line. But I do it to the arms. And it should come as no surprise that this character's arms also make a lot of C curves kind of as a way to echo the C curve in the body. You see, we're already talking about design here. I could do a seeker of their a straighter C curve there. This line is very close to straight, but not quite. It still has a bit of an arc to it. And, of course, I'm trying to make sure that the blue line sort of intersects the shoulder points. Not this point. It intersects where the shoulders are right on this post. Here it's almost like the upper arm is a seeker than the forearm is a straight Remember s curve, see curves and straits. You can combine them. This 12 It's kind of like a seeker of that way and a nice straight You see how the characters got a lot of weight on his hand, right there, Like his hand is, you know, his hand is posed solidly on his hip like gripping his hip. Whenever you have something that contains weight like that or force, typically a straighter curve will communicate that force a little bit more strongly than a seeker of or s curve you notice. Even in this pose, his hand is pushing off of a table. So the arm needs to be straighter because that seems to indicate that he's engaging his muscles. So in that way, gesture is even tied to anatomical reasoning. Now, the cool thing is, you don't need to know anatomy to be able to gesture. Well, in fact, when I learned drawing, I didn't touch anatomy for like 2 to 3 years, I spent 100% of my focus on gesture and maybe some basic shape construction, which I'm going to get into right after this. Anyway, on this third post here, this arm is like a steep C curve almost like a fishhook, and this arm is a more graceful C curve. Now, of course, this character's legs were cut off. So in the interest of showing you the entire body, I want to bring up this file here. These are just drawings by Glenville coup who I kind of indirectly studied from my teacher . My first drawing teacher was a big disciple of Glenn's, so the way he taught me was the way Glenn taught him. So it's kind of a bit of a lineage there. I can trace my learning back to Glenn's teachings. Anyway, you should recognize most of what's going on here. Of course, there are some legs here, but the legs are just treated like the arms. You know, when we did the arms here, Glenn is doing the same thing here with the legs, and I want to point out you see how he's kind of got this double line like it almost looks like these air contour lines. They're not. He's not trying to draw ah, leg. It's still a gesture. If you ever get to watch Glenn draw, he often does this kind of rhythmical thing like hell like for the gesture of the leg. He will make a stroke going down the top and then lift his pencil up and like just feeling the rhythm of his arm. As he's doing that, he'll make the stroke going down this way. So instead of like doing one line going like that, he'll go like this and, like, let that rhythm breathe a little bit on the page, so to speak, the way you draw gestures can take years to develop. Even though they're so simple, the gesture is equally about feeling as it is about physical reality, and that will kind of force you to look at your work from a slightly different angle. Now, the other piece of information that we haven't looked at yet is what he's doing with the heads here. You know, when we did these, I wasn't really dealing with the head. I just put the line of action there. But here, Glenn is being pretty specific about the orientation of the head. So I'm looking at this seated figure here. He'll usually block. It was some kind of oval shaped like an egg shape, and then he'll throw in an ellipse to show the axis of the head. And typically Glenn will start his gestures this way. And then what he'll do is he'll go down the body. In this case, here's an example of an s curve. By the way, the slump spine meeting the legs making this graceful sort of s men will find the shoulder line. Sometimes I also draw little ellipses there to indicate you know, that the plane of the shoulders and then you know more more gesturing down the body here. This arm has slumped forward, getting some weight on the leg. So maybe I'll use a straight there. Then the knees come up a little bit higher. Sometimes it helps to put a little X or some kind of dot and then you can draw to that. And then maybe the other knee is just out there. And I could gesture toward that and the feet, and sometimes it helps to use lines or, you know, some kind of directional stroke or a stroke that reveals direction, I should say, for the feet and again. That's something Glenn does throughout his gesture drawing, you know, other things to notice. In Glenn's drawing, look at this floating arm like you don't literally have to draw a T crossing for the shoulder as long as you kind of know where the shoulders are, Like the gesture can communicate that t crossing without you having to literally draw it. You notice that in most of these Glenn doesn't really draw that same T crossing. I tend to draw it in my work just cause it seems to help me. But, you know, you don't have to do that as long as you're observing these patterns that the body will make. I love on this gesture in the lower right here. It's a graceful s curve with a nice, sharp, straight to kind of counterbalance the s. Now, that's not a rule you don't have to use straits to. Counterbalance s is there are no rules. In fact, Glenville blew himself. Will tell you there are no rules, just tools. That's his famous saying. So there are no rules, but sometimes an s curve counterbalanced by a sharper straight could look nice. You know, design is often based on contrast, whereas this post here goes the opposite way, and it and it uses, sort of like curves. You know similar flowing curves throughout and you get two different attitudes. You know, this top one here looks more like maybe a dancer or like a happy go lucky little child or something where the bottom one looks like a little bit more aggressive than that. And that's the other beautiful thing about gesture. When you're putting down these curves on your own work, they will start communicating to you immediately. And I remember it being a real breakthrough in my progress when that started to happen. Alright, What I'd like to do now is draw some gestures from reference. So here we go a limit these drawings to, you know, roughly a minute each. I'm not specifically keeping time, but, you know, gestures tend to be quick, as I just talked about. And usually I get them done in a minute or less. Eso this This woman here is a nice s curve running through, um you notice I've got the shoulders, the hips. Here's the head coming in now kind of the Glenville who sort of lips to identify the eye line like the tilt of the head. And now I'm just kind of just fleshing it out a bit again. These are not contours. They may be hinting at contours, but like there's the knees and I'll just gesture down. I'm not worried about designing the legs like the Contras of the legs, though I'm just worried about capturing that basic thrust of the hip that is so characteristic of this pose, and I'll use lines that I just feel will help me. Now. I know that's not very helpful, but this is where experience comes in the lines. I'm drawing our lines that I know from experience. Help me with the pose, and it's kind of like this. I start with that sort of almost stick man thing, and then I'm getting into some kind of almost quasi contours here. Let's do another one. I'm changing my brush this time just to show you that. You know, certainly the brush you choose doesn't matter. I've got the head, shoulder and arm this time because I think they describe so much than the Seeker of Of the Body is second. But that those arms thrusting forward so sharply I wanted to get first and then I'm just capturing, you know, the tilt of the foot or the feet and ah, that to two she's wearing makes a bit of an interesting gesture itself, with some straits that play against the C curve again, Each pose will present different opportunities for your gesture. All right, here's another one, and I'll use a totally different approach this time up. Use a marker brush and kind of fill in the gesture as if it were like a big, chunky marker that I were using. I'm still thinking about, you know, you can see the S curve that's running through her body. They're down her left leg on blocking in her right leg. And then now it just changed my brush to a more of a linear brush, and I can go over top of this again. These are not contour lines. It's just a bit of a refinement on my super abstract gesture that I laid in. I'm doing different methods for all of these gestures just to drive home guys that there is no one way to do it. One of the downfalls of learning art from another person, as opposed to like fully being explored of yourself. It's very easy. Get locked into like your teachers way of doing things. So I want to show you that there is no one way of doing things, especially when it comes to gesture, which again, is more of a feel thing. All right, so for this one, I'm not going to start with the head. I'm gonna start with the legs because that C curve is so obvious. It's the most important part of this pose. According to me, eso start there. And then when it comes to roughing in the rest of the proportions like I'm doing now, I'll just ballpark it based on where the legs are, you know, usually I start with the head and go down. That's what I usually dio. But in this case, it warranted the opposite approach. And I could call this finish now. But I'm just trying to map out again these quasi contours just to see if I can connect like the hip to the shoulder of the hip, to the elbow, just exploring the pose in terms of how it flows. So this one is more of a back view where the arm is like overlapping the body. These could be a bit trickier, so I'm slowing down a little bit, getting a little bit more of the head blocked in more accurately, Still moving quickly, though. A bit of an s curve down the body. So I'm just gonna shrink this up here so I could fit the whole body on the page, which is a common problem I have. I always tend to draw too big. Um, now that have the head sort of their I confined these curves a little bit more accurately finding the shoulder, Still finding where the hand is. At this point, I'll start locating where those hips are, because that will help with proportions. So there they are about their And then from there, of course, gesturing down toward the legs and then finding the feet you can really think of gesture as finding the pose. You know, I'm not always precisely sure where the hand or feet or hips are. And because gesture is so free, you could make, like, five or six lines to kind of test where you think things are and then commit to the one that you think looks most accurate. So as a quick little bonus for this one just to show you the you know, the freedom in the power and fun of gesture. I'm just gonna do a variation on this pose. So block in the head roughly the same way as it is in the reference like I want to make this pose just offshoots of the original. So the body is gonna be thrust forward, perhaps a little bit more. I'm emphasizing the curves in the original putting, throwing both arms back, thrusting the hip out to the left. This almost looks more like a graceful dance maneuver or something at this point, but it's inspired by the original. You can see how one comes from the other. So this is how you can take photo reference and get away from kind of blindly copying it. Rather use it as a springboard into the world of your imagination. Which is, of course, the world you want to be in when you're illustrating Children's books. Okay, let's move on to the next section where we'll talk about building volume and form on our gesture 6. Chapter 2 - Form: So now that we have the gesture, we want to begin constructing forms. And when I say form, I mean like basic three dimensional objects like this year that I'm drawing is a simple box form. It has a plane that points up a plane that points out and a plane that points to the side. You know, we get a sense of its three dimensionality or other times you can have, like, this circle here. Unlike the box. I can't separate this into obvious planes, but I do want this to look more dimensional. So something we can do is we can put in a lips going around the circle, thus making it into a sphere. I could even do that from the other axis like this way, going around the form, and we now get a sense of its three dimensionality. These lines that go over the form are called cross contours. We will be using a lot of cross contours and the rest of this class. So let's say I had a gesture that kind of looked like this like a little seeker of gesture like we've seen before. Well, now what I could do is I could put a box over on this part of it just very quickly. Doesn't have to be like some kind of perfectly technically accurate box ranting. This could be just quick. And then let's say I put like a sphere right there or a circle at this point. And because I did that on a layer, I can always just dim down my gesture drawing. And now what I can do is using some cross contours. I can figure out a little bit more accurately what the three dimensionality of this little object is. You see how it bulges out for the sphere tucks in here? This would be like where the stomach would be. It tucks in and then comes back out here. I have that on the layer to let me dim that as well. And then on a new layer, I could begin to more fully understand the form that I'm drawing comes around here. These are actual contour lines. Now this box is gonna be on top of the sphere so it comes down but haven't overlap there. And then from behind it comes the mass of the sphere. On this part. There's a bit of a stretch happening here is like the form kind of gives away so bit of a stretch, and then it takes on the form of the sphere. This is looking like a torso, is it not? In fact, this is a very common construction for a torso. You can use boxes or spheres or whatever. Whatever you suits you really let me quickly gesture in some arms. Like if the shoulders air here, maybe there's an arm coming in this way with the hand going down. And maybe this arm comes out this way again. I'm using s curves. I'm thinking about secrets. Ask of straights. I'm going right back to my gesture Language thes drawing fundamentals can flow together. You can switch from gesture to form, back to gesture, etcetera. Then maybe there's a head up here that is pointed all drawn ellipses pointing up like this is a dancer or something. There's a head there and maybe there's some hair spilling this way. Some flowy s curves. Now what I'll do is I will go into construction mode. Ah, landmark where I think the elbow would be. This one is over here, and I'm gonna use a cylinder to draw these arms. Now a cylinder has a top, a bottom. And then, of course, the connection, which is pretty straight. Now, the tricky thing about cylinders is the way the ellipse goes depends on your view. This cylinder I'm looking slightly down at, which means I can see the top of that ellipse. Same with this one. If I wanted to draw through the form, you could see the top of it. Now contrast that with this other one. I'll do with the same sort of thing. But this one I'll have go, like above my eye line and I'll do this side as well. But this time I will cap it off This way. So this imitates a cylinder where I'm looking down at it on this plane, I could see the top, but then here I'm looking up at it. And this the backside goes underneath that way. You know, that plane is pointed that way in space. Can you see the difference between these two? This top plane is oriented toward our eyes, whereas this one is going away. That is a subtle bit of construction that you have to have control over. And I'll apply it to this figure right now. So because we're kind of looking slightly up at this model, you cannot see the top of the shoulder. So I'm gonna draw the lips moving away from us. Same with the elbow here. It's gonna be sort of this way. And then I could just connect them. When I could do is I can also cross contour this cylinder to emphasize the form. I'm thinking maybe it's a bit short. Maybe the elbow is maybe a here. And then I will ah, ballpark quickly where the wrist is, and I will do another cylinder. Only this time the Ellipse at the end of this cylinder is going to go this way, indicating there's a slight bend in the elbow. Now you notice my gestured hand is all the way over here. That's wrong. It's not in the right place anymore. The gesture has already served its purpose. I'm now refining it. I'm building on top of it with my construction. With my three dimensional forms for the hand, I will draw pretty simple box kind of going down this way, sort of this tapered box to indicate both the poem and the finger areas of the hand. And then very quickly I will do the same process for the other side using cylinders. Don't forget to cross contour them. It always helps to understand which direction the form