- Lesson details
In this drawing demonstration, creature designer and art director Carlos Huante shares with you his process of designing a creature from imagination. Carlos takes a different approach in this demonstration by beginning with thumbnail sketches to choose a design for his character. He will then do a long, detailed drawing, sharing his techniques and thoughts throughout and describing his typical process as well as giving tips for producing your own work in this field. Carlos will finish the demonstration by bringing the drawing into Corel Painter, where he will make corrections and finishing details.
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – Ultramarine
- Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil – Bleu Violet
- Kneaded Eraser
- Drawing Paper
- Corel Painter
- Wacom Cintiq Digital Tablet
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Transcription not available.
This is the pencil that I’m using today, Prismacolor, indigo blue.
I like this color.
It’s really close to black in value, but not black.
I’ve been drawing with this my entire career.
Today I’m going to start drawing these thumbnails here.
Say of a creature.
I do have an idea, actually, of something kind of a quadruped.
Something insect-y, I’m not sure yet.
I’m going to expose the imaginative process.
For those of you who are less experienced from drawing directly from your imagination,
this will help. So, let’s start.
You can see that I’m going to start drawing with volumes,
and I’m going to do a bunch of these.
This has kind of an anthropomorphic kind of feel.
I’m talking about the architecture of the head and maybe some of the anatomy here.
I’m thinking of a Tasmanian Devil maybe or a wombat.
Not quite. They would have more muzzle.
But I don’t have any of that reference in front of me.
I’m literally just drawing on the fly here.
The shoulder girdle pushed up.
There’s a quick little thumbnail that gives me an idea of something.
I’m not sure if I like it.
But there might be things that I can take from it.
Let’s go on to something else.
Okay, so now let’s try—if this is the character it’s going to be this small little guy.
Now I have an idea of more or less what I’m thinking that its overall architecture is
going to be like.
Say as far as like the anatomy.
I’m thinking that this thing is going to have this kind of—a quadruped character
is going to have this kind of anatomy here.
This is easy for me.
Now I know and I can start thumbing some of things that I don’t like.
I don’t like that head.
I’ll start getting into specifics.
Maybe I don’t like these arms or these leg per se.
Maybe they look too human.
I don’t know.
Maybe that’s fine.
Maybe it is a little human.
I’m not sure yet.
Just feeling around what I have over here already, and this is kind of I’m looking down.
If you look at the cylinder of what this is.
I’m drawing that probably a little less drastic.
I’m just trying to imagine what that would look like.
A different head, a different version because I’m not sure I like that.
I’m pushing the eyes.
Maybe it doesn’t have eyes.
Maybe it does have eyes.
You can see that I was drawing with this kind of a match grip I call it.
It’s an overhand way to draw.
It really helps for you to get a good swing when you’re drawing.
It’s really helpful just to do really quick little thumbnails like this.
This guy is looking way too cute for me.
Let’s get rid of the eye altogether.
Not that everything has to be horrific, but for my sensibilities…
I refuse to work on cute projects.
This is what happens.
Sometimes the thumbnail starts becoming a little drawing.
That’s okay because this is not going to be your finish.
You’re just kind of putting together ideas.
These aren’t necessary even for presentation.
This is just for you.
Try to make time whenever you’re designing anything for yourself during the process of
designing so that way you have some research.
This is exploration and research.
That’s all this is.
I’m just, I’m screwing around here to try to see what’ll work and what doesn’t work.
Sometimes you’re really cooking and man you don’t need any prep time.
There are some other days that, man, you need all the preparation and you can prepare most
of the time that you’re working on the project is preparation.
Finally, closer to the deadline you just…you know,
you’re finally in a good place and you deliver.
You’re never off schedule or anything.
It’s about the weight of where you actually spend your time on what, if that’s preparation
or the actual design.
The thing about this thing is that it’s become more of an animal than say a creature.
You can say, okay, well, do I like that?
No, I don’t.
So, I’ll say, eh.
I don’t like where this is going.
Let’s try something else.
I don’t like that head still.
I don’t know.
There is something kind of cool maybe up here.
Let’s play around some more.
Let’s plan a profile here.
I was judging how much muzzle I was going to give this thing.
I’ve got too short of a muzzle for this thing, which is what I don’t like here necessarily.
It doesn’t flow well.
It’s like you have this beautiful flow and then don’t …you know.
I do like the idea of this wrinkly mouth.
When you’re drawing this light it works.
If you get any darker, forget about it; it won’t work.
This is starting to say something to me now.
Okay, this is actually starting to say something to me here.
I don’t know what this is going to be yet.
I don’t know if I like—nah, I don’t think those work here.
Maybe they do.
I don’t know.
I do like the idea of this vulture kind of a cocking of the head.
That’ll work pretty interesting, I think.
Anyway, something like this.
