- 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 use basic shapes and lines to help lay in your initial drawing. He will also show you how he thinks as he goes through his drawing process.
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – Ultramarine
- Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil – Bleu Violet
- Kneaded Eraser
- Drawing Paper
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doing another demo of my process. I am going to focus on how I come up with an idea from
nothing. Through that demo, I will be talking about quite a bit of basics and also some
of the lessons maybe that I’ll go over that I did in the first demo, which is how to subdivide
form and also rhythm and line. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Let’s get started.
I do like this pencil quite a bit. It’s a hard tip so,
it gives me a lot of introduction into the design because it’s very, very light in the way it goes down.
Let’s try something and see what happens.
I’m going to just fish around with some basic shapes and see what happens.
Just feeling this out. I’ve made up something in my head, and it’s sort of a script description.
I’m going to go with it. I think this will work.
It’ll be kind of an alligator-y influence.
For a semi-anthropomorphic character just so you guys can relate to it and have somewhere to judge.
Like anchor to judge how far I’ve gone. Because if I get completely abstract you have absolutely no ground to stand on.
You know what? Let’s get rid of that eye. I don’t like that eye.
Something like that will work better.
Yes, it’s working better too.
You guys can’t see me, but I’m actually—when I draw and I’m designing a character I’m actually standing up
and acting a little bit trying to get a feeling sometimes. Sometimes I’ll pose by myself just to get a feeling of the
way the character is, and I’m making these weird gestures. I want to really express a feeling that I
have in my head of how this character should be posed.
A huge part of what we do is putting your emotions into this and to what you do.
If you don’t, I mean even if it’s something as cold as an evil kind of character or a non-caring character like
these creatures that I tend to design a lot of,
you still want to add some personality to it to individualize it.
That’s what I am thinking about right now as I work.
I’m just going with this. I have no idea. I have a vibe of what I want to do, but that is about it.
It’s got good movement to it, so the whole thing is kind of alive to me. It feels good,
which makes me want to do some acting with his head.
As I’m working on this, some of the stuff that I’m thinking about I should say is not only the actual
volumes that make up this character, but the negative space also. And say the inside of this mouth,
the expression, you know. What is the design of that negative space? Not just what kind of teeth am I putting
in it, but what does that negative space say? You know, what kind of expression does that negative space,
and not just him inside of here, you know, his actual expression, but the negative space has to have an
expression as well. I know it’s abstract.
I’ll use this as an example, say how do these teeth line up and where to they drive your eye?
Back? Do they drive your eye through the entire thing? The design, the drawing?
And it should because then if it does you’re going to feel a lot of energy from this character,
and it won’t be boring. It’s singing a song to you.
I’m just drawing through it trying to feel where all the bones are for this guy.
I’ll know where all the connections are that I’m going to make. I’m making this stuff up. It’s not human anatomy.
Obviously, these volumes aren’t human.
These marks that I’m making here are going to give me kind of boundaries of where I want a texture that
I’m imagining right now to end and then to transition into another.
So I’m designing the separation right here with these lines.
I have an idea for a texture. Stay right here.
That’s got good swing, it’s to human. It’s just bugging me.
Let’s mix this up.
You can see the rhythm that I designed here. This is the actual arm structure. This is not.
This is the line that I’m going to follow and has a rhythm to it. This, a contrasting kind of arc to this to
create a rhythm of texture here. I’m going to use that to keep a good song going.
You know, look at all that. This is what makes drawing actually fun, is being able
to create and play off of rhythms like this, I mean. There is no more fun than that.
But this is where all the work is. It’s planning something as,
you know, this doesn’t exist in nature. You know, you don’t have a model in front of you.
You’re not drawing from a model, so you have to make this stuff up.
That’s where all the work is, designing the plan first.
Alright, this is starting to...this looks like a plan.
It looks like I actually planned this out.
I put this kink in here to give me kind of a—it gives me kind of a feeling that there is a lip lift here.
Little things like this. It’s small but it’s enough to actually—that’s a small detail.
But that’s enough to give me an expression. It doesn’t have to be something overdone.
Little things like this are, you know, those are key.