is flowing. Maybe the box for her hand will be kind of twisted here and then for the head. It's largely the same thing. What I've got laid in is kind of a combination of a sphere in a box. So what I'll do is I'll push it in the direction of a box, figuring out where the side plane is this being with side plane, then we have across Contra here, wrapping around the side of the box. This is the underside of the box right here. And then the neck, of course, comes out there like a cylinder. So put that in. We could see that from our imagination. I'm not using any reference for this week unbilled simple figures that actually have motion and wait and dynamic poses to them. Knowing the orientation of this box will also help me place things like the nose which is in itself like a little box. Sort of like this, of course, were looking up at this head, so we're going to see the underside of the nose just like we're seeing the underside of the chin and jaw. And then from here, you know, you could just start chiseling out certain things. You can always add more cross contours going over the form to help you understand what's happening. For instance, this ellipse goes up like this, but the Ellipse here would go this way, and the lips even further down would be even more steep. Can you see how that really informs the dimensionality of the drawing? And just for fun? If I wanted to add legs to this, I could think of where the cylinder would be. Go down this cylinder. Let's have her. Let's have a leg going up this way. So this cylinder would be the Ellipse would be this way and then would come out. They're being me here. Obviously this is cropped cylinder down, and then we can connect these masses here. This is essentially basic figure drawing. Now, don't worry. I know this is a Children's book illustration class, not a figure drawing class, but these air drawing fundamentals that are essential for what's to come and I don't want anybody to be left in the dark here. If this whole notion of constructing forms is very new to you, I recommend stopping right here in practicing. And here's a very basic exercise. I'll draw two circles, one overlapping the other and using that same light color, I'll cross Contour kind of interesting sort of thing, like going over the spheres and different axes like this. Now, with a darker color, I want to build the final form and the exercises, visualizing which sphere is in front and which fears behind. So I'll start with the far one. This is gonna be behind, so I'll start with this one. Here. This comes down. Now I'll stop around this point because that's where the closer sphere overlaps it. So I'll draw his contour. And now, to show the three dimensional overlap at this little nub of a form that really helps communicate that one sphere is in front of another. And on this side it stretches a bit and comes down to meet this sphere like this. And then I could just wrap this around like that. Then I can further bring back my cross contours essentially we have a sort of a torso thing . It almost looks like we're looking at the back side of a figure. Here's another one. Draw circle there and a circle here. Quickly give it some cross contours. This is similar delighted earlier. But on this one, let's have the top sphere be in front in the bottom syrup, be behind. So again I'll switch to a darker color. We'll start with this outside. One goes down like this. So here I bring my contour down, feeling the form of that sphere. Now this is in front. It's gonna overlap it like this. Then from behind comes this sphere and we just complete that volume like this. And then, of course, I could bring back my cross contours to enhance my understanding of this form. I could cross contour this way. This is similar to the figure we just drew. How about one words more of a boxy form like this where we can really see the underside of it. And then here's a sphere. Cross contour would look something like this down the middle of that box down here and then this is like a twisting torso. Can you see how that cross contour really helps show that twist. Now, what I could do with my darker color again is go over it and kind of find exactly where one form is overlapped by the other. I think this sphere would overlap it like this. I can draw that little. I've heard this called the accordion effect in animation school. These little lumps on drawing here that comes down, this comes in down, but it's overlapped by the sphere again. So we get these convincing little three D form exercises that are kind of emblematic of the human body. But they don't have to be. The idea is that you're able to mentally turn the two dimensional page into a three dimensional space, you know, and thinking about your gesture like this and then perhaps constructing some simple box forms on top of it, it's a great way to get in tune with how these fundamentals connect. His bottom box might be over here. We're looking at it this way. And then in this case, you could just be creative With that final contour, you arrive at a little bit of, ah, depression here, as these forms are organic and squishy. This is an exercise that my teacher had me Do you know when I would go to figure drawing class before the if the model were ever late or something? We would just do this. We would just draw circles or boxes and connect them and have all kinds of fun with them. Another thing you can do is anticipate the overlaps. I'll draw a circle here, and then I will drop behind it. This other form So this already looks three D and then I'll just get a darker color and I'll figure out you know where that overlap is happening here. This coming in fronts that coming out from behind and then I can cross contour that have really understand its form. Here's another quick little variation on that exercise is gonna draw a little box just so we know what we're working with. And I want to twist that form as if it were alive or something. So how about if I tried something like this? This is the top plane of the box that maybe we see a little bit of its back and the bottom kind of gets twisted and the box like comes out here. I just toss this into a quick shadow to communicate that you see the box. It looks like it has a spine or something. Now it's like a character out of a box. Um, let's try. A different one will have the side plane. This is the side plane and this is doing this and it's like stepping out. It's walking the red carpet or something again. Sometimes it helps just to throw one of the back planes in shadow. You know what this reminds me of? Remember this character from Aladdin, the carpet character? He's not even a box. He's a rectangle. He doesn't really have, like the same thickness that the box did. He's just flat, but this carpet is a fully a motive character with, like, irreducibly simple geometry. And when it comes to getting your brain to understand three dimensional forms in space, I think drawing this magic carpet character is a really, really good exercise you can get, like, you know, he's kind of got feet by way of those carpet fiber things. I don't know what they're called. These things on drawing now. These would be his hands, but you know there's oppose that looks like he's being sneaky or shy or something. You could see I had my initial gesture there, by the way. And if I want to be accountable for my three dimensionality, I could cross contour down the middle of this fold here. When it wraps behind the carpet, I'll use disconnected lines like that. This comes out in front, down. You know, when this cross contour traces the center line of our magic carpet character here. If you wanted to further clarify it, just take anything that's being tucked underneath and just throw a quick little value on it for a shadow, and you'll get a sense that that top portion is coming forward. You don't have to do this, but this is just something that is really, really good for getting again. Getting your brain to recognize, not recognize. It's getting your brain to interpret. The two dimensional page has a three dimensional space. That's kind of the crux of any successful drawing is you want to be able to do that. The cool thing about the magic carpet character is he can like, fold and sort of ripple on in on himself, right? He's a carpet, so you'll see like the front of him. And then around the back, you'll see that underside is it sort of wraps around again. I'll just toss this into a quick shadow there and then maybe his arms slash legs things. If he's sort of flying here while you cylinders right, I'll block in these cylinders. Although these air tapered cylinders right, they're not straight on their kind of one side is shorter than the other. Right? Like it, the cylinder like this, like 1/2 cylinder half cone, I guess with his little carpet fiber thing, he's anyway, let's get an actual cross contour in there, so we understand the dimension of it. It just is like a modification to this. What if we erased this part and just had him like almost waving at the camera like this part is coming up, and it's like, you know, we can see the underside of it and he's sort of giving the camera a little wave or something. This would be the underside, so I'm throwing it in shadow. Something like that. See if you can get that working. You know, this is the kind of thing that will really stretch your your brain to again convert two dimensions into three in an intrinsic sort of instinctual way, I should say, And that will again, just for you up for, you know, drawing characters. Which don't worry. We're going to get to actual character drawing. Right after this, we're gonna talk about shapes, which I want to talk about before we do that, Then we'll get right into some rapid fire character drawing. Let's see, just for fun just to round up the page. How about one brothers? Even more, But twist to him. Let's see like he's triumphantly walking forward or something. So let's see if I could figure this out. So this is gonna be a tough one. So where this is gonna be like the back side of him. This would be the front. So let's say I want to plant a foot. This foot will be right here. Get that little cylinder in there. This is one hand. This is the other hand, and then this is his other foot. I don't need this line in the middle, just tryingto in real time, solve a problem and try to keep it gestural. But at the same time, I'm trying to think about form and gesture, sort of all at the same time, because this post twists and turns so dramatically, I find that I don't quite need the gesture and there's so much. I just need to think about it as I draw these forms overlapping. This would be his other foot, of course, like he's taking a step forward and twisting, like if, if you were looking somewhere, he'd be looking off. That way I can throw this in shadow is to communicate this pose. There we go. That reads, Right, A great little exercise. Inform. Okay, But like I said, there's another fundamental to talk about. Before we start combining all these and do actual character drawings, that fundamental is shape. So I'll see you in the next section where we'll talk about shape. 7. Chapter 2 - Shape: shape is the third riel important fundamental we have to look at before we can start applying all this stuff together. And I'd like to open the section with my overall philosophy of shape design. As I've mentioned before, there are no rules with this stuff. So if you're not guided by rules, what are you guided by? Well, you have to be guided by a philosophy. Many artists have similar philosophies. Many artists will have different philosophies. So I'd like to share with you my philosophy of shape design. And these are all ideas I've picked up partially from my own teachers. But more importantly, from my experience in applying this stuff, you know, habits and beliefs that I formed along the way, let's first recall some familiar material. Here are the three drawings we've already looked at. They're gestural and rough, and here are the final versions of those drawings with the fully finished shape design applied to them. Shape is a very powerful thing because it encapsulates both. The gesture and the form shape is also the final statement Your audience actually sees. They don't physically see the gesture. They don't physically see the construction of your three D forms. They see the shapes. So speaking philosophically here, if you think of like the art you're producing for a Children's book, what you're doing is you're telling a story with your pictures. That's why we read books is to be told stories. So as the illustrator of the Children's book, the shapes you use become the vehicle for your storytelling. And when you think about storytelling, what is like the number one sin that you can commit at a storyteller? You know what is the thing that will make an audience not want to listen to your stories? To me, that sin is being boring or being predictable, which is another version of being boring. If your telling a predictable story, the audience will already know where it's going, so they'll tune out and they won't remember you. This is something we absolutely must avoid. This is tricky, though, because stories have to promise and deliver on certain things, like, for example, but say you're going to the movie theater to see a detective movie. Well, that movie better have a detective in it, and that detective better be investigating something in that movie, you know, if you don't deliver on some basic obligations as a storyteller. That's another way to lose your audience. Anyway. In that detective movie, there will probably also be a section where the detective thinks he's got it solved. But then an unexpected twist happens, and he realizes he doesn't know as much as he thought he did. You know, maybe a character who he thought of as his ally turns into an enemy. These air all genre conventions things we expect as an audience on audience, conditioned by millennia of hearing stories. So the trick with storytelling is how do you satisfy an audience is expectations while working within that framework to deliver something unexpected and creative? So remember a minute ago I said that being predictable is another way of being boring? Well, I think you should have some amount of predictability in your storytelling because that's what will help give it structure. But then you have to play with that structure at just the right times. That's the kind of thing that will engender trust in your audience. And quite simply, they'll stick around to hear what you have to say. Okay, so you're probably sitting there like how does this even remotely relate to shapes? Well, let's say we had a shape like this. A square. It's made of four equal sides. It's a very common shape. In fact, it's probably one of the first shapes we were ever introduced to as young babies. So it has a very strong identity. But at the same time, there's nothing particularly interesting about a square. So let's say this square represents a theoretical shape that we want to put in our drawing . Well, instead of making it like a perfect square like that, why not work within that framework and just deviate a little bit from the square and do something like this? Now, I'm not saying you have to draw all your squares like that. I'm just showing you an example of how we work within a structure to come up with something perhaps a little bit more unexpected. And in so doing, the hope is to generate creativity. You know, stay tuned for the next section of this chapter to actually apply all this. This is kind of the theory section here, but by working within our genre obligations here, that genre being a square and just giving it our own little twist. That is a very good first step towards shape originality, another common method to adjust shapes. We have this circle here, right? Well, think about maybe applying like a force to it. Let's say a force going down. Well, instead of the circle looking like that, maybe the circle now looks a little bit. Waited this way like again, the four supplying down to it and that circle is affected almost by gravity or something. You could do the same thing, you know, with the force going upward. Another extremely common thing to do with shape design is combined, curves and straight. So we have a circle in the square. So let's say we start with the square like this. But then there is a little round part to it. You know, it goes up in a nice, predictable straight line, maybe a neighboring straight line. And then maybe there's this con cave sort of thing and, you know, connects encloses like that. What's required here is not really artistic skill. I mean, after all, this is really easy stuff to do. But what's required is that we engage your mind in a more philosophical way, and I don't mean to sound profound with that. This is very simple stuff, but that's the whole beauty of having a philosophy. It guide you towards simple solutions. In fact, chances are if you're drawings, look over complicated. That usually means you're not really guided by anything, which means you're not grounded by anything, which means you're gonna be prone to doing too