Yeah, I’ll have to fix a couple of the things just for the anatomy to work.
Okay, so I think I’m going to probably use this with something like this.
And let’s make a drawing.
I’m going to change things still as I go. It just gave me a good place to say start.
Now I can see…
something about this head that I had here was just looking a little cartoon-y.
Even though I like it, I like the idea of something, you know, like a head cocked back and all that,
I just, I don’t know.
I’m working off of that idea. I’m going to mix it up a little bit.
I’m drawing with match grip—it’s a drummer’s description of this overhanded kind of,
because this gives me good swing.
I’m not necessarily thinking of anatomy per se, but I’m thinking of the volume groups that make up the anatomy
of this particular design. It’s a quadruped again.
I’m thinking of the way the scapula floats up, the way that it pushes on the flesh right here
on the sides of the spine, you know, riding up high.
The pretty weird looking creature thing. It’s really… I like that hump right there.
You know, sometimes when I’m doing this roughs I go through, I go through up to four or five layers of roughs
for one character. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to work through it. I’m not saying we’re going to do that now.
But sometimes I’ll just keep on going. Also, when doing that what you’re doing is you’re pushing out the fear.
Now you can do it digitally. You can take say this and scan it and not use a lot of paper, but there is something
about drawing and making the choice to push something rather than using undue or erasing things out
on a computer and having everything perfect because there is something about the way that you personally
move your hand on paper that you do not do with a Wacom tablet. It just doesn’t happen.
People have tried to convince me of that but it always falls short because I haven’t seen it happen yet.
I just see a lot of regurgitating of other people’s ideas, but I don’t see anything unique coming out
with the digital tool as the main source for design. I’ve seen the combination of this traditional drawing on paper
and using that and mixing it with digital as an illustration tool, but when it comes to design, man, if you’re making
a mistake that mistake becomes your signature. Mistakes are good. You can’t be afraid.
When you make a mark it’s all about how you move your hand.
It’s your personality too that’s coming out on paper.
I see really well-achieved, beautiful illustrations, but not a lot of individuality from mistakes
that you make while working on paper.
See, I went there. I went on my little digital rant because I was talking about how to keep on roughing
on over and over and over again. You can do it layers. Layer after layer after layer of roughs
and don’t be afraid to go there. That’s all I was trying to say.
This is looking pretty interesting now. Not so cute.
That's the ear hole.
The edge of the skull.
The base anyway of the skull right here or whatever this guy is.
Give him some strength.
whatever this thing is, and I’m thinking about it every step of the way, just thinking
about how everything is playing off of the other, so how that head now is working with
say, you know, the nape, the neck, and how that rolls into his shoulder, how that fits
on top of this rib cage and if these rhythms are all working.
Then how all that fits, you know, and how this flesh is reacting, the surface when these
These lines are all going in the direction of the energy of all these other lines, you
know, they’re thrusting back through this mouth area right
past the jaw line and into the neck.
know, they’re thrusting back through this mouth area right
past the jaw line and into the neck.
It’s got a good driving force.
It’s also goes with the design of the head.
You get good flow.
If you think about everything, I mean it’s the rhythm of the drawing, really, rather
than, say...and all the drawing is the anatomy.
That’s the meat of your drawing.
You’re thinking of the way everything flows.
That includes the surface all the way down to the bones of this flat 2D thing that’s
inside of there, creating this illusion that there is flesh here, right.
All this stuff has to flow.
You’re not just throwing stuff down and trying to achieve an anatomical study of something.
This is a drawing that is a design, you’re designing it.
What are you going to design?
Are you going to design, say, you know—I mean you can look at cars that way but I don’t
want to get too specific about it.
But you can look at a beautifully designed car that has beautiful flow
from every angle or you can look at a box.
Depending on—I mean if that’s what’s required for what the job is, if you have
to design a box, well, then, this doesn’t look like a box.
For the purposes of what I’m talking about here, I’m talking about flow and rhythm
and the way all these volumes actually work together.
You can contrast that by looking at a beautifully designed car versus a very boxy-looking car.
It would be kind of interesting if this guy had hinged teeth.
That’d be weird, huh.
Let’s push it back now.
It has a kneaded eraser.
I can feel you asking me why am I putting these little things here?
Well, I’ve seen animals that have a lot of texture around their muzzle.
Hairless rats, cats, guinea pigs; there is a lot of texture where their nose is and their muzzle.
Usually where whiskers would be or where they need that surface for their sense of detection.
They have like an extra-sensitive nose area.
I’m just erasing some of the work, the lay-up lines here.
I can get to the bare bones.
I’m drawing really light so I can get rid of a lot of stuff that I don’t need.
All my work lines, I can get rid of them.
It's all line. Now it's just lines.
Actually, let’s do that here too.