They actually have more of an effect on your drawing. If that was a mistake.
See how much it would alter the expression on the character? Say if you wanted it to be completely just
tight lipped and no flare at all, you could draw a straight line through there, and it would be a different vibe.
So you have to practice control over your line
and making enough little mistakes--say if that was a mistake--
and then you did it again and you did it with a straight line going across here and it was tight lipped.
If you were analytical enough you would look at your drawings and you would hold them up
and you would see the difference. One of the things that I do which may sound strange,
is I put up my own drawings around me so I reference myself. The reason I do that is because it keeps my
mind focused on what I was after and what I’ve been after, and I don’t lose track of what I’m after when I draw
and design all these little goals and things that I’ve always wanted to do.
I look back at some drawings that were successful and I put up a lot of successful drawings of mine around me
when I’m working to keep me focused on my own vision so that way my stuff has kind of a, I don’t know,
I guess you would call it a purity. It’s not overly influenced by other people.
It’s good to look at other people’s work because you should. You should even copy other people’s work,
but enough to get you to where you’re at a good starting point. Once you start and then put that stuff
away and start referencing yourself once you’ve created something successful put that up and look at it.
It’s not about being egotistical. It’s about creating your own world. That’s what we’re doing here.
We’re creating our own language, creative language.
If you’re any artist at all, and say if you want to be an artist versus just getting the job then, you know,
you want to make a statement. The only way to make a statement is to have your own voice.
Your own voice.
A good way to do that, in my opinion, is to put up your own work around you, pieces that were successful.
Of course, that could backfire if you’re not very good and you don’t know enough to know that.
So you need to look and work around other people. If you’re showing your work and say you’re going to
school or say, you know, you’re a burgeoning professional already, put your work up. Put up the stuff
that you know is good and other people are reacting to that it’s good. Put that stuff up around you.
That’s not a bad thing to do.
Then, you know, compare it to the guys that you emulate, that are actually up there and doing it and are
really good and are at the top of their game.
See where it is that you want to go and find something, say within their work so you can see where they’re at
and you go you want to be there. You work your way towards that but with your own stuff,
not trying to emulate their work. Have your work around you, and you’re trying to get your work to that level.
It’s a lot of work. But that’s what this requires. This requires a lot of dedication. A lot of work.
I mean I work massive hours for myself outside of working to make money, and I’m exhausted all the time.
But it’s just part of the life. We don’t have a regular job.
We’re not normal people.
I’m overhanding this now because I’m starting to get into specifics. Earlier in the other tutorial I was talking
about the difference between grips and how I grip the pencil. I’ve already gone through my mapping. I have my
basic map here of where I want to start laying details on so I know where to go. This is the work right here.
It’s all this stuff. This is now I get to play around. Now I have good boundaries.
I know where all my bookends are.
I know where the ends of everything are so I know where I’m going to.
So I have a good place to play in now. This is my playground here that I invented for myself here.
And so this was, and this is where I’m at now. I’ll mix it up as I’m going here.
See? I'm mixing it up.
And let's give this guy...
Don’t ask me why I did that. I just felt like it needed a scar of some kind there. I don’t know.
But that’s my choice. That’s what I wanted to do.
I’m trying to be as methodical as I can here for the purposes of this tutorial and demo because normally
I would just fly through all this stuff and just keep on going and making stuff up as I’m going.
I’m trying to be as methodical as I can so you guys can follow me.
That’s actually one of the reasons that I’m choosing to draw with this harder lead because it slows me down.
Trying to find the corner of the lip and mouth opening.
Let’s drag it down.
I’m just erasing some of these non-essential lines because I just started something that I like
even better than where I was going and correcting this perspective on this jaw.
And the jaw is straight through here even though the lip is hanging below.
I’m going to use some of this cotton that I have here and clean this off.
Let’s get rid of this little shadow leftover.
Little bit of a tongue type of thing.
Maybe it attaches in the front so it won’t be flipping out.
More like an alligator. Even though this is starting to look less like an alligator,
as I continued on it’s kind of a weird dog thing, kind of whatever it is.
This is all good. I’m breaking it up.