many things all at once. And doing too many things all at once is not good structure. Another common thing that risks being too predictable is like two parallel lines say, like, this is a sleeve And like, here's the cuff right there. Well, instead of that being your arm shape, why not have one of those straight lines be there? But the other one kind of does this and, you know, maybe the cuff does this were just breaking up that symmetry. Can you see how it's still based on a very obvious structure here? I'm simply riffing on that structure, maintaining its solidity while adding something new, even something as simple was like changing the angle of the symmetry. So it's something like this. I would argue that that is more interesting than that usually anyway, again, there are no rules. Nothing is absolute going back to this sheet. Let's take a look at this forearm and its corresponding finished art. Noticing the gestural drawing Sergio Pablos hasn't really paid a lot of attention to design . Now, make no mistake, there's still some design even in these rough drawings. After all, Sergio Pablos is of master artists, someone who knows his fundamentals, and when you know your fundamentals, you can combine them. But look at the shape refinement that's happening down here. That same forearm has a straight a little hook and then another little curve to make up one side. And then on the other side, it's a curve that kind of goes in, and with little s end, like a little official to it there. Then, of course, it flares out for the cuff. Can you see how that shape is very similar to what we were just talking about? This reminds me of another really important principle, one I use all the time. I call it offset symmetry. So if you think of the forearm, I think everyone kind of knows that the forearm bulges out because of the muscles you know , nearest to the elbow. Of course, what I just drew right there is too symmetrical, so offset symmetry well offsets the symmetry. So instead of this, you have this where it's still kind of symmetrical, but it's the access is like diagonal like that. That's the kind of principle that's at play here. Except in addition to the offset symmetry, Sergio Pablos is also using variations of straights and curves. Allow me to bring up this diagram of the human calf muscle. Now, Don't worry, I'm not gonna get into an anatomy lesson here, but I find it really interesting that nature herself. Does this offset symmetry? You can find it all over the human body, so let's look at the calf muscle on the left. Let's trace this elegant sort of C curve notice. Its neighboring side has a seeker, but it's offset if we examine where the widest points are in this CAF on either side. They're right here and look at the access those to make offset symmetry. Guys, I personally live by it. Here's just another great little example of breaking up the shapes. This arm, for all intents and purposes, is pretty symmetrical Like I said earlier, that arm has some weight on it as he's pushing his body up from the table. So you know the sleeve will be stretched out. Pablo's here is using straits to communicate a sense of weight. But let me just take what I just drew their move it over here. What I love about what's going on here is there's a little bit of a taper here and then up here, it kind of cuts in like that. It's just this little accent of shape that piggybacks on the structure of two parallel lines, but it just adds that little twist on it. And speaking of the sleeves, I really like what's going on with these little frilly things, like on both sleeves. He's got those little I don't know what those are. Double sleeves. I'm not even sure what they're called. I like them because that part of his clothing gives further leeway to break up the shapes before moving on. I want to elaborate a little bit on this whole Straits carrying weight thing. Let's say I'm drawing this gesture here. This figure and I want let's say there's a table here and I want this figure to be leaning on the table. Here's the shoulder here. Using straits is a great way to show that there's weight on that arm. And then maybe this arm here is gesturing like this person's talking or something. If I do the same drawing a different way, you can see that the weight is not quite the same. So here's the same sort of gesture. But if I had the figure going like this, you can see that it doesn't quite look like there's much weight on the arm. In my opinion, this one sells the action more to the viewer. Now don't get me wrong. This one has its own action. That's perfectly legitimate. It just doesn't look like there's the same amount of weight being placed on the table. Another example is like a contra pasta. Oppose those air poses were like the hip is thrust out. And then that foot is carrying a lot of weight. Kind of like this. By using this straight right here, that really shows that that hip is holding a lot of this character's weight, and then, of course, with the other leg, you're free to maybe give it a curve to show that there's less weight on this foot, like maybe those characters walking or something, or just starting to move that leg forward, Or maybe the characters just still on the ground. Maybe the arm is attached to the hip here, and you have this kind of straight to show the weight being placed on it. And then this arm is kind of just dangling lazily to the side. Now I don't mean to compare my work, Teoh Michelangelo, but you can see in this highly realistic sculpture where all the weight is placed on one leg, the same principle still shows up. The only difference is that cartoons are more simplified and therefore more exaggerated. Yet another facet of shape is something I call continuous rhythm. And what I mean by that is where one side of the body gets lost like it goes behind something and then picks up on the other side. A great example are like his two shoulders here. If I were to trace the shoulder line here, it gets lost as it passes behind the head, but when it gets picked up on the other side, we can anticipate exactly where it's gonna come out of the silhouette because of the rhythm that's in play here. This is similar and spirit to those obligations I was talking about in storytelling. You set up a rhythm, break it, and then the audience will expect you to fulfill the obligation of continuing it. And when you do, you build that visual trust with the audience. Another example of continuous rhythm is this line down the body Here it gets broken right there by the shirts. It gets broken right there by the Ascot. I think that's what that's called. But our brains are smart enough to recognize that there's a line here that's continuous. In fact, if you look up at the gesture, drawing that line is literally continuous. Which, of course, is part of the tool set of the gesture drawing. You want to find that flow right in the final design. We cannot literally keep that flow because of all these items, but we do have to make sure those continuous rhythms are still in place. Look over here. Here's another sneaky little one. Look at this beautiful rhythm from the arm up to the hand. See, that s curve. It's broken right there by the cuff. But again, the rhythm is undeniably kept intact. Here's another obvious one here you can see up here. Pablo's was thinking about that really dramatic C curve, right for the arm again in a gesture drawing. He's very literal about that. In his final, you can still see the evidence of it. It's just masked a little bit by, you know, shape accents and, you know, interrupted shapes while still preserving the essence of this. So this is what I mean when I say shapes encapsulate both the gesture and the form. The other thing that falls under the jurisdiction of shape is proportions or, in other words, the size and space between elements. Let's start just by looking at spacing. Here's a circle, which I'm dividing roughly in half. Then I'll divide those in half and then I'll just throw some features here, and we have a pretty generic face. In keeping with my philosophy about predictability. There's really nothing interesting about that character I just designed. Quite frankly, it's very boring. Nobody would remember this design, but just by changing this up, let me apply some of that force to the sphere or to the ball. And let's change the proportions a little bit. Let's go something like this. And let's also maybe add some kind of angular quality to the eyes to change their shapes. And here we go. This is more interesting. You know, we have various degrees of spacing between each feature here, whereas with this one it was much more predictable. We could go the other way and extend the head this way. Maybe let's Adam kind of curves vs straight thing to this head this time. Let's put the nose down here in the mouth. Maybe down there we have our two eyes. Maybe the nose comes down here and the mouth is there instead of having that mouth line up perfectly with the knows what happens if we just erased that mouth and redrew it like this . So it's is way bigger, maybe even overlapping the nose a little bit. So now we have different wits. The I width is there. The nose with is there, and the mouth with is like that. How about we go back to a little basic circle ish and do something like this? We have the eyes here, the nose here in the mouth, maybe all the way over here. Deviating from perfect proportions is where you'll find character. There seems to be something about this design that suggests an individual. And, of course, where you put things like ears could play a huge role as well. That versus this. I usually do think of concepts like Wait a lot of the time. So, like on this head here, instead of putting the ears right in the middle of the features, which is roughly where they would go in real life, I'll think about adding some weight to it. So again, like gravity pushing the form down, so undo those. You know what if I put the ear a little bit more weighted to the bottom? Now this doesn't always work, but it's just something I look for. I try and implement it. I find that usually gets more interesting, like on this guy here. Instead of putting the ears in the middle, try putting them either down here or maybe up here in keeping with the force thing. The other thing to be aware of when it comes to proportions and facial features, I'll do a few more quick examples. Let's draw like an underlying shape. This will be a person in profile just gonna put that shape over there and duplicated a couple of times, and now we'll start adding some features to it. Maybe on this one will keep the eyes and nose high and the mouth low and will keep the ear high as well. Maybe on the 2nd 1 will have the features kind of squish more into the middle of this shape . So the forehead becomes high, the chin becomes compressed and the features air squeezed in the middle. On this last one, let's try more like radiating features. This time, the brow and chin will be roughly the same size, and the nose will offset that by being elongated. So three different personalities on the same shape just by changing the proportions. Okay, so this brings me to the final principle I'd like to talk about in this section on shapes. I'll now introduce you to something I call thematic shapes. So let's say I had a shape like this. That's our thematic shape. It provides the theme around which I will now construct or design this entire character. The cool thing about somatic shapes is you can just brush in any shape. Riel quickly. Let's say something like this and then grab a brush and just see what happens when you construct something on top of it. This one happens to be turning to do some bear like character. For this one. Here are blocking something, just using a soft brush, and this looks like the proportions of a child, so I'll use it as reference for that. And maybe she's like wearing a flowy sort of cape. I've obviously sped this drawing up. This is not a demonstration of character design, rather just how thematic shapes could be. A facets of your overall shape design, which could lead to anything, not just characters. Thematic shapes are great tools for understanding overall attitudes. Like when I designed this guy, I wanted him to be very brutish, so the thematic shape I had in mind was a square. But I riffed on that square. His head is kind of this tapered square like this. His body is kind of, ah squarish sort of thing. Like that. Again, I'll bring you back to what I talked about earlier in this section, where I'm not exactly drawing squares, but these air still identifiably squares to play with proportions. I gave him two little small stick like squares at the bottom. Rectangles, actually. And then really, the only curve he got is the pelvis area. Thought that was kind of funny Toe have. I mean, he's kind of a bigger character, right? So I thought this sold some of the weight of his stomach and his arms are also large, sort of tapered squares, sort of like this. Even his little feet were a little stick like squares there. And when I would paint him or draw him or sketch him and various pages to keep his design consistent, I would usually start with something like this. But again, the beauty of thematic shapes is they're so simple that quite often you don't actually need to draw this. You could just think about it, although in the concept stage it does help to draw this stuff out just to root it in your brain. In this case, the thematic shapes even played into the costume design. You know, everything is very squarish the stripes on his shirts, the caller that I just drew. It's all based on squares and you notice I'm offsetting all of these shapes to create the maximum amount of interest while hopefully still holding onto the structure of the square. Of course, yeah, this is really how you can start stacking all these lessons together to design a appealing and fresh and original character. Another great function of the thematic shape is to differentiate characters that have to appear on the same page or in the same book. These monsters are both based on a circle, but there's enough difference in how I theme to that circle for anyone, Children and adults alike to recognize the difference. All right, so that wraps up our fundamental discussion of shape in the next section will take everything we've learned in this entire chapter, and I'll combine them to show you the actual process I use when working on Children's books . So I'll see you there 8. Chapter 2 - Real Assignments: Oh, okay. In this section, I'll do some drawings based on real assignments that I've had in the past. Here's a book I illustrated for Disney. Sheriff Callie's Wild West. Sheriff Callie's Wild West was a pretty popular TV show a few years ago, and as an existing property, the characters were already designed. This character here is named Peck. He's the deputy sheriff of a town that in this book, is being ravaged by bad guys, and he does his best to help. But ultimately it's Sheriff Callie who comes to save the town anyway, after Sheriff Callie saves the day, there's this passage that reads like this. Everybody cheered. Callie had saved the day again. Why isn't your share of protecting this town? Kelly asked. Everybody's afraid, Peck explained, and the bad guys keep coming back. This is the source material I had to work with from the text. We know that Peck is admitting fear of the bad guys that keep coming back and what this text is leading to on the next pages that Callie gets the sheriff job for this town. So we need to drop Peck and oppose that engages Callie, but is deferential to her, you know, as if to confer her superiority in the bravery department now, because this is a character that I did not design. In order to draw this guy properly, I need to take stock of some proportions. What I like to do is measure the head against the rest of the body. The head and hat in this case comprise about 2/3 of the body, with the actual rest of the body being 1/3. This is obviously critical information, because when it comes to gesturing out this character, I do want to maintain some kind of proportion. So I'll start him out like this. This will be his head, obviously. And I'm thinking that he's gonna be leading with his head. That is, his head is gonna be the furthest, most part of the pose. And as a kind of dim your kind of guy, he's gonna be leaning almost as if shy to show himself to Callie. So the gesture is gonna be the C curve. If I follow the cross contour from the front of the head down the body and making this s curve and the arms will be kind of back behind him. I think this helps show a a reverential kind of subdued, shy pose. His feet will be somewhere here. Now. I'm just thinking gesture right now. I'm not thinking shape yet. Let's see if I can tilt his head a little bit more. I'm constantly going back to my eye line and just tweaking how, exactly? It's oriented. I think a little bit of the tilt of the head again shows that deferential sort of treatment . The hat is somewhere up here. So the thing I like about the Peck character is this red part in here is very good for going around