If you use this, you know, for those of you who don’t have the experience to know, if
you actually just press it down and roll it off it takes all the heavy stuff out.
If you have heavy lines that you don’t like it works pretty good.
It’s taken away.
It takes you back down without smudging your paper.
If I use a Pink Pearl it will take down probably a little bit more, but it could smudge.
This is probably the best eraser out there in my opinion.
There are others, but this one is really, really good.
It’s not really taking away that much more.
This particular pencil is very difficult to erase.
Now I know what I’m drawing here so I can actually draw it.
Now I can get creative with the particulars of everything because now I have a good map here.
I know what I’m drawing on.
I know what I’m designing.
Now I can actually start to think about the gross design, the whole big guy.
Now I start subdividing my attention now.
Is it going to start getting this guy together and all the particulars.
You have to be willing to commit to your design and get through the ugly parts which are not
necessarily inspiring all the time as you’re working through it,
and you just have to work through it.
Sometimes you’re looking at your design and you’re thinking this is not working,
and I don’t know what I’m doing.
You can get really discouraged sometimes.
You just have to keep on pushing through, as I was saying, through the ugly parts
and not give up.
Keep on working through until you get to the place where you start to see it.
That’s the commitment it takes.
Sometimes it requires you to get through the rough spots of the design and through all
the things that you see that are just not working.
It could be, honestly, 50% of the time that you’re working it just isn’t working.
Sometimes it is.
You do have to turn it off and move on and try something else.
Or, you can commit.
Get that one done and move on to the next one.
And say you look at that one and you still don’t like it, or maybe you will like it
later, it’s just that you didn’t like it at the time.
I’m telling you from my experience anyway, I worked through all the really hard and ugly,
discouraging moments of the design and just keep on working it until I find something.
Sometimes I just throw it away and try again.
I honestly think it’s better to commit to it even if it isn’t necessarily working
for you, but to work through those hard times and the ugly moments of the design.
the whole ugly period. Because it helps you to start committing and making choices.
Throughout all the demos I think I say it because it’s important, and I don’t think
people really commit to a choice.
Instead, they just throw it away and start again.
I don’t know.
I just don’t think that that’s the way to do it.
It’s good to learn how to make a choice, make a right choice.
What you’re doing is training yourself to get it right by making those mistakes and
committing to it all the way in.
Some people can’t do that and they fall apart and they get really, really bummed out.
I think that it is really important to work through it, to train yourself to make choices
and to learn really good decision making.
You get more accurate as you’re working.
You know, as you become a professional, for those of you who are still in training, you’re
training yourself to actually be more accurate by working through those really discouraging
moments in the design.
When I was doing the thumbnails earlier, but it really wasn’t working for me.
What it did is it gave me a base of what I was going to actually draw.
Now I know it’s going to be something like this.
Okay, now I can design something within that world.
This thing looks nothing like those other things.
But it does.
It has elements.
It has a quadruped.
It has the round eye pushed up toward the front.
The head is not cocked up like it was in that rough
where you had the turkey vulture kind of neck.
I thought that was looking too cartoon-y.
This seems to flow more for me.
Another thing is now let’s get specific and talk about this.
I’m designing this flesh here.
I know what the anatomy is here.
I know what this architecture is.
I know what this head is.
But, I’m not designing an anatomical study of this creature.
It is a lot like a lot of the dinosaur illustrations you see.
There were some that actually literally laid skin right over the bones, and it was a hyper-emaciated
looking monster, you know, because the threw the flesh directly over the bones.
The thing about flesh is that it has its own personality.
I’m talking about the skin, the fat that’s over the muscle.
You can learn the muscle, but what about the flesh.
What about the actual flesh?
For example, here is the jaw of this character right here.
It’s cutting through.
You have the eye bone and the cheek arch coming over here.
I know what that is, and I know what these muscles do and how they’re wrapping up and
grabbing around to give this guy strength down here. I know that.
But what is the flesh doing on top of that?
Well, I want that muscle to be really round and fatty, and now I’m looking at kind of
a three-quarter, looking down, and say those are the eyes.
Something like this anyway.
I want it to happen these huge—
spread the eyes out more evenly.
I want to have these huge volumes right here that give this head personality.
If you like this anatomy, say, your design and you just laid it right over the bones,
you’d probably have something like this, really skinny.
This stuff has personality so give it some and design whatever you want.
Maybe you didn’t want that. Maybe you do want this.
Maybe you even want it more emaciated looking and you cut in.
Then you fan out the back of the head, which means that there would be a cast shadow right here.
Maybe you fanned out the back of the head.
Maybe these guys would weigh down or just pop right here, which means that in the front
three-quarter, looking down you’d have these kind of weird bag—or not bags, but just
hard volumes that shoot out right here.
Think about this guy, think about whatever thing you’re designing in the round.
You’re designing everything.
