Brian Shepard

2D Game Artist and Illustrator.

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Transforming Fantasy Characters With Proportion

Class Description: 

Fantasy characters come in all shapes and sizes, not unlike real people. Some are tall and lanky, others short and squat, some have huge eyes, and still others have incredibly exaggerated features. Have you ever stopped to wonder why that might be?

This course is about proportion and learning how this element of character design is used to emphasize or downplay certain features. We'll be exploring various well-known characters and examining why they are built the way they are, as well as doing some drawing exercises of our own to understand the importance of space on a character.

Class Project: 

Have you ever tried standing in front of one of thse bizarre, wavy mirrors at a carnival? Your reflection probably looked a little funny. Maybe your forehead was bigger than normal, or your legs looked twice as long. We're going to do the same thing with a well known fantasy character!

This class is all about character proportions, so the idea is to focus on a few features and exaggerate them more than they normally are. Your final deliverables should be the following:

  • A reference image of your chosen fantasy character. A Google search should be easy enough to do in most cases, but you can upload a high quality photograph of your character if you prefer.
  • A simple blueprint of the features you're going to exaggerate. Stick to simple, single-color shapes in this drawing -- the important thing is for you to develop a guideline for size relationships. How many heads tall is your exaggerated character? How big are the eyes? How thick are the arms and legs?
  • Your exaggerated character art! This is the culmination of the previous steps. You can use any medium you want, with or without color! In fact, you're free to use 3D media like clay or modeling software if you have the time for it. The point is to show us how your version of the character is different than the original by playing with proportion and scale.

Outline:

View the outline here.

Introduction:

View the introduction video here.

Class:

View the class here!

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