the form. It's like a big sort of cross contour. So I will use that even at this rough gesture phase to figure out the dimension of his head . This midline that I'm drawing now literally is across contour. It goes down the mid line of the face, and we get a sense for exactly how that head is oriented. And this will also show me where the eyes go. Now I make sure I keep their orientation as this head is, um, tilted a little bit. So when I will be a bit lower than the other because the whole head is being rotated right now. At this point, I want to start thinking about shape. His head is very circular, but can you see? It's a little bit flat here at the bottom. Now, as the illustrator of this book, I would like it to be a bit more flat at the bottom, but I'll see what I could get away with. This is where I have to adhere to Disney's design. I can't just go rogue on them, right? But at the same time, I'm pretty sure I would be able to edit this head shape just a little bit to give a little bit more weight to the bottom. Maybe something like this. Now the eyes are going to be engaging Sheriff Callie, who will be, you know, to the left here, which I haven't drawn. I'll draw her next. Maybe I'll play with a bit of up tilted brow like he's apologetic about being so scared of the bad guys. He's, you know, he's This is not his best moment admitting this to them to the hero character. Now, remember, in the shape section, we talked about proportions. Where is the mouth in relation to the I. Another thing you can do to elaborate on this is draw a triangle that connects the corners of the eyes to the middle of the mouth, and the nature of that triangle needs to be preserved in order to keep the likeness. Now he's got a beak that sticks out, so I'll see if I could get a beak just roughed in there. Just roughing this in starting to deal with shapes a little bit now. Now that I have a gesture worked out, however, I don't want to complete the head, you know, in all of its detail. I do want to go to the body and let's see if I can figure out how his arm goes. His arm is a basic cylinder, and it's gonna wrap around to the back. The bandanna, By the way, it was a nice sort of V shape that traces the center. In fact, the point should be a little bit more in, I think, and now what I'll do is I'll start working out some volumes for the body. Can you see this nice curve there for the hips? He's got this sort of cylinder thing going, I will get that right here. And sometimes it does help to draw with a different color like I'm doing right now, by the way, for your landmarks and stuff. The feet are actually a bit low on my gesture, his legs air riel tiny so his feet will probably go right around here. His body is a slightly tapered sort of thing. It's not straight up and down. It has a bit of, ah taper to it, and he's gonna have a lot of weight coming forward to support his body, leaning back. So all your strengths here to get his lower side there, and I'm not worried about the boots yet. I just want to know where his feats kind of touched the ground somewhere like this. I think that's probably the right location for them. His other arm is hidden from view, but I can kind of rough and where it it is, all right. And now his hat is, you know, somewhere in here, remember, his head is tilted, so the hat is also going to be tilted. It's not a straight up and down had it rotates with the head. Throw this in shadow just to show that it wraps behind the head. And that hat also wraps around the sphere across contour around the sphere. This way to show that the hat is wrapping around a three dimensional object. Okay, let me just fill in this sort of red section of his head here. The pattern that I like so much it makes me realize that his eyes are too close together. So what I'll do is I'll just erase them and redraw them. This is the nice part about kind of building on a gesture. The gesture is determining the pose, not my finished details. So, you know, in this case, I consider the eyes like finished detail. There's not a whole lot of detail in this character. So the gesture being in place, I could just move those eyes a little bit and know that it's still gonna exist on good structure. This is better. I also want to circle if I his head a little bit more. It was just a little flat before. Now we can deal with maybe his jacket here, which drapes down on his body. Let me just get rid of these purple across Contras here so we can see how the body works. The white part of his chest is there, and then the legs have, like this crotch area that's low. So it's like this and then his boots wrapped around his legs. So I'll drive a cylinder thing as if his is if the boot and foot are like a cylinder. And then I could just find that V where it meets the center of the leg and I can trace down to get the boot. So there we go. There's our peck drawing coming to life, and what I want to do at this point is just fixed mistakes and clean it up. So here's a little mistake. I got his belly wrong. It kind of curves in more than the knee comes out, some fixing that I'm bringing back his left leg because I feel like without that, he would topple over. He would like, toppled backwards, so he needs more support on the left leg. Here. I'm just applying some value just to separate the boots from the red portion of his skin, tweaking contours. Now you know, making sure my shapes are where they should be for me to then send this drawing into into the client for approval. I'm still working on the shape of the head. It's not quite circular enough. I'll keep going back to that. Um, here's the other side of the red portion of his head that continue is that continues from this part. The eyes are close. The far, I think, is a bit small. So here I'll just increase the size. I find that putting some solid irises in really helps give the character life. Here's a bit of continuous rhythm with the eyebrows. Watch the sea. This rhythm line here continuous rhythm connecting the eyebrows is a good idea. Um, the beak, from this perspective, like a 3/4 perspective, is gonna be a bit of ah, challenge of Have to figure out exactly how to draw that. So bear with me while I try a few different iterations again. I'm working on just one layer here, um, which I often do with my rough drawings. I don't want to get bogged down in technology, although if you're more comfortable with more layers like, maybe you want your gesture on a layer and then like you know, this stage of later in the drawing. You want to build your volumes on another layer. That's totally fine. Whatever workflow you choose, I'm obviously not showing you my layers here cause I'm just using one. I will be. I will be sure to show you my layers in chapter three when we're doing more painting. When I do keep things more on layers for the most part anyway. Yes. So I'm arriving at a beak shape there. That looks about right for this angle, I might tweak that when I go to paint. Of course, all of this stuff is subject to further tweaking in the paint stage. And you know who knows what a client will say to you? Submit this to a client. They might like the post, but they might, you know, say adjust the size of his boots or whatever it is. Clients can be all kinds of picky. It really depends on who you're working for. So here I'm going back to the head and just trying to emphasize the circular nature of it. His head is so circular to the point where too much deviation will really look obvious. So I want to make sure I have maintained that you noticed my circle shape for the head is a bit flatter at the bottom, which I like here. I'm just figuring out exactly how the hat goes. Some detail up top there is the hat kind of compresses in on itself. This is similar to that accordion effect I was showing you before in the form section. Here is just a bit of cash shadow on the ground to root him to the ground and just tweaking the folds on the bandanna and tweaking now the final contours of the hat. The drawing at this point is at the stage where its client ready. I find that clients you should really give them a finished or something near finished in the shape department. You don't want to give them too much of a rough drawing because they won't appreciate the steps that are still to come. And I'm just realizing here that I haven't drawn his deputy badge. This is something I would probably just handle in paints. I could just block it in here figuring out roughly where that star goes. But I'm not too worried about it. You notice I just blocked it in with a ellipse first, something that encapsulates the entire star, just deepening the lines on the eyes, which helps give them a bit of life. I find you know, those eyes air still just a little bit high. Let's grab them with the lasso tool. Drop them down a little bit. The bottoms of the eyes, air like in line with the top of the beak. It was have to clean this up a little bit. The beak might even overlap that I, in this 3/4 perspective, just reinforced my cross contours there and continue with some general clean up and a couple of little highlights to finish it off. And there we have our finished rough drawing. It has the emotion that character design, the pose, the form, the shape and it's clean enough to be client ready. Okay, so let's add Callie to the drawing. There she is on the left proportionately. She's very similar to Peck, and it's really through her color palette that she differentiates herself. I find that in young Children's programming like this, proportions do often tend to be similar from character to character, which can help them feel like they all live in the same world. So anyway, on a new layer, let's gesture out something here. Cali is asking, Why isn't the sheriff protecting this town? And this is after she just saved the day. So she's got some confidence here, but she's still inquisitive, so you don't want her to be like Inpex. Face her anything. But you do want her to have an air of confidence. And we have a lot of room for that because Peck is lacking confidence, which you spent great effort on communicating in his drawing. So there's a lot of emotional space you might say for Callie to take on the confidence role here, so I'm gonna tilt her head as well. I noticed that head tilts are something that happens so often in real life. Like, you know, people tilt their head a lot when they speak, and adding that to your cartooning can really bring a sense of life and believability to your work. Which publishers Likas Well, because Children's books, after all, model behavior for Children. So the more natural you could be in that department, the better. So I think I'll have Kallis arms Ah, Kimbo here on her hip. Let's get a bit of continuous rhythm here to find the other arm, which is maybe gesturing toward Peck like, Hey, what's going on here? Figure out this basic seeker of gesture, which I can trace down for the back like maybe the front leg is out. Kind of like this. You notice. I'm kind of dealing with shape and gesture and form, kind of all jumbled at once. This is what I actually do. When I draw, I combine them. Now I'm on a layer here so I could make her a bit larger. I'm noticing her. I want their feet two to line up and their heads to roughly be in the same spot as well, because proportionately they are very similar. We just switched to a different color here. Figure out the cross contour for her hips and this rhythm for her shoulders, and I could just go one foot there. The other foot back there, she bit small. Now let's go a little larger. Let's work on the eyes. I find that once you get the eyes working, the rest of the drawing comes together so much more quickly, so she has to be looking at him, which she's currently not. This is not the right position for the eyes, so let's just erase them out. That's fixed the tilt of her head. This is why haven't drawn any detail yet. I still want to be able to rotate my volumes here and figure this stuff out across contour down her head. Now her snow comes out. So across contour the snow. This is a way to block it in without actually drawing anything. It's gonna ballpark where that snow comes out, which I can see over here, by the way, is like, I don't know, 2/3 down the head. So make sure that mine is also roughly 2/3 down the head. Sometimes even putting in the nose helps you ballpark the dimension of a snout. Now her mouth is down here. I'll have her smiling because she's you know she's friendly. She's just asking a question and see if I can get her eyes correctly in place. Now her head needs to be a bit wider here. Well, just the curve of it There now, across contour around the head to find where the ears protrude, which is roughly like this. This year. Make sure it's in perspective, so you can kind of see the side part of it more front on there. This year's more flat to camera. Her head is more oval shapes. I'm getting having fun with that oval, and then her hat frames her head. Something like this probably comes around to the back there, and from this angle, I don't think you see the top of her sombrero, just the underside of the brim. Okay, gesturing down the body to reinforce my pose. Let's get the bandanna in the middle of the bandanna. Should touch the center line here, wraps around the shoulder. I confined that shoulder right there now, and let's go to the other side of the body to figure out where this volume ends. Then I use the cross contour and thinking about the cylinder to find the curvature of the belt. You roughly like that. This leg is going to go into to continuous rhythm with the upper torso. Here, thes hips are gonna be thrust out. Let's find the underside of her belly here. I think I should rotate her entire body toward Peck and play with the distance between them . Here I'm thinking the gesture of her body needs to be kind of more like this s curve sort of thing. She's trusting her body forward with confidence, but not that much. But again, against Peck, it's just enough to read, I think, as a good, confident pose. She has her vest, which wrapped around the torso, thinking about cross contouring. Here. I'm literally drawing the vests has across contour and again. Sometimes it helps just ballpark in local value. You know, the vest is a darker local value, so let's just throw that in there. Same with the belt. Throw that Lupin there, too. Now let's get Thea the boot in there the same way we did with Peck, these air tiny little toes that she has in this leg coming up the back, of course, thinking about the cylinder and thinking about a bit of a perspective line. Here. You can see that these two characters the feet are not quite on the same plane. They're drawn in perspective, so I'm thinking about a cohesive depth, que almost as if there's a vanishing point right there and the feet are acting accordingly . Right? See if we can figure out the arms. Her arm starts thin and then gets thicker. So I'm thinking about the cylinders there getting thicker at the bottom this time, and her hand will be just resting on her thigh. But it's a nice straight line there is it to show the weight of the hand pressing into her thigh. And then her fingers were kind of just nondescript, almost lumps that kind of just go like that continuous rhythm to find the other shoulder. And let's see if we can come up with a pose for this arm again. It gets thicker toward the wrist. I'll try and block in some fingers here as she's gesturing toward him like a you know, kind of catching them in mid mid sentence. I find it helps to unite fingers with a curve like this. It's a very realistic thing that happens in real life. Now Kelly has a tail. If I use my X ray vision, the tail would probably come out about their. So I'll just gesture out this just a rough, little happy, upward pointed tail there. Okay, it's time to figure out the rest of the head and just get everything in there to achieve some client ready sort of level with it. It's, um she has some eyelashes, which are a big part of her designs. Let's get those in. Get that characteristic kind of flattened oval shape that she has like this. Make sure, just make sure it looks like she's looking at Peck. And that's really important and actually looking at Peck right here. He doesn't appear to be looking at Cali. He's kind of looking past her. This is obviously because I didn't have Callie there when I drew him, so I have to fix that, too. But for now, let's get these eyes working, and the mouth is already looking pretty good. This little line here just shows the weight of the cheek being pushed up. Now the neighboring one on the other side is hidden by the three dimensionality of the snow . Three years, and to be a touch bigger, I think, was throw in some value here toe show that does help by the way to flip your canvas and see your drawings from the other side. It's really becoming obvious that pecks eyes are in the wrong spot, not his eyes, but the where they're looking he's not looking in the right area. I will fix that after this and Kelly is spotted, so let's get some of that pattern in. It's a big part of the character through the underside of the brim of her hat in shadow. Anything