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My (slow) Character Illustration Progress

I got off to a really slow start in this course, mainly due to my lack of, and total frustration with my drawing skills.

I had the priveledge to meet Ron Campbell this week, one of the original animators on the Yellow Submarine movie, and talk with him about drawing characters. I asked him what he thought was most important to being able to draw convincing characters (knowledge of anatomy, figure-drawing skills, etc...?). His response: "A sense of humor."

So with that in mind, I've tried not to take my character drawing too seriously, and to have some fun with it. As a result, I've succeded in starting to make some progress. Here's what I've come up with so far.

I might start working with the character in the middle. Open to any feedback.

Thanks!

UPDATE:

Here is my first attempt at tracing in Illustrator. Some sections, like the nose and the mouth were defined by lines rather than shapes, so I'm not really sure how to handle these based on Matt's technique...any advice here?

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