I’m starting to break up all the forms now and commit to some of the choices that I made.
Super-light pressure versus my sketchy kind of, you know, now it’s literally barely grazing.
Look at how light that is.
I want a really pretty kind of—
and you can really control that too.
With enough practice you can render in any color you want.
It’s not so much the color that I’m talking about and rendering in, because they all have a different feel.
I mean every color, the pencil, they don’t feel the same. That’s why I choose certain colors of lead.
The quality of that particular tip is—it has the amount of given hardness that I like to draw with so it gives me a
good arc of soft-to-hard to use.
It’s a good tool set for me.
That’s why you should try a bunch of different colors of lead to see which one works best for you and the way
that you like to draw. This one works for me.
I’m thinking of the separation of the skull right here to the nape of the neck muscles
and whatever that volume is
and the transition from the neck into the shoulders and all these muscle groups here.
Actually, what I’m going to do with that design wise—we all know what the anatomy is.
I’m not going to overly describe what the anatomy is because it’s not about the anatomy.
It’s about this character.
I do see a lot of design. This used to happen actually with dinosaurs quite a bit back in the day.
I would see a lot of dinosaur illustrators putting the flesh immediately over the bones.
Even though that’s kind of true, but there was no personality to the flesh.
It was all about anatomy rather than designing the flesh that made up that character.
That’s really not easy to do. Design flesh and personality of what that flesh is.
If you look at a bull and look at the way the fat rolls around and turns into these crazy little kind of spirals of
fat up by the shoulders and underneath the jaw line down in the gullet, the area down toward the center.
You would never put that in. If you just had bones of that animal you would never put any of that stuff in,
but it’s there, you know. I mean the classic one is the elephant’s trunk. I don’t know if people would make it
that long. People would probably just put this tiny little thing because they would see that on the tip of that
bone there is kind of some texture that would suggest it, but it had something more going on there.
But who knows what they would put there if they didn’t ever know what an elephant was.
So don’t get stuck on anatomy per se.
Just suggesting anatomy you’re designing flesh here and not just muscle over bone.
That is obviously not easy.
Okay, what am I going to do with this guy here? What am I going to do with this guy on this right here?
I don’t know yet. I think…
I don’t know if I like that arm swinging out like that anymore. Let’s not do that.
Just trying to hit at the other side so it’s not entirely flat.
I’m making some really fast choices here as I’m drawing on how to break up this texture,
which is obviously I had already kind of alluded to it with these marks here.
It’s a way for me to break this character up from just looking like a man thing.
I know that the spine is going to be here somewhere. It’s my center point.
This guy is making me laugh a little, actually. He’s got a funny expression on his face.
Let’s see. Let’s get this ear all going.
in the mapping phase to some degree because I’m going from mapping out the gross shapes
then mapping in the details. Then once I map in the details then I map in the breakup of
those details, and then keep on subdividing it all the way down.
It's a lot of work, you know, to do this stuff and then do multiples of these for gigs.
You really have to have a thick skin. Because
you know you put in this much into everything that you give out, and it’s not always—let
me put it this way: 90% of what you do will not be used. Think about that.
That is the brutal truth. So you have to fall in love with the process and just love the moments
when you get to draw and choose those moments. That’s why if you like to draw then draw.
Don’t become a modeler if that’s not what you want to be just because it’s a way for
people to make a living. We create this world that we’re in and get good.
I love drawing. That’s why I refuse to do anything else.
Even specifically, I’ve actually chosen not to be...
chosen not to be going to illustration because I’m not an illustrator.
Although I do illustrate, I’m actually a designer of weird elements for living things, living creatures and things
for film. Because I love this part of it. I love inventing and going through all the
study and trying to figure out, you know, and actually trying to sort out the problems
for design. I love problem solving, coming up with new stuff.
Again, though, the thing is that, you know, the clients that you’re usually hired by,
they don’t want something too new. And so there is a lot to be said when Soloman said
with much study comes much misery because you could learn yourself into a place where
you know so much about what you do that you have learned yourself out of the average way
of thinking, and now you know too much. Now all you’re going to be is a miserable sack
with all this knowledge. But it’s okay. I’d rather be a miserable sack and know
all this stuff. I love actually studying. I love this part of it. This is the best.