that points under always nice to throw it in shadow in her tail has a few spots on it as well. We'll get a cash shadow in there just to match the one under Peck. This will also help them look like they're existing on the same ground plane now going back to Peck. Let's see if we can fix where his eyes are looking. Needs to be more like this, his eyes turning more elliptical as they progress into 3/4 perspective. And he's looking slightly up it. Callie, this is where I might do something like this will make a lasso of his entire head and just tilt the whole thing like that. I think that actually really, really helps the pose hit. Enter Aereo. I'm just noticing. They're a bit close talking here, so let's just grab Cali and move her a bit back. There we go. That's more of a healthy, conversational distance. Somewhere along the line, I emerged my layers accidentally. That's why I had to select Cali. And she has. A sheriff's badge is, Well, it's on this side. I'll just block it in again within the lips and just sort of hint at where the points are again. That's something I would deal with in paint. Okay, so we're looking good here. But I just want to do one more little past on random things like here. I think I could get a little bit more of an expressive pose out of his foot, like maybe he's He's shy, right? So maybe he's like playing with his heel a little bit like lifting his foot up and down. Oh, are like kicking a pebble or something. That's probably gonna help his character. Just you give it a bit more of a unique spin, just adjusting his jacket. There, Here, on Callie, I'm just tweaking exactly how her fingers go, changing the direction of her index finger. You know, things that are I would consider detail here, just tweaking the shape of her head, adding some shape and thickness and darkness in her eyes and some highlights as well. And Sometimes I'll just go over forms like with cross contours like you see me doing there and just, you know, going over continuous rhythms and just making sure that the drawing is sound. Sometimes it's almost like I'm not even doing anything, but I'm just going over things here. Some belt loops. I forgot to put those in. So just a couple hints of the belt loops. You know, sometimes you just going over your drawing like exploring it almost just by moving your pencil over it or your stylist in this case and just seeing if there's anything that feels off, because drawing is such a tactile thing, right? If you're thinking about continuous rhythms, you should be able to slide your pencil from one thing to the next. And that's how you contest. If you're continuous. Rhythm is feeling right, is actually by feeling it out. I feel like I could get something better with Kallis right foot there. You know that maybe the toe was pointed more at the viewer before they were kind of pointed in the same direction, which felt a little stiff to me. Here it's like she's interacting with perspective more so there's a little tweak there. These are the things that really only become apparent to me anyway at the end of the drawing, when I can see you know, the finished impact of it, also the finished structure. And then when I can build on that, I could easily just tweak all these little things. Like, I think, you know, the feet changes I did both on Peck and Cali, or good examples of little changes that don't affect the structure of the drawing. They don't really affect the design of the drawing, but they do affect the character that's being portrayed here and also maybe some structural things. Like in Callie's case, there was a perspective shift there, yet another pass at Pecs. I I really made those two big. I just didn't notice it. I was looking back at Pecs Design, and the triangle between the eyes and the beak was really much more dramatic than what I had in there. What I'm doing here is adjusting the smile in Callie's eyes. When you smile, your flesh pushes up, and it causes a little bit of an upturned bump, like a con que a convex curve on your eyes I just added that to Callie, So she's smiling a bit more in the eyes. And, yeah, this is something I would be comfortable in sending to an art director. 9. Chapter 2 - Real Assignments ii: All right, let's do some more drawings. Here's Norbert's Big Dream Again, which is a book I illustrated for Sleeping Bear Press and Sleeping Bear Press did not come to me with any existing art property. Norbert was just a manuscript. This is quite typical. Publishers get a manuscript and then pair it with an illustrator and the illustrators responsible for all the visuals, character design, lighting environments, color palettes, etcetera. So Norbert's dream is to swim across the English Channel, which in the book is actually a pond in the farm that he lives in. And the whole intro to the book is built around Norbert, building up to his dream from eating healthy to training. Anyway, there's a page that's entirely dedicated to this passage, and when he was big enough, he started training Finally, said Norbert. So my first thought here was the cliche pose like Norbert flexing his biceps. But as is so often the case with me and with a lot of creative types, your first thought is the most obvious cliche, and I am loath to go in that direction. So I expelled that thought for my system and tried to dive a little deeper into it, you know, be a little more creative. So I started thinking that Norbert's mission here kind of parallels a mission that a lot of kids go on and that is to be big. They want to be a big kid, and I live in this house where the previous owners had this wall and so many of us have done this. They had a wall where they would mark their heights at different ages. You know, here's Jeffrey at age one. Put a pencil mark Jeffery at age three. Another pencil mark. That's a little higher, right? So I have a wall in my basement where the previous owners have done this over like 10 years . Honestly, it's so cute. I don't have the heart to paint over it. So that's what I thought of when I read this. Norbert would be measuring himself, and when he considers himself big enough, he's ready to, you know, start training for swimming the English Channel. So when I roughed up this page, the first thing I did was I just drew This little scale here was, you know, some notches on it. And then I started working on Norbert himself. No, Norbert is a pig. And finally I had the design rights here. I could do whatever I wanted with the design, So I wanted to do this thing where in pushing the body forward, which is something I always not always do. But often I'll try and find a secret for an s curve for the body, especially in Children's books, where the pages are usually active, like in a traditional Children's book. You have 32 pages. It's a shame toe waste any of those pages with, like a boring, static pose, of course, unless a boring, static pose is what the story calls for. But most of the time there's something active you can do with these pages. So I really wanted this highly active pose. Norbert is a character based on curves, so his head is gonna have this C curve here that leads to his snout. His head wraps around here. I'm gonna twist the head. Maybe this way, here's the center line cross country in the center line of this head here. So we're going to see one of his eyes here. His eyes, by the way, are button eyes. They're just dark circles with the little highlights on them anyway, so blocked that in the other I would be somewhere over here. Now, remember, when you're drawing that other I in perspective, it becomes in ellipse, right? So it's something in the order of this. I've already got a form going for the head, which is more than I can say for the body. The body doesn't really have a form yet. It has a gesture. So let's continue down here. His feet are gonna be somewhere over here. He's got a he's a pig, She's got a thick backside and his arms are gonna be like he's kind of pushing himself up against this wall where he's measuring himself against. So he's like doing this in his arms are gonna be just pushing out, and these other arm's gonna be Maybe over here. I'm thinking about cylinders when I draw these arms right now. So let's see. I think the seeker for the chest should actually arc more up top and park down inward at the bottom. This will mean he's thrusting his chest out rather than his belly. You know, the nature, the exact nature of these secrets and s curves really matter in this case. Like I said, it's either your going with belly first or chest first. And I wanted that confidence, that exuberance, which usually makes us lead with our chest. It's a very common kind of posture that says confidence. If you've ever watched like pro wrestling or something, you know W W E stuff. They play on these archetypes all the time. Okay, so let's work on his big smile Here he is super excited that he's finally measured up to the heights that, uh, he determines to be worthy to swimming with channel. I suppose this is his ear. His ear just comes off his head. This is like the Aladdin magic carpet. His ear is going to fold up as if he were. You know, if he's thrusting his body forward, that here is gonna be swung with momentum. Right? So thinking about the Aladdin magic carpet to draw the underside of that year, folding upward in on itself, this is the snout Now the snow it has the little nostril thing is somewhere in here there's like the eyes. One of them is an ellipse. The one in perspective here and this one is more of Ah, it's also in the lips, but it's more of, Ah, long gated the lips because it's closer to camera. The snout is like a cylinder like this, right with the nostrils. But instead of just a boring cylinder, I wanted to taper it. So it's like there's a still under here and another cylinder here, like it's like they're overlapping. So what I wanted to do was have that cylinder overlap this other one. So it's like there's a bit of a double sort of form to it, two cylinders making up the snout, so I don't think that's the right perspective on it. I think it needs to overlap that and be pointed up more. And I'm running into some problems with the negative space here because if I did this, like if I had his arm here bright and his nose there, there's just not a whole lot of room. You see where my mouse is here? There's not a whole lot of room there, and that's gonna compromise this silhouette. I could I could do two things here. I could. If I race the arm, I could have the arm coming out from behind the nostril, but that looks like it's disconnected. So let's not do that. I could have it coming out up here, but I don't like that either. I want the head to occupy it's own silhouette space, that is, I don't want anything to interfere with the readability of this. Still a lot of the head, the shape of the head. So I want the arm to come out down here and have a healthy bit of negative space right in here on. I want to design that negative space to be, you know, equally as appealing as the positive shapes. Now I have the arms at equal horizontal depths. Let's say like they, they line up and I I don't want that either. Eso all erased this arm and let's just play with angling it down this way and taper that cylinder so it's wider at the end. Of course, this arm is facing toward camera, so we're going to see the bottom end of that cylinder. Same with this cylinder. It's kind of like this that that's starting to look a little bit more dynamic and you see how just offsetting these things really helps with the life of the post. It feels like this character is, you know, has achieved this posed by being in motion, and it's not like a cardboard cut out. This is what the gesture really helps with. And then, you know, building solid forms on that gesture is what brings you the rest of the way. His body could be overlapping, like squishing here. The other principle that I learned from animation that is very common is called squash and stretch. You know, in the form section, I talked about building forms like this and then having it overlap. Well, one thing you could think about is having one side stretch on the other side. Squash and the squash E side gets that accordion style overlap there. This is actually a like sacred principle of animation, squash and stretch, and it's something you can use in your Children's book illustration for that extra sense of life. This stuff also happens in real life, you know, like if if you thrust your chest forward, which I'm doing right now, you can't see me. But my back is compressing. My back is squishing and my chest is stretching. All right, there's something about the head. That is still kind of bugging me. I like this structure, but I don't like the proportion. So another tool I like to use is the liquefy tool in photo shop, which is a tricky little tool. It won't fix bad structure, but it will work wonders on little things like I'm doing now. Like I want the I to be a little bit over here wide in the head a little bit. If my three dimensionality was not there, I could not add it with this tool. To me, this reminds me of sculpting. Sculpting is an exercise I also do. I don't do it professionally, but I like to sculpt with Clay. And this is the kind of thing you can do with Clay. Just, you know, pick a section and move it around and kind of warped form. Let's see if I could move this smile a little bit more like that obviously will have to go in and redraw some of this stuff. This is kind of like a rough in for my my changes. I'm just trying to get the nose to feel more compressed in toward the head. I think something like that is a little bit better than what I had. Will increase the brush size and bring down this shoulder a bit. Okay, I'll hit. Okay, we have our drawing now. There's areas that are a bit rough now. My cross contours kind of went away, So I want to redraw those just to make sure that my form is clear. Let's get this. This is Ah, his eyebrow is a good way to wrap around this thing because this plane turns under. Let's throw this with just a quick shadow there. And now that I've done that to his mouth, that kind of makes me think like his mouth should be open like he's really happy here and maybe has some teeth there. It was dark inside his mouth. Let's go ahead and tweak how this smile goes here. I like this rhythm that I've now finding now, with the the mouth going sliding right up into the muzzle here to be a nostril here nostril . Here, there's across contour in the middle. Let's just throw this with a different local value deep in the tone there for the nostrils . Now I'm thinking this arm is encroaching on the mouth too much. So get rid of it will redraw it again. This is the next thing about staying rough, right? I can always go back and just blast something out of their redraw it. Now that the mouth is open puts extend that job back. Kind of like the jaws pressed up against the shoulder. Now something like this. So the arm is like coming out from behind the jaw and then out and we need a row of teeth at the bottom. The teeth wrap around the cylinder of the mouth. So that's what I'm getting at here with his teeth. Okay? His legs are gonna be down here. They're like big cylinders as well, but curved cylinders. So here's across Contour. The hoof, the dark part of the the pig's hoof is gonna be offset Cylinder as well, meaning it's not perfectly symmetrical. There's his bum going behind. And of course he has a little piggy tail, which is gonna be curved and his other foot. He's leaning against the wall so his both his feet can be like coming out like this. It's the wall that's going to be just get rid of these eyes here, It's the wall. It's gonna be supporting him. So here's like the wooden wall that he's leaning up against. Perhaps it would have helped if I drew that in earlier, but I had it in my head that it was a wall that he's leaning up against. And these air, you know, wooden boards that are comprising this wall here. And then, of course, on this wall is where the scale is drawn. It could go behind his ear there, and then we have a few notches, which this is right. I've resolved that in pain to begin a 1234 or something like that. Okay, let's go back in there and find the final statement for the eyes. Notice. I'm kind of offsetting the circle again. It's not like a perfectly round circle. It's offset in a few different axes. Highlights will bring a pop of life to those button eyes. And just because I'm thinking about three D forms, I'll take this, drawing it one step further than I did with the Sheriff Callie stuff, and that is adequate light source. I will think of my light source coming in from the top, right, so it's coming down this way. So basically I'm just thinking of planes that face the opposite directions. I've already got this in shadow, this underside of his brow. There the snout is already in shadow. But I can just deep in that a little bit the ear would cast a shadow on to the head like this. I'm just using this soft marker brushed. By the way to do this, the head would cast a shadow on to the body like thistle. And this entire lower part of the job would probably be in shadow as well. Deep