- Lesson details
In this unique drawing demonstration, art director, Carlos Huante, shows you how he draws a creature from his imagination. He will share the basic tools he uses to design his character with you such as simple shadowing. Carlos will also demonstrate how to subdivide forms and also how to direct the viewers’ eye to certain points of interest.
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – Ultramarine
- Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil – Bleu Violet
- Kneaded Eraser
- Drawing Paper
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games. Today I’m going to do a demo of a character and use that as a tool to teach
you some general basics and also to go over some tips on how to break form up.
It's all general, general tools that you should have. Some of these will help you to articulate
your ideas a lot easier, and you’ll be able to move quicker, hopefully, after studying
and going over this lesson. So, let’s get started.
are two versions of Prismacolor. The one that I predominantly use is this one here. It’s
a wax tip pencil. This is the Verithin. If you want to draw and you want to approach
your drawing in a lighter, Verithin is actually—it’s a harder lead. I’ll just, you know, very
light versus the Prismacolor, which is a lot bolder of a statement. You have to be in a
good mood with a lot of control to work with this guy because it doesn’t erase that easy.
You can see here I’ll work it out with a kneaded eraser. But the Verithin, it goes away.
You have to know what you’re going to do or draw very lightly and do a build-up
approach when you use a pencil like this.
Let’s just start drawing and see what happens. I’m going to start with the basic lay-up.
I’m going to work very light. I’m obviously using this Verithin so I’m going to work
really light here. And I’m using the side of the pencil to make these first lines because
I want them to be very light. You can use the—if you use, and I have many friends
that draw in a dragging way where they drag their lines. That’s fine if that’s the
way you work and you want to build up that way. It’s kind of an egg on shell kind of
build up. That’s fine. I draw in a match grip. It’s a drummer’s term for overhanded
grip. I like to draw with the side of the pencil. There’s a lot of energy. Since I’m
designing characters usually for film and game, I want a lot of emotion even in the
static design. And so I want arm swing in there. Working on a computer you can’t really—you
can get that, but these are the basics right here, you know, drawing on paper. You know
a lot of physical energy. Less about this. Working with a Wacom pen, you know, and you’re
working in a limited space so that you have a tendency to stay here. With the paper you
can really get your arm swinging. So let’s just get drawing here.
Basic circle. I think this is going to be—this is going to be a head, a bust maybe, of something.
And something anthropomorphic so that way you guys can relate to it. I won't get too abstract here.
And I'm just searching the eye holes here. I think I’m going this way.
Here is the eyebrow. I’m hitting a plane so that way I know exactly where the center of this piece is going to
be now of this head because I just hit that brow line.
Since I’m making this up I’m actually lost in my head a little bit right here. I’m not referencing anything. I’m
just referencing little whims here that can’t be uttered, but I’m trying to be as descriptive
as I possibly can. Again, this is going to be something pretty anthropomorphic . And
I’m going for a very, very careful attack here for the purposes of this demo.
It'll show up a little bit more than me just going at it.
Maybe these will work. I’m not sure yet.
Alright. It seems like we have a map of something starting to form here.
It’s always been something difficult for me to try to describe my process.
That’s why it’s been a long time for me to come back and do a demo like
this, because I find it very—I get lost in my head referencing all of the things that
I’ve seen, you know, to come up with this stuff. It’s all about subtleties because
I mean every single kind of archetype structure has been done to some degree, so it’s all
about subtlety and variation as far as design goes. Let’s get rid of some unwanted lines now.
Now that I think I know what I’m going to do here. I’m using a kneaded eraser.
Designing some texture around this guy’s head. With all this decoration he can’t
just have a normal human architecture anymore because I’ve already gone past that here.
Crazy looking collar. Let’s make this collar out of his own flesh.
That’s what this stuff will be.
I don’t know what that is, but it looks—you can see the space. I’m actually thinking
about space. Not only am I thinking about the design, I’m thinking about the weight
and how this thing is reading all together. I added this just as a volume on both sides,
you know, peeking out on this side because I’m thinking about how this thing is weighted,
you know? The layout of the actual character, and what he looks like, how he feels. Not
a long-headed character, kind of a little blocky. It looks cool. In my eye, anyway.
You see what I just did there? I switched my hand now because I’m drawing the detail.
I went from this to this. I already mapped this area out I know where my marks are. You
know, on both sides, that’s where I’m going to flick it up.