I'm kidding about all that. Kind of. Misery.
You just keep on trying new things and presenting them to your clients, and sometimes they’ll
go for it, man, and sometimes they won’t. You have some directors and clients and they’ll
love you because of the fact that you’re being inventive. Even though they won’t
choose maybe some of the real far out stuff that you came up with, you can take pride
in the fact that you’re the guy that came up with that. And that’s cool. I mean that’s
a, you know, it’s like being the smartest guy in the class.
But you have to have a thick skin ecause they will not necessarily use all that cool stuff.
I’m thinking about the transition here between this roll of flesh
and now this tight kind of arm area.
See? Even the wrinkles, I mean you’re designing a rhythm even in that in the way
that they’re folding. And it might be a little stylized. It’s okay. It’s a drawing.
It’s not a photograph of a living thing. But actually, if you look in nature the rhythms
are there. And the way things roll around the volumes, you know, they kind of roll around.
If you have like, say, this can do a cylinder again. All your muscles are traveling around
that volume and connecting, and they’re all rhythmic, you know, going all the way
up the arms, you know. And they’re rolling around back into, you know, everything is
rolling around. The texture follows that. And it should. If you’re smart you’ll
find ways to plan this to where you’ll be able to still subdivide the arm and have texture
say on the back versus the front straight down the cylinder now looking at a profile,
you know, and say here is the ball of the shoulder, ball of the elbow, forearm and very human.
But say, you know, static character.
But how the texture divides, you know, the body.
Most animals, the rules are they have a thicker hide to protect the areas that are important, usually the front.
And the upper areas. You know, the belly is always kind of clean because it’s underneath and hidden.
Usually the top side is where all the texture is.
I’m showing off the back so this is where all the fun happens back here. In the front
you can have some stuff going on but it’s probably going to be, it’s going to be turned
down in volume than, let’s say, in contrast to the back. That’s where all the fun happens
back there texture wise.
I’m mapping it out again with some more stuff here.
I need to break this up so it doesn’t look robotic.
I'm just going to go with this stuff here for a while. Don’t mind me.
I’m just adding some surface here to break all this area up. I’m indicating. I’m not going
to sit here and render out all this stuff. I’m just going to indicate everything. We’d
We'd be here all night.
This is a rolling type of cross-hatching that I’m using.
Rolling, it’s kind of a scribble versus—and I’ve gone over this before in another lesson
But this lends toward the organic very well. It’s just something that honestly I didn’t
go to school to learn that. It’s just something that kind of developed over time as I got
much more comfortable rendering.
I’m staggering my lines a little to feel kind of texture-y here. I don’t want it to feel like baby fat per se.
Just trying to sort this stuff out down here really quick. I probably won’t get too much
into this because I don’t have enough space anyway. Let’s get that volume working though.
It’s a stronger hit when you use this pencil. It’s a real Prismacolor.
Just for some of these bigger volumes down here.
Now I know I’m off in my own world right now. I think I’ve pretty much—you can see where I’m going with this.
Just looking at trying to resolve a lot of these shapes.
Let’s get this guy going here. Just getting a piece of paper to put underneath my hand so I’m not smearing
all this drawing. It’s something to think about when you’re doing something this big.
You can slide it around. It won’t smear it as badly. It’ll still smear it because this is soft stuff,
but it won’t smear it as bad. I mean look at my hand. It’s got a lot of that blue ink on it.
You can see I started to use a really dark line here to emphasize the finished silhouette, but there were too
many little unresolved things here so I stopped, and I’m resolving them now.
The inside of the mouth. Trying to indicate some of the stuff on the inside there.
Fatty kind of, where the muscles are that push his flesh out from inside.
I’m giving this a strong outline to separate it because I have three layers here.
I have this line here which is more in the foreground. Middle ground is this tie-in.
Look at how strong that is right there.
Then you have that tooth way in the background. So you can play with your line and how actually chose not
to complete the line to create the illusion of air and space in between.
These are little tricks that you can play with...
in how to use line.
Okay, looking alright.