in the inside of the mouth, that should be very dark. This entire arm would probably be in shadow from the body, and then the roundness of Norbert's form would be causing what's called a form shadow. You know, as the form turns around, it exits from the light right about here. This is called the Terminator. So I will, you know, terminate the light there and start introducing shadow there. This foot would be entirely in shadow. This part of the leg would be also in shadow where it leaves the light. And let's not forget the cash shadow which helps ground the character. It's amazing how much believability Akash Shadow just brings to the scene is gonna dark in the hopes area a little bit more. Okay, now I can go in with a little bit more of a confident line. Just pull out some of the forms here. Maybe Norbert's elbow has a little curly Q there, which I did in the book just to mirror his tail. The year can have a bit more of a curly Q. And yeah, this part could just be fun with design. I feel like the form is there the gestures there. I spent a long time getting those things in, and now the final shapes can really start taking effect. So, like for the arm here, I'll make sure that I'm Instead of drawing like a cylinder end like that, I'm tapering it into like a triangle, right? Can you see how I'm doing that? I'm switching up my shape language here. I'm urging cylinder with triangle of this case. This bottom area would be in shadow, and this shadow would actually be lowered. Be like more like this, like we're coming in. I think that should be a bit lower underside of the arm would be in shadow as well. It's the underside of the bum here and just a separate Norbert from the wall. Just throw the entire wall in a select lee darker local value. This will just graphically pop Norbert forward. This is not painting like I don't consider this the painting stage. It's just presenting my rough drawing to a client. My personal rule is that you should eliminate as much doubt from the client's mind as possible. So if you submitted a sketch that let's say like this, the client wouldn't know that this line needs to be erased and this line needs to be erased and this line would be cleaner. I wouldn't rely on the clients to know any of that. So I like to bring my drawings to the point where they're still rough, as in, they're clearly unfinished, but they're finished enough to communicate all of the essentials. I'm leaving nothing to imagination when it comes to like the form and shape of this character. But enough to imagination were like I could paint this in any style. I haven't committed to a stylistic choice in the rendering yet, so there's still creative freedom to be discussed with the art director. But in terms of getting that pose and that sense of character across, I find that's more my job than the clients job. I need to be the one to confidently put a foot forward in that in that department, and then the client can. Or the art director. Whoever you're working for can then feel free to weigh in with their opinions and wishes on how to progress and stuff like that. All right, so that'll wrap up that drawing, let's try another one. So in this next drawing, I want to show you how I tackled Norbert walking on all fours. After all, he is a pig. It's really the same thing. Lots of continuous rhythms and gesture here. I'm just working out the shape and cross contours of the head. There's the eye line again, giving him a tilted head again. That's his body, of course, and you notice I'm like waiting it to be high at the back and low at the front. That's a choice that I made just for that variety. I could have illustrated him just straight horizontal like like a normal pig But I thought , you know, that's just not There's something I could bring to the character. And as so often is the case, it's the way you manipulate these shapes. Here in purple. I'm showing you the continuous rhythms. I'm thinking about the 1st 1 there was for the ears, like one year connect to the other. This is the spine kind of running down the back but also wrapping right around the contour of the head, and that rhythm wraps all the way down to his back leg. You see that like this exaggerated C curve, so his ears are making a continuous rhythm of C curves, and his head, body and leg are all connected with the continuous rhythm. Here's his eyes again, his eyes, a little button eyes. So just draw those in but Nuys ca NBI cute on animals. They look a little strange on human characters, although I have done it on human characters to but but neither just so easy to draw in front of draw, and I find they can still be expressive here with the smile. I'm gonna bunch up his cheek now that something will actually talk a little bit more about in a later section of this chapter about facial expressions. So stay tuned for that. Here's the ear, The Aladdin carpet thing. Wrapping the year around a little bit, just like I did in the last drawing Thief are year wraps kind of the opposite way here now , with more of a regular line drawing brush. Before this, I was using a softer marker to rough things in. This is more of my definitive line drawing brush. I'm going in there just finding some limbs that would be a back leg far away from us, kind of thrusting out, you know, as if he's propelling himself forward in a walk cycle, just dealing with his little curly tail, which is kind of also a continuous rhythm off the spine of the body. There, whenever possible, I like toe link things with continuous rhythm. This is his belly notice. I'm using straits at the bottom and curves at the top, so his whole body is kind of like this bean shape, but it's not made of the same curves on either side. It's against trade, the bottom curve to the top and kind of this wide curve for the rear area. This keeps the variety alive, which adds to the life, but also that straight at the bottom. Kind of denotes this sense of weight, like there's weight falling on the belly and the legs are holding up the belly, so it's kind of compressing it into the straight line. That's kind of my logic, sort of my dual logic for using a straight at the bottom. You know, you don't have to draw a pig with a straight at the bottom. Of course, that's the whole thing about shaped like to me. Shape is really where one artist will differ from the next, because with a gesture, you know, shoulders our shoulders because they can only move so much and legs only move so much so a gesture, maybe similar from artists artists. But it's how you connect your gestures and forms with your shapes that will determine who you are as an artist, really, And as you'll see when we get into the painting chapter of this lesson, shapes really matter there as well, although in painting it's more shapes of light and shadow and stuff like that here I'm not really dealing with light and shadow. Other than my crude value block ins. But here I'm just dealing with overall silhouette to the character and how the forms go and stuff like that. This is the really important stuff. Paintings important, too. But this is if you don't have this foundation, you can't paint anything because you're painting Just won't look good without this kind of thing in place. I'm just giving a little bit of value there to the back legs switched back to my soft marker brush for that, actually, not just the back legs. Just the legs in general, be just because they're underneath the body on and here's the underside of the body, getting a bit of shadow to me like anything that is underneath something or pointing under . I'll just throw in with the quick value. I'm not trying to paint, form or render form here. I'm just thinking about basic directions. Things pointed up like the top of the body will be in light and things pointing under like the belly and the legs being underneath the body. You know, they just get a bit of shadow, kind of like this basic top lighting scenario, which is, you know, you can think the same way in paint as well. I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but you can think the same way when you're painting. I'm just thinking of the most basic basic delineations of light and shadow and putting that in. I find it really helps when you're proposing a drawing to a client, or even if you're just roughing something out for yourself. If you're working on your own Children's book like you're the writer and illustrator, applying these basic observations to your drawings will just help elaborate on good habits . And that's something that will help you as an artist no matter what you're doing. Anyway, Norbert has a few patches on him, which I didn't put in the previous trying. I forgot to put those in. Anybody's got some patches on his backside. Throw those in and you know those patches or another opportunity to not be repetitive with shapes, to look at the difference in negative shape and all that stuff. Here's just a little bit of a shadow underneath the ear, and the last thing I'll do is just erase that line because this leg should come forward. You know, it's the one in front of the body and all right, let's move on to a different subject 10. Chapter 2 - Real Assignments iii: all right, I want to do some or drawing here. This time, I'll do the character that we just saw in the title screen a second ago. This is a character of my own creation, someone I'm coming up with for a potential Children's book of my own in the future So nobody steal it. I'm just kidding. But yeah, I know this is, ah, character. I've been drawing on my own for a while, and when I was developing her, I would just draw like this. This is how I would explore the form. She's lean and tall in contrast to the characters we've been looking at, where their heads are pretty big. This character's hadas, well, still big. I mean, she's a child, after all, in a cartoony child at that, But her body is roughly 3.5 head lengths high, which is only a little bit exaggerated. She might be about six years old, and a six year old's body is about six head lengths high. A toddler's body can be about forehead lengths high, so you know I'm caricaturing her toward a younger proportion. But that's what cartoons do. They exaggerate. I'm also gonna tackle, aim or straight up and down pose, meaning she's not in any extreme kind of action here. It's almost as though she were like drawing at her easel, and her parents came in the room and said, Hey, honey, and she's looking around at them, and what I want to show you is how there is still action to be found even in these static poses. One of the number one things I get when I teach students illustration like this, like cartooning and stuff is poses tend to look really, really stiff, almost as though we're made of cardboard and the slightest gust of wind would topple over that cardboard. That's the feeling I get I get when I look at a very stiff drawing and the very flat drawing so you can see I'm building up forms of the head and forms the body here. I'm cross contouring the upper torso. I'm trying to get a twist like the shoulders air twisted toward camera a little bit, and then the hips are more square to camera, like the hips or more in profile, I should say, while the shoulders are a little bit twisted toward camera and sometimes, you know, if I'm having trouble with a pose, one of the best solutions is to put your stylist down and just get up and act out the pose yourself. You know, if you get up and pretend like you're drawing at an easel all quietly and then someone storms in the room to get your attention and you, like, really turn your head to see them, you'll notice that your shoulders turn a little bit with it. It's not all in the neck. It's your I'm doing it right now again. You can't see me. I can't help but move around when I draw, because the way your physicality, the way you feel your own physicality when you move, should appeal to your sense of gesture. That's why we do gesture Drawings is not to draw realistic drawings. It's to figure out how you feel. You're drawing on paper as it relates to riel physicality. So, like oftentimes when I'm drawing, if I'm drawing like someone with really hunched shoulders, as I'm gesturing up those hunt shoulders, I want to actually feel that sensation rippled through my own body. It's a weird, metaphysical description, I know, but I firmly believe that what you will gain with experience is you will actually be able to connect your pencil to your own physicality. And that's something that I really think you can benefit from by studying animation drawings. Because animators are actors, they are actors with a pencil, and they have to draw like maybe 24 frames to make one second of motion. They need to really be able to feel every little facet of how the body moves. So drawing like this is all from all. But it's mostly from studying animation. It's also from studying from the live model. You know, when you study from the live model and they do oppose, you can probably feel that pose. At least in my experience. You can feel that pose mawr. So then, if it were from a photograph, because when someone's right in front of you doing oppose, it's almost like there's a physical awareness being shared between the two of you. Like if someone is really straining to reach something and they're doing it live in front of you. The sensation their feeling is probably more likely to sink in with you because you'll also be experiencing all the other subtle nuances of life, like maybe they're twitching a bit as they struggle, you know, maybe their balance is shifting ever so slightly. These are all things that are just not present in a photo, which by definition, is lifeless. Of course, I don't mean to say here that photos can't be good reference. I was drawing from photos in the gesture section. But if you're listening to this and you've never been life drawing that is in a classroom with a nude model or even a clothed model doesn't matter. That is my number one recommendation for you to improve your drawing skills, get out to a life drawing class and then apply all the stuff I've been talking about these gestures, forms and shapes just to the live model. All right, so speaking of shapes, I just want to make a few comments about the shapes going on here. Notice her arms are tapered. They start skinny and get wider toward the wrist. It's the same motif in the legs. They start thinner at the waist and get wider toward the ankles. That is a you can call it a thematic shape. I guess that I'm using here tapering shapes. I'm also using kind of contrast. E shapes for the head is very horizontal. It's like a football shape, and the body is more of, ah, beanpole shape. So to opposing kind of things. It's like the head is like a swivel on a stick that will really help her silhouette be identifiable. Her hair is extensions on the football shape, and I'm just trying to make sure that none of those little strands of hair are repetitive as best I can while still having a flow like they still flow out of the scalp and downward with gravity. But I want to make sure that the shapes that each individual lock makes is kind of different, and it plays with positive and negative shape in unique ways. So you can see that's what I'm building up here as a final touch on this concept sketch. I just want to throw in some rudimentary light and shadow just very quick. I've got a brush set to multiply mode which will darken areas again. I'm just working on one layer, by the way, which I so often dio, so I deep in some areas of shadow I'm deepening the local value of the hair just she's got . She's a brunette, so it's making a bit darker. Now. I'm gonna go straight into the eyes and get the eyes to be a bit lighter. Where the whites of the eyes are some highlights there you notice the white to the eyes are not pure white that will make it look like two flashlights, but just a little bit lighter, just to show that it is a bit of a different material. There the pants have some polka dots on them. Get that in just a little bit more shading. Here's a cash shadow. I'm always sure to include a little cash shadow. It just really helps show that this character is standing on the ground, you know, no matter what its surface were on, no matter what lighting, there's always gonna be a bit of darkening beneath our feet. So it's a very realistic touch that you can apply really quickly, and you can see that just by using these fundamentals, we've arrived at a comprehensive character design pretty quickly. All right, let's try another one. I'm taking this idea from a page in my theoretical book where she's leaning over to engage her little monster friends. So just imagine that there's a monster of a tiny little monster on the ground, and she's looking at him, leaning over and talking to him. So I'm getting the gesture and there's a nice S curve there for the body. The arms will be carrying the weight of her leaning. So she's leaning forward, right, her arms gonna be resting against her, her legs. So I'll use more straits on the arms to give that sense of weight. The first thing I want to do, though, is get the volume of the head in place. I'm not only rotating