Okay. Let’s starting getting all this weird secondary characteristics of this character down.
I would suggest to anyone actually, those that are newer professionals
—and some of the more seasoned people know this already.
Take your time. I mean it’s good to learn how to—to learn your art language
while you’re working. The only way that you get fast to where it actually matters
is when you are practicing being accurate. The way to practice being accurate is by moving
slow and taking your time. You build your own language, your art language.
Most people don’t take the time to do that, and they borrow from other people’s language, and
that’s why their work looks like their influences. It has not evolved into their own. I mean
you have to develop your own language, your own marks, the way that you make a mark versus
the way that somebody else does. It’s okay to be influenced by people, but you do not
want to just lift somebody’s stuff, which there seems to be a lot of that going on these days.
There are so many illustrators now.
So I have a basic map now of what this character is. From here I can just start darkening in
and illustrate it to some degree just to get it to a point where I could then scan it and
do anything I wanted to do on the computer and illustrate it. Or I could do it a traditional
way. This was a really slow approach in getting this guy even to this spot.
This is a good finished rough for me to now start realizing whatever this guy is, which I’m going to
start to do here and get into some of the details.
Again, I switched my hand again.
I’m hitting these details.
Call that the center.
because I’m holding the pencil now over a traditional grip versus a match grip.
This is the line that I was making before with the pencil drawing with the side of the pencil.
Now that I’ve come in and I’m starting to model all of these specifics, I turn my
hand over because I need the control now. I want to use the tip of the pencil.
I start mixing up the line work. I’ll probably use a form of cross-hatching. Maybe it’s just
a mix of cross-hatching and just scribbling at the same time.
You could cover the same ground.
If you want to continue drawing this way through the entire drawing you can.
I mean you can get some really beautiful—this will take longer to some degree, but it’s
beautiful. I love doing drawings in both ways so there is not right or wrong way as far as that goes.
I mean even if you’re a guy that draws—say you’re a guy that does kind of a choppy kind of line,
you know, whatever that is. I know guys that draw that way. I don’t.
But, you know, there is a process to this where you end up with a finished line.
Then the rendering comes with either the color or wash or, you know, whatever other method
that they’re going to be using. Either it’s a scan and they do it all on the computer.
I don’t draw this way so I’m not going to really talk about that. But I am talking
about these two things because this is what I do.
I’m going into this phase right now with this guy.
And he doesn’t have lips.
Let’s get this bottom set of teeth drawn in here.
I’m actually thinking about the orientation of the tooth. So here I’m not just drawing
things randomly. I’m actually thinking that I want these teeth to be, say, let’s do
it real quick side view here.
This is not going to be entirely accurate. But just for the purposes of this demo...
I’m thinking of the teeth actually angling out.
They could angle in if I wanted to do that. Since this character kind of looks like kind of a deathy
kind of character, death—you look at some skeletons when they’re, like a skull, and
the teeth kind of flare out because there is no gum to hold them in, and so they’re
not straight up and down anymore. They kind of do this pucker. Pretty neat.
Maybe I’ll do something like this.
Alright. This is a rolling type of cross-hatching. Just rolling
the pencil around versus just doing back and forth. I’m actually rolling the pencil because
I’m rolling around the forms. It’s the way I prefer to cross-hatch. It’s not really
cross-hatching. I guess it is cross-hatching technically because you’re cross-hatching,
but it’s more of a scribble-rolling type of hit versus just…
And the thing for me is that see what happens here? When you’re rolling you start getting
a concentrated area and then a fall-off. And to me this is pretty, it’s got a lot of
energy in it versus say just doing this.
This also gets a nice blend which is mimicking in my mind.
In my mind it mimics this with drawing the match grip hand.
Let’s see. What is that nose bridge going to look like? I don’t even know yet. Let’s see.
Something like that.
He’s not smiling. He’s just got a white mouth.
Since I have all the basic big gross shapes already laid out I can now start to break up.
I mean I have a good map.
So that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m subdividing all the forms.
For example, if I have, let’s see, let’s just put a cylinder down here.
That's the primary shape, right?
So that’s what I have, and that’s what all of this stuff is.