I’m just going with what I’ve started here with this. It feels like something, and I’m not quite sure yet
what that is, but I’m going with it.
Yes, it is this unplanned for all my professional gigs.
I mean you’re making up everything as you go. You’re flying by the seat of your pants.
You have a rocket put on your back, and you’re just, you’re flying forward.
There is nothing planned.
I mean there are ideas that you go with based on, say you have a loose description in a script, say.
But trust me; it’s pretty loose.
For Men in Black I was told what they wanted was something with a long trunk and big buggy eyes.
That’s when I came up with Mikey. I wasn’t going to put a long trunk on it, but I gave him a trunk.
I met all the requirements, but I just did it my way and met everything that they asked for.
Sometimes you have to put the brakes on and try to find a way to meet everything that they’re asking for
Because that’s our job. It’s to give the clients what they’re paying us for. But you have to find a way to make
it work and it be cool. Try to find with some of the, you know, some of the most limited descriptions and some
even horrendous descriptions of characters that, you know, your first impression of what they’re asking you to
do is man, there is nothing good about this. And you have to make it work and get excited about it too,
to make something cool and get everybody excited about it...
that you’re delivering that job for. You want everyone excited about what you’re giving them.
Another example is Edgar was never described as a bug in Men in Black.
He was never described as a bug. I think that he became the Edgar bug.
When they told me there was this giant alien and I decided to make him a bug,
and I said wouldn’t it be cool if it was a giant bug, and then we went that way. Then he became a bug.
I think that the script as it was being rewritten they rewrote it as the Edgar bug.
I don’t think that was even described as a bug.
I just thought it would be pretty cool and a never-been-seen-before kind of a thing.
So this is looking like a pretty cool rough.
You have to emotionally attach yourself to your work. And so if somebody comes by and just makes
off-the-hand comments about your work, that’s why we have the reputation of flying off the handle.
You have to control that and grow beyond all that. But you do have to be emotionally invested in your work.
Otherwise, it’s going to look like—it’s going to look dead and uninvested. Uninspired.
You’ll never come up with anything new. You just won’t.
I’m thinking of these kind of fatty kind of sacs maybe for venom or something. I don’t know.
That might be kind of interesting. If say their venom is kind of glandular kind of things on its body then what
we should do is say—and let’s see how we do that.
Some secretion holes.
Let me map them out first.
Now I’m stretching the skin pretty tight over this.
I don’t why but I think it would look kind of interesting.
That’s the fun part, not knowing necessarily where you’re going to go. And it’s scary.
I mean you can get scared or excited. You have to choose how you want to live your life.
I prefer to get excited about it. I find all the interest in this particular aspect of this kind of a job.
Especially if you’re on a schedule and people are paying you to do a job and you’re experimenting and
screwing around with stuff and trying to find new things. You know you can try something and maybe it
doesn’t work, and you just spent all that time on something that didn’t work.
That’s okay. You know what? Make it work.
You just turn around and try something. Actually, it’s good to learn by mistakes. By learning what doesn’t
work you’re actually—again, going back to what I said before about creating your language.
Those mistakes help for you to create that. Super important to make mistakes.
Let’s get this side going a little bit better, and then we’re good. Then we’ll have a good rough.
You see how I’m just mirroring everything on the other side. I’m looking right in the center.
I’m not looking at this side or this side. I’m looking in the middle.
And so everything is lying down in its proper place.
Take a cotton ball or cotton and I’m just going to blend this off a little bit.
You guys have seen me do this with alcohol, but I’m not using alcohol. Look, and it works.
Get that, not very hard.
And there you go.
Okay, guys, so I hope you enjoyed that demo. You can see that there is no science to this job.
It’s a process. It’s a creative process, so it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to evolve even when you’re
designing for a specific project. Don’t ever feel frustrated with what you’re drawing if it’s not working
out exactly as you envision in your head. Just do another one, another drawing. Maybe that one idea that
you had will yield many different ideas. You’ve got to love the process. Don’t look for the accolades of,
you know, from your clients or from any of your peers.
Enjoy the process of drawing and going through that. Thanks. We’ll see you again next time.