the head downward, I'm also tilting the head laterally, so it's a very odd angle to draw ahead at. And this is where I really need to put most of my focus at the beginning to make sure that I'm on the right track. I do like to tackle the hardest part of a drawing first. Now that'll vary from artists, artists, but I think many of us would have problems with this particular angle of the head, so I want to get that first and then the body, comparatively is easier, so I'll save that for later. If you save the hard parts of a drawing to the end, chances are you're not going to set yourself up to solve them. I'd rather solve the hard part, setting myself up for the easier parts. Not that I have to completely finish the head. I mean, obviously the head is still roughed in, but you know, dimensionally, it looks good. I think it looks right now I'm gonna try and get the the shirt and the pants, figuring out how the cylinders work. For that, you can see that the shirt is basically a tapered cylinder and the pants, or I talked about this in the previous drawing. Their everything sort of tapered in this design, going from thinner to thicker. And I'll try and emphasize that as I draw these pants. Currently, they're a bit too symmetrical, but there we go. Here's a bit more of a thickening happening, a widening happening. You're the bottom. You're seeing these drawings in real time. Although I am speaking over top of a recording just cause I feel like sometimes when I draw live and you know also provide live commentary while I'm drawing. I do a lot of starts and stops and ums and ahhs, and I just wanted to switch that up a little bit. After all, drawing is a huge problem solving tasks. Like, right now I'm trying to solve these feet. I want perspective in those feet, so I'm not gonna have them parallel. You know, the foot closest to us is pointed a little bit more toward camera. The foot in the back is pointed a little bit more obliquely to camera here. I'm just rotating the entire pose. It looks like she was at a odd angle there. Feet will do that in real life. You know, feet are even when they're parallel. Depending on where your camera angle is, they will appear in two different perspectives, right? Because that's how a perspective grid works. It's always changing the orientation based on in this case where the foot is making contact with the ground. Anyway, while I was just talking there, you just saw me use the lasso tool to make selections of like, her head and her torso and just move things around a little bit. This is the benefit of working digitally. I've actually seen people do it traditionally with scissors. They'll literally cut up their drawing, moving around and then use tape to paste it back on another sheet of paper. My my original drawing teacher used to do that. His his finished drawings were just a mash up of tape and pencil lines. It was there. They were, like living things. By the end, it was great. But hey, in digital, you know, we have the tools. Why not use them? Take advantage of the tools that we have. It's not cheating unless you don't have your structure. And if you don't your structure and your trying to use tools toe like solve that, then I would question, you know, your game plan. But if you have a solid structure in there, feel free to use whatever digital tools are at your disposal to move things around. Okay, back to the drawing here. I'm just dealing with this arm. The her sleeve is a cylinder and her arm comes out. One side of the cylinder, you know, doesn't come out the straight middle. Her arm is pressed up against the front. I'm thinking of her just having leaned into this pose so you know the inertia will have pushed your sleeve back a little bit, and you notice the arms, air, tapered shapes, but they're also using straight lines. The taper helps the arms not be so parallel while still preserving the structure that comes with two parallel lines. That solid structure. There's nothing, really. There's nothing more solid than two parallel lines. You just don't want the boredom that comes with that shape. Not always, anyway. I mean, sometimes you do. Sometimes you actually want to parallel lines. It's just in my experience. That's the exception, all right, so here I'm just struggling to figure out how, exactly that hand is resting on the leg. I'm dealing with things like, Are the two hands resting on two separate legs or are they crossing each other to rest on one leg? This is where I'll get up and do oppose myself and just see what feels more natural. I think she's having. She's resting both hands on one leg, and it's the leg closest to us, and you know, that's a detail at this point. It's not something I would worry about so much in my gesture, although you could, but usually I find it best to save that fine tuning till later. It's like when I did that Peck drawing in the last section where I changed him at the end to be kicking his feet out a little bit or his one foot. It's, Ah, little detail of the pose that you confined later, at this point, just kind of going over my shapes. Whenever I don't know what to Dio, I just audit to the shapes that air there by going over them or or another great one is going over your cross contours. You just saw me go over the back of her head. I found her cranium underneath her hair. You can see my gestural sort of not gestural. You could see that my form underneath her hair figuring out where her skull is like her cranium. That's the kind of thing I'll do when I don't know what else to Dio. I'll kind of figure out or make sure that what is there is sound, and then that gives me confidence to move on. So here I'm finding the exact shape of that mouth, including the teeth getting, you know, some dark in there just to set off that mouth, usually with my values. By the way, I work pretty neutral, like in the like. I don't draw with a thick black line. I build to work darkness as I go. And that's true with values as well. Even though I'm not really worried about values in these drawings, these air, the values that air, they're just basic block ins. I do think about keeping always leaving room to go darker or lighter as well. Like I'm not really dealing with highlights in this drawing a little bit in the eyes, maybe, but I like to work on a slightly neutral gray. It's like a light gray. You see, my background is not white, right? It's this slightly beige color. And then I could just go lighter from that. If I want Teoh and that can, you know, help pop the formas well, at this point, the drawing is basically done. I just want to sweeten it up with maybe a few values. One place I always look for is underneath the brow because usually the lights coming from above, so underneath the brow is a plane that faces down on most head well, all heads really? Because our skull and even animals calls. They have eye sockets, right? So underneath the brow usually will is a good candidate for getting some shadow. Um, just here, figuring out the shape of the hair. The final shape that will end up with little swirls and curly cues at the ends of the hair is a nice way to just, you know, set off that shape at the end. Little cherry on top. And the last thing I want to tweak is something that has escaped my notice this whole time . See her eyebrow right there? You notice how it flows right into the lock of hair that's called a tangent. When two unrelated things become related in two dimensional space by touching each other, that's no good. It kind of looks like she has this weird, elongated eyebrow. It doesn't make any sense. It makes sense to me because I'm used to the strong. It might make sense to you because you've seen me draw this, But to Anu viewer of this picture, that would probably throw them off. So let's figure out a way to get the hair working where that is not an issue. Maybe we could get a bit of a lock of hair coming out here, traveling down something like that and just eliminate any possible way that someone could misread that. It's kind of like, you know, when you're do a job interview and you come home, you're like home ago. Did they misread what I said there? It's the same withdrawing You want to make sure no one can possibly misread you. And avoiding tangents is one of those insurance policies against that. Okay, so there's are finished drawing. Let's try another one. So for this one, I'm back to talking live as I record, because I want to show you some four shortening with this pose. I'll do this. They're going to be the same character, but she's going to be engaging the camera a little bit more. She's gonna be like having a conversation with somebody, and she's gonna be gesturing forward with her arms. So these things I'm drawing right here are gonna be her hands, which will be overlapping her head with perspective. And right now I'm just blocking out a gesture. She's gonna be like going like this. I don't think you can see it yet. But where I'm circling now that's gonna be her right hand coming forward toward camera heavily foreshortened on the arm. So you had to do some four shortening stuff with your pose is gonna get a bit of a tight s curve. It's actually more of a a secret. I'll show you it's a C curve and then a straight so the upper chest is gonna be or the chest is a seeker and then down straight for the legs on. I'll get the proportions kind of roughed in here. Shoulder line is gonna be like this hip line's gonna be like that. I love drawing with this marker brush O R. This is not the brush that matters. I love drawing with this soft marker like sort of thing that I could just quickly scrub in and overall gestural block in. I really enjoy this. One foot will be going that way. One foot will be going this way. She's kind of holding her heels together. I think now you can kind of read what's going on here. Okay, so let's ah, grab a brush now. You know, I haven't talked about brushes very much because they're really not important. It's whatever is comfortable for you. But I have this kind of calligraphy sort of brush that goes thick versus thin, depending on the angle of my brush stroke. Yeah, that's the brush I use for the majority of my line. Work that and the soft marker brush. And those Russians will be included with the purchase of this video. Okay, so her head is going to be tilted, as I almost always do. Even the slightest tilt for me is preferable to a straight on the face. Of course, don't do anything ever as a rule, only do things if it looks good. Sometimes a straight ahead face will be what you want again. Just for me. That's usually the exception. So let's block in her eyes. She's gonna be engaging a character that's over here, right? So across Contra for the I's cross conquer for the middle of the face. This will show me where her nose is, and I'm thinking about this triangle here. Just a quick aside here. Speaking of that triangle, you know what I heard once I heard that a cat has the optimal triangle for acuteness like how we humans respond acuteness I heard that a cat's triangle from the edge of the eyes to the middle of the nose. This is like the ideal cute triangle, and a baby is is just slightly off of that is very close. But statistically a cat is cuter than a baby. I mean, I don't think so, but depends on baby, I guess. Anyway, my point is you can see that these two triangles are quite similar. Another quality of acuteness. And I apologize. This baby's head is cut off, but another quality of acuteness is the height of the forehead. You want to make sure you have a sizable forehead there. Nothing will kill Cute more than putting the eyes close to the top of the head. You know, babies, air known for their giant or the appearance anyway of a giant cranium, and you want to make sure that stays intact in your work. Okay, so getting back to our drawing here, you can see that this is why I so often go over the top of my characters heads just to make sure I can feel that skull. And it's always nice to get the eye line in, like the direction of the eyes where she is looking. This always injects the characters with just a little bit of life that's otherwise eyes missing. And it's nice to have that injection of life early just cause it will inspire you to keep drawing. This I is dropping on me here is going to redraw it. Gonna be up here. There we go. Those little things really really matter and the mouth is gonna be open like she's talking and you can play with mouth shape. We just block this in with a dark value, though for now and then the cheek. Our sorry, the job. When the mouth opens, the jaw extends right. So I want to make sure I stretched down to encompass the jaw of this kids mouth, which is open. The ear is going to be, you know, roughly in here. Although I think her hair covers the ear anyway. Okay, I talked about four shortening and haven't gotten to it yet, but let's get the torso in tour. So she's got a bit of a crop top pajama thing going on. So this is her bare skin here. Here's the hip line shoulder line, which I'm reinforcing with the darker line here and the pants come down, they flare out at the bottom. So I'm thinking overall, like the pants are basically, like one cylinder right now. Can you see that? And then I could draw the dividing line. I'm not gonna just draw a straight line, though. I mean, I could, but I don't like the symmetry. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna draw that line to be, you know, uneven. Just indicate maybe some folds of the pants just have a little fun with it. Really. Now, when I draw the other side like this contour for the pants, I don't want to mimic this one, right? That's another way of making symmetry. You don't want that either. So you got to make sure that you are always conscious of what's happening with your shapes . But I'll deal with the final shape a little later. Right now, I want to get I want to get her hand in her hand, is going to be toward camera. So is gonna overlap her head. And what I like to do right now is I'll just take my brush here and just paint in or a race out the part that the hand is covering. It helps me visualize that there's something in front. So her thumb is maybe gonna be here some almost like I'm drawing with the background color right now. Um, thumb is there. Her shoulder starts about there. And the thing with four shortening is for sorting is actually quite simple. It just one form is right on top of the other. So the so in this case, there's three forms. If you think of the four, if you think of the arm, here's the arm from the front. This is the top of the arm. This is the forearm to the bottom of the arm. And here's the hand right 123 So when you're dealing with foreshortened perspective, you just have to make sure that in this case, the hand is coming forward. So you gotta make sure the hand is the biggest and that it's obscuring numbers one and two . So the handing number three is obscuring one and two, and then when you draw a number two, you gotta make sure it's bigger than one and obscuring one eso for shorting is Actually, it's weird. It's a three dimensional effect, but it's actually a two dimensional exercise. So here's her hand gesturing. Let's have her index finger pointing down a little bit. I don't like this. That's your little pinkie coming out the back. I'll go with that for now. I don't know if that's the final pose, but we'll just see. Here's her. Here's the number two section her forearm and then just barely behind. That is the shoulder. This is the elbow right there, which I think you could see from this view. I talked about the importance of life drawing earlier. That is where I learned this stuff, too. Nothing will inform your drawing more than life drawing. Of course, drawing from photos is great to you should absolutely do that as well. They all benefit the other. But life drawing is the thing, the catalyst for all of them. In my opinion, there's no set rule for how toe for best practices. But if you're asking me those air, my best practices, okay, this arm is not foreshortened. There's a cylinder going on here. Um, this arm is more kind of like this. Let's have this thumb extend up and the hand extend down. It's always nice to give hands a bit of a curve, so I like to do a sweeping curve from the thumb, tracking right down to the index finger and maybe something like that. And then sometimes it's nice to have the pinky just offset. So the index fingers down the pinkies out. I know she has giant hands, but that's Ah, that's part of the appeal of this character. I think I'm not sure if I like it yet the big hands. But there's something about hands that are so expressive, and a lot of cartoons do emphasize hands. If you go back to the movie close, which I mentioned in the previous section, the hands in close air, just beautiful and they're big. If you look at Jesper, the main character's hands, their giant hands. But there's so expressive you can pause any frame and study his hands. Another great film for hands is the Iron Giant. If you look at Hogarth, Hughes is hands their do giant massive hands. But there's so expressive you get a real sense for how an artist can emote with their hands , which of