In my mind is the primary design sketch idea for what I’m going to be drawing. And that’s
actually the most important part. Once you’ve got the map down you know what you’re going
to do. Then the rest is just, you know, you’re having fun breaking it up and having a good
time drawing. You can see there and sing songs and draw, and everything is good. This is
the headache, though, getting this thing down and trying to figure out what you’re actually
going to draw. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of practice, and you have to look at a
lot of different things to be able to reference a lot of stuff inside of your head. And quickly.
You can’t, you know, I mean if you’re on a job you don’t have time to build your,
or fill your lamp with oil, as they say. You have to move forward. Your lamp has to be full.
You’re ready to go. You have to know what you’re—
you have to have a good reference file in your head.
Anyway, so back to what I was talking about, the primary shape. This is the primary—this.
You subdivide it. Let’s just do it in a cross-section. You subdivide it.
This is a subdivision out here.
I just divided that into that.
And then from here, now that it has subdivided once, and that subdivision could be anything.
I mean if I wanted it to be...I mean if I wanted it to be coming across.
Then I have this kind of a thing going on.
But I, and then say from
there I subdivide only one side. And now I’m starting to add personality to it.
And from here I subdivide it again, and I just keep on going until, you know. You have to decide
just how much—in these subdivisions, how much you want to—how do I say this?
How much you want to affect this primary shape? How much do you want to violate the silhouette?
See, look at how much I affected this thing by breaking it up. If I do that in perspective,
you know, if I barely, if I just wanted to affect this very, very, and make that the
relief is very, very subdued. Then, you know, here is your cutaway right here. It’s still round.
It’s just got a slight divot going on, which could be what this is.
Or, you know, let’s do it again.
I really want to break that up, so I break it up.
It really affects this thing. Then I can even squish it on one side.
And that’s more probably what this thing is doing versus what I was achieving right there.
It’s up to you on how much of a relief or how much of a cut you want to make. These are the choices that
you have to make when you’re—and so someone may draw almost the exact same thing that
you’re drawing, but they’re going to make different choices. In this right here in what
you want to and how far, how much you want to affect those primary shapes.
Anyway, so this is where I’m at right now. I’m deciding where I’m going to break
things up and how much I want to put in here.
And break that up right around the eye hole.
And if you ask me why I draw in blue pencil—you know I worked in TV animation for a very long
time, and it was one of the things that we worked in. It was because you can go over
this with a graphite line, and this is a good way to rough so that way when you went to
graphite line that would be your dark outline, and all this would be scribbling underneath,
you know. So it was a good way to map out your drawing just like I did here.
It's just a habit that I got into, and I like the color.
You have to find what works for you. I mean this works for me. It might not work for you.
You have to find what works for you personally
and speaks to the kind of art that you are making.
For me it’s kind of a—I don’t know.
It’s kind of a pop-art kind of a thing. Look at what I’m drawing, but I’m drawing
with this fun color. There is a new contrast in that for some reason.
Just trying to get this stuff reading now.
This whole line—there is no rendering going on here really, yet. It’s all a bunch of scribbles.
Making everything sit nice.
This is breaking up pretty good.
I don’t know what these things are yet.
He’s got an occipital ridge here.
That’s where muscles would attach for the jaw
coming all the way up the side of the head. Gorillas have it. Dogs have a nice ridge.
Nice big muscles come up to meet the side of the head.
But see, I’m referencing stuff that I know randomly.
Get the corner of this, the eye frame going here.
I’m thinking of this thing as kind of a scarification type of thing.
Don’t ask me why I put it there. It just felt right.
Okay, that’s all looking pretty nice and mapped out. I kind of have an idea for this.
I don’t know what this is yet. Maybe...
that is some crazy looking bat ear thing.
I was playing with this idea earlier in my head that maybe I was going to do
a bat creature kind of a thing, but this is not that.
Okay. Let’s let that rest, and I’ll come back to it.
Let’s look at all these other things that need to get done here. That’s looking pretty good, actually.
What kind of eyeball is he going to have? I don’t know.
Should he have an eyeball?
You can see I switched the grip of my pencil again. I’m thinking of now a little—
I’m not really going to render this thing in the sense that I’m going to sit and, you know, render it.
I just want to get a basic design down with line only. But just a little bit won’t hurt.
I need some more interest here, some more subdivisions. One of the things you think about as
you’re working through your, you know, your design—
and this is straight across the board for landscape painters and everybody.
Everyone has to think about this.
Let’s go back to this little thing on the side here.
If your design is all noise,
and that include landscapes, it’s all in the detail. This is straight across the board for any medium.
I would imagine—well, I know. It’s a fact.
Photography and actually even film. A lot of the visual effects these days where it’s just all detail.
Everything is in your face. You don’t know what to look at, and honestly you lose interest really fast.
That is not interesting because I am not telling you where to look.
Let’s do that again. So if I have all my detail in filigree going around the side or say, wherever.
It doesn’t matter. I mean this is up to you.
This is just a demo here to give you the idea of what I’m trying to explain here is that now I’ve put all this detail in
the side. But you know where to look at. I mean all this stuff is on the side, and I’ve given you an area of rest so
you know where to look. I have directed your eye.
That is interesting. All paintings, whether it’s layout or, you know, the whole layout of the entire composition
of your painting. It’s little notes on here.
Little layout. All this value here is darkened, and I’ve lit my interest by
surrounding it with light, and I have directed your eye.
That applies even to this.
If you don’t have this in your head as you’re working, and you just go for, you know, let’s do a little tiny one here on the side again.
And you just, the whole thing is that.
That will be—there is no interest there. It’s just you’re not directing my eye.
Anyway, keep that in your head as you’re working.
that I’ve already laid out here and trying to get it crispy clean.
And then we’ll be good.
I just made a choice which goes back to this.
I’m going to subdivide this thing. It was looking a little bit flat. I mean static is what I should say.
So I’m thinking about everything driving forward, you know, so in the cutaway I have this which will
cut into something like this anyway. But instead of it just coming straight down I want it driving back so all
the lines are driving. It’s got energy.
You know, you see a car. Sometimes the car is really well designed, and it looks like it’s going 100 miles an hour just sitting there.
It might not be what you’re looking for.
For me, I like I lot of movement and a lot of life in my stuff even if it’s just static and it’s just sitting there.
Even if it’s a fat character, you know, you can have a fat character and not just in circles, right?
It’s all about the attitude.
You can design the motion even of a fat, sloppy character in abstract here
and how those volumes lie down.
I mean the difference between these in feeling this has got a lot of staccato.
There is pointiness to this character. It’s a very aggressive, action-oriented design versus
something like this. But you can still infuse some sort of life into it even if it’s just a fat volume.
I think it’s a mistake just to have something, draw something and just have it sitting there. It’s boring.
That’s what it’s good for. I’ll keep on emphasizing that it’s good to draw on paper
because it gets your hand moving.
Then when you go back and work on your Wacom tablets and your Cintiqs
you won’t settle for static-looking images.
You’ll have planted an attitude
of how you like things, and you want things a little more lively because you’ve been moving your hand around
and your arm. The whole thing moving around versus just sitting there, you know, doing that.
There is no life in just sitting around doing this. I mean there could be in the end but you’re working your way up
toward this in a very, very slow way. This gets quick results. You get the energy done,
and then you can go back to this and render that with that. You know.
That’ll work better than just starting your drawings like this.
I’m not telling you how you should approach your drawing, but things to consider anyway
These things I’m thinking of as calcified kind of growths out of this guy,
kind of costuming him in his own stuff.
I don’t know what that—armadillos, a pandolin, there are all these animals that have kind of this armor
that grows out of their bodies. Certain rhinos have it.
Their skin just breaks up into really interesting folds. It almost looks like armor.
So that’s what I’m thinking about here anyway.
And you know, what you do is when you’re kind of looking at things, moving them side to side and you’re
creating your symmetry. I’m looking at this here, this circle, and I stare down the middle.
You focus here and you start mimicking whatever you’ve laid out on this side.
You stare here and what happens is you start, you know, you’re looking at the entire thing.
You’re not looking at details.
What I had here wasn’t working with the way that these lines where so I had to start drawing instead of working
this way, which was, you know, drawing in all the details. I started laying in all the lines going in the right
direction based on what I had here and thinking about the entire shape around here and the entire shape say,
of his collar or his shoulder, collar, whatever that is.
But you stare at the center and it usually helps.
Let’s bring that up a little higher.
Okay, guys. We went over a lot of things, actually. A lot of that is general basics.
I went over subdivisions, how to subdivide form and how to actually—
not necessarily do a default to where you subdivide it in half. Look at that again and actually study and see how
you can use that for yourself. But continue drawing, and if you need to watch this lesson over and over do it.
Just burn it into your brain. Okay, so I'll see you next time.