You’re not just designing one view.
As you’re working even in one view, say in presenting this in one view, you’re designing
the front view here.
So think about all of it.
If you need to do these little drawings, do them.
Experiment up here and look at what works for you and describe that here.
Just adding some texture there.
This is just my choice, just something I feel I want to do.
I mean there are certain things that I can talk about and teach you through the process
of doing this, and there are some things that—and this is what I was getting at earlier in talking
about choices and working through—is that you learn your language.
Your drawing language has to come from making mistakes and making bold ones.
You can make them by yourself at home while you’re drawing.
Making public ones is good too, though, because you’ll never forget those.
You have to be willing to let go of your pride, what you think about yourself
and just want to get better,
It’s not easy to do that.
Look at this.
Just because I was working I made a bunch of lines here.
I have something to work from.
See, there was an accident right here.
I see this because it’s my language, my art language.
This is the way I talk with my hand.
I like all this kind of repetitive kind of stuff here.
This kind of detail.
Can I make sense of that?
Yeah, I can say that the surface, you know, it’s just the way that the fat builds up
around the muscle right there.
I do like the idea of this having some hinged type of teeth.
That would be pretty cool.
I’m breaking up all the primary shapes now.
For example, if you have, say, just this shape, right, it’s fun to look at.
I mean, it’s cartoon-y right?
If you stop there and just added some circles, simple.
You can design a cartoon version of this guy.
Once you start breaking up these primary shapes and start subdividing
all the shapes it starts to look more real.
I just broke it up and gave it like the jaw muscle and say the end of the skull right here.
There is the neck, the nape, the neck.
Don’t ask me the names of all these muscles.
Okay, so I just subdivided it again.
The volumes that are going right underneath the surface, so once you get into the surface,
I mean I can start breaking up this form, all these little forms in here.
The more I do this, the more real the character will be as long as my subdivisions are accurate.
What I mean by accurate is that they make some anatomical sense.
You do have to understand the way anatomy works.
You’re not studying to be a doctor, and you don’t have to know anatomy to the point
where you know every single muscle, because honestly, I do not.
It’s not about that for me.
It’s about the way the light is hitting the sculpture here and how the forms are reading.
It’s a sculptural thing, I guess.
I’m going to get rid of some of the work lines there.
It’s like I was doing over here, and I am doing it but I’m doing it really fast over here.
See, it went from cartoon-y to starting to read.
The more I do that, the more I break everything up and start reading and illustrating the
light hitting all those subdivisions, the more real than this guy is going to start looking.
This is really a good, basic thing to know.
This is really important.
You play this over again and really try to learn what I meant there.
Draw cartoon-y shape and then subdivide it.
Subdivide it again.
Then look at and study animal bones and look at the architecture on those skulls and all
the armature of the entire animal.
Then look at the way the muscles lay on top of that.
Learn all of that stuff.
It’s not about the anatomy.
It’s about the way all those volumes work together in groups.
I kind of bunched that all together.
My point is simply about the cartoon-y and breaking up those primary shapes.
There’s not really a whole lot to say. There is so much going on in what I’m thinking.
I know what I want this thing to do, and I know that these teeth will be literally, they move.
The top ones, they can do that kind of a thing.
I know that I have a hinge here for each tooth, but you’re only going to see the outside guy.
That will probably create some sort of texture to the flesh here, I mean this skin surface.
I’m designing it and I want it to be in a good rhythm rather than just being a realistic wrinkle.
Real is good. That’s the goal if you’re working for film.
But in addition to real, you also want it to look interesting or cool, right? You have to make a choice.
Say, here is the arc, and say you’re going for—here’s totally real. Here’s your cartoon-y guy.
Where on this scale do you want the design. Cartoon-y let’s say, not cartoon-y, let’s say stylized primary shapes.
We’ll just call it cartoon-y. But not in a bad way.
I’m just talking about how it’s edited down to the most primary shapes, which is what cartoons essentially
are versus realistic where it’s subdivided all the way down. Every single little form has really been worked out.
You’ve got a realistic surface on the thing, everything, okay.
What do you want? I mean you decide where on the scale you want to be. I’m probably, I like to be
somewhere right here. To me, this is boring, and this doesn’t work in film because you can’t put an actor
in the same shot. But this has enough personality still leftover residue from the cartoon-y side and is real
and is still the piece of art. There is a reason for you to have done it rather than
just going and getting and animal and sticking it in the shot.
Not that this thing would exist anyway,
but you have to think about this in who you are and what kind of artist you are.
I’m here. You could be right here.
I love this leaning toward the cartoon-y side too only to edit down my stuff into its primary shapes
to have that much personality, and I guess that’s you would have over here is a lot of personality.
You have it stylized and you have personality on this side.
Here it’s realistic and so you get into documentary kind of anatomical
type of element here on this