course, is true of real life as well, we use our hands a lot, especially if you're Italian like me. Okay, let's get a bit of, Ah, the white of the eye in there. Just a bit of a lighter value in the highlight always helps. And let's not neglect the feet for too long. The theater Here's the big toe and then other toes kind of in there, and this foot is basically the inverse of that other one. We have this kind of thing, and we'll just block in a shadow, as I always do. Now we have an interesting pose for this character is clearly engaged in explaining something to somebody, maybe her imaginary friend. Over here, the hair is a little Wolverine, like right now. Let's zip it away from that. I do like that. She's She's got, like, bedhead basically. So let's try and find some kind of expressive way to draw her hair. Maybe something like this. Don't forget the hair that overlaps the head in this area here, and this is hair behind her. So it's a nice excuse to get a nice, dark value that really shows thesis a lot of the arm. Okay, now it's it's up to you whether you like the hand overlapping the mouth. That's not my favorite thing. But just for the sake of this drawing, I leave it. That's something that's bugging me a little bit. You know, It's the mouth is kind of a story telling part of this drawing like it's wide open like she's talking, and that's still clear. But there's something about blocking the mouth with hand. That I'm not sure is the best choice. But you know what? Let's just leave it like that's something I would refine later. Like if if this drawing were actually making it into my Children's book or something, I would refine that later. But I think as a conceptual sort of drawing, and especially as a lesson which this chapter is meant to be, I think it's okay. Lets give her pants a bit of a darker value, which is always a nice way to just graphically separate one item from the next. Like you know, flesh from clothing. In this case, a bit of a value under the brow here, bit of a value in the lower jaw. The hair already has a dark value, but we'll just emphasize that a little bit again. The value I put around the hair here, what really helps identify the silhouette of her head. So it's a nice opportunity to get in there with some definitive shapes, and you can see how I kind of like creep up on my shapes. You know, this drawing is looking pretty finished now as a rough drawing that is like a finished rough drawing, right? But I crept up on it, and you can see how you can really use these tools that this chapter hopefully has presented to you, you know, to arrive at a Finnish statement in a way that doesn't demand that you get it right off the jump. All right, so let's call that finished. 11. Chapter 2 - Real Assignments iv: all right. I want to take a slightly different angle on this and show you a real life project. Where I was given an old character design this year is a sheep named Gloria, and they wanted me to kind of give it a fresh, modern spin. And I first want to give you kind of some live commentary on my first impressions when I saw this character, you know, when I was taking internal stock of the design that's happening here, just the visual things I was thinking about. Now, as with any art form, things come and go with trends and styles. So there probably was a time when this character was trendy. I think this character was designed in the late eighties, early nineties or something, and maybe around that time, a lot of kids books and TV programming which this character was part of did look like this . But looking at it now, some of these symmetries and rhythms feel a little bit dated. And that's not just me thinking that the company hired me for that reason, like if you look at the mouth shape the sides of the same, the top is symmetrical. The bottom is symmetrical. Even the tongue is kind of symmetrical. This looks like a mouth, sure, but it's just not very interesting, you know. Look at the eyes as well. You know, I'm willing to bet that this I is a simple copy and paste of this. I just with the eyelashes reversed. This to me is an ineffective use of shapes. I'm also looking at things like the head. If you look at the top of the head shape, it's sort of like this. The bottoms like that. It's the same distance, you know. Those lines are essentially parallel there, just curved, but they're curved in the same way. So even though they have little lumps in like furry shapes there still symmetrical, even things like the way these lumps are drawn. It's basically the same shape three times or four times right there, maybe even five times. This top ones a little better. They have some smaller ones here. Then there's a big one there, tapering back to small. But even this, like these three of the same, these three the same, and that one's different. You kind of want to add some variety there, I think, at least again. I'm talking about modern context. I'm not talking about what's objectively better or worse, that doesn't exist. We're simply talking about If you're working in the industry today, what are the things you should look at? And these are the things that I noticed about this character design. Now, one thing I like about the character design is there is a nice C curve gesture to her. It also looks like there's a little bit more weight on this leg, a little less on this leg, although they are both kind of like straits. And I do think that seeker of while it's there, it is a little stiff that the body is essentially straight up and down from the neck to the foot. It's almost like the C curve is both there and not there at the same time, You know, elsewhere, I see shapes that don't seem to be designed with any function in mind. Like this is essentially a parallel line or two parallel lines. And yes, the shapes are varied from one side to the other, like it's not exactly the same, but it's so kind of randomized that it doesn't seem to be communicating anything interesting about that arm. These undulations seem to be just sort of random, as opposed to say something more overall, like maybe the design going like this, where it's like an overall widening here, this part of the arm and a tapering at that part of the arm. This arm seems to be more localized, like lumps for no reason kind of thing. Something I missed on the head here to the headband basically divides the wool area in half . The purple headband itself is varied to be thicker up here and thinner down at the sides. That's cool. I like that. And because I'm redesigning Gloria, I'll probably have to give her a headband. But I want to make it a bit more interesting, and lastly, the features on the head appear flat, like they're lining up with a flat cardboard cut out of the head. They don't appear to be wrapping around a skull or any three dimensional structure. This can work in a still picture like this, but it makes the character hard to draw from different angles. And that's something I also wanted to change in my design. Okay, so let's put Gloria over there. And I did kind of two rounds of design for my first set. Looked like this. My second set looked like this with this one. I tried changing her likeness completely, whereas with the 1st 1 I kind of stayed a little bit more similar to the original model. Like the original likeness A little bit. It was not a total requirement that I stay true to the actual likeness so I could drift a little bit. So drawing number one here was the first drawing. I did. And you notice I did actually kind of stick to the overall flatness of the head like that mouth shape is pretty much identical to the original mouth shape. But the main thing I'm playing within drawing number one and all these drawings. If you look at the proportion of the head, the hair basically takes up so much more space like I've offset it. I've given the hair kind of that 2/3 versus 1/3 in relation to the rest of the face sort of thing, bores the original is basically divided in half. I'm also offsetting the entire head as compared to the body using the same kind of Formula 2/3 versus 1/3. I've also given the body a bit of perspective. You know, if this is her body like this on her feet are like that. There's across Contour going around. It's not just straight on like this. Original body is kind of straight on, right? I've given it a bit of ah, perspective, some curvature for the cylinders. That's the other thing, By the way, that doesn't exist in the original. These are very straight, like everything is straight. There's no perspective here because the original design ignores the cylinder thing. So by giving the characters some basic cylinders also for the arms, like how the arms work, you can give the character instant dimension over here. On drawing Number two, you can see I'm really playing with that head shape, right kind of giving it that 2/3 versus 1/3 hair to head ratio sort of thing. And I'm keeping the ear super low like this is a very streamlined shape. I feel like you could design a spaceship with this shape or something. There's something very aerodynamic about it. I don't if that's the right term, but there's something fun about this kind of shape you notice it's curvy here, straight there. That reminds me of the Norbert character I drew in the previous section where I did his backside curved in his belly straight. You can also see him preserving a little bit of that seeker for the body. But one of the things that makes this a bit more interesting is that the book bag is dragging behind her, and that's something I like in the original. By the way, I really liked how she was holding the book. It felt like it had some weight pressed up against her body. I was inspired by that sense of weight, but in this one, I just, you know, put the book on the floor. That was probably not in keeping with the character I'd imagined. She looks a little bit more neat and tidy for that, but, hey, this is just exploration, right? You also noticed that where I placed the bow on both these characters is just, you know, it's off center, essentially, and both of those I did keep the symmetry of the kind of will now wish like maybe I overlapped it like the hair would overlap the bow. I kind of wish I did something like that. Just have it feel like it's sitting in a bed of soft woolen surface. You know, if I'm critiquing my own work, which I do all the time, that would be a little bit more fun. You can see in drawing number three, I played with a bit more of a diamond thematic shape for the body. The body is essentially a diamond shape, and you notice the shawl she's wearing is also made of diamonds. So I'm playing with, you know, thematic shape. They're not only with the body, but the wardrobe that's on the body and then two playoff that sharpness I gave her like very rounded legs. So these are all things that you think about in order to inform your drawing. It's a very common thing, toe like stare at the white piece of paper and be intimidated by its You don't know what to draw and thematic shape could be an easy solution to get you past that fear, because thematic shape is designed to get you started, and then once you get started, your creativity kicks in. I also gave her a very rounded, you know, head shape, right? And then, of course, I'm also playing with, like, a big section of hair versus a smaller section for her face. And then on drawing number four, I didn't explore so much with the proportions. I kept it a little bit more, even if we measured the head to the body. It's kind of like a 1/2 1 half sort of thing. Same with the actual head. The hair to the rest of the head is also kind of 1/2 1 half, you know, just trying to play with different kinds of proportions. When you're sending concepts to a client, you kind of want to hit all the bases and see what they respond with. Okay, so the other page of Gloria's I did was this one, and in this one, I kind of really went out on a limb with the redesign, which the client allowed me to do. I would never do this if I had to stick to the original model. But the client asked me to explore some wildly different Gloria designs. The thing I always do when I do a character design is I always try and think of the dimension of the character. So if I want across contour this first face here, the form goes up and then goes down eso When I was drawing this shape, I would block in an overall sort of thing here, across contour it and make sure that maybe one side was a little bit closer to camera. So what I mean by that is like this side here is facing camera a little bit more straight on than this side. So this side would get a shadow value, actually reversed it. I gave this side the shadow value. What? This does it. It just shows you like this Looks like a dimensional form. It's almost like a box or something, right? I mean, it's based on a box like a box meeting a sphere. And then from here I could build mawr three dimensional forms like a nose whose underside is there. And then I could build more forms on it like a mouth hinging out from the bottom. We're gonna talk about mouths in the facial expressions section of this chapter, which is coming up next, then, because I have a solid dimensional form here, I could build the eyes on that. This guy is more rounded because it's facing camera mawr just face on. Where is the eye in the back is a little bit more elliptical, and it's also being blocked partially by this form here, like the form of the nose, the muzzle area. So this I comes out from behind and then we can get our irises there. And before long we have a dimensional design that is pretty simple to draw pretty quick to draw. No, I'm running out of space here, but you can see what I did with the hair. I just had extend way up high to play with that proportion. Now, if you're being mesmerized by the color of these designs, please don't be. The color is easy if your drawing is right. In fact, it's kind of a common thing that I faces. It is an art teacher. A lot of students come up to me, worried about their color, but then, when I actually look at their work, it's not the color that's bringing down the the art. It's the drawing. So if you have these fundamentals and you can call upon them at will and you can deal with them with ease, which comes with practice, then your color could just be plugged in. Now there are still principles of color, and we'll talk about those in Chapter three is they pertain to Children's books. And if you see my YouTube channel, I have extensive videos on color use. But again, the irony behind color is that color only works when you're drawing, fundamentals are in place. So that's why, in chapter, to hear of this class trying to tackle the drawing problem from different angles and show you that no matter what, I'm drawing a pig, a human, a sheep all in various poses. It all comes down to the same fundamentals of gesture, form and shape over here on the second drawing and its wanted to recall like concepts that I've been using before. Like the idea of a cranium. Can you see how it's behind the wool hair here? But the cranium is tucked in there. There's a lot of space for it. It works dimensionally with the rest of the head. In fact, all these characters you can kind of see that behind the scenes, I've been tracing the entire head shape. So you know when something overlaps a shape like the hair overlaps the head right. Don't just stop drawing the head where the hair overlaps it. Make sure you understand the form as if you had X ray vision. You can see behind things down here on a thematic shape level. If you examine the thematic shape of the entire hairpiece here, it's kind of this, you know, blobby sort of wavy thing. Notice that the face itself shares many characteristics with the shape of the hair. Now they're not identical. But in terms of the way those curves flow, the let's call it the DNA that makes up the shape is the same. And these are the qualities I revere and other artists work so naturally. It's been a mission for me to figure out how I can get that in my own work. So hopefully this little section can provide some insights in that regard. All right, before we close out the chapter, let's do one final section on facial expression 12. Chapter 2 - Facial Expression: all right, So a huge part of drawing Children's books is facial expression. And contrary to some popular belief, today's publishers don't really want smiley faces on every single page. Remember that Children's books are a model of behaviour for kids. So there are many Children's books, especially these days, that deal with emotions other than plain happiness. We all know the face is very elastic, capable of many shades of emotion, and I want to go over some of the things I think about when tackling facial expression. In keeping with the theme of learning from animation, I want to show you this little page showing various Disney characters. Now, in my opinion, you make or break facial expression with the eyes, specifically the eyes and eyebrow relationship. Now, by now we know all about continuous rhythm, and that happens to be one of the main principles I look for in facial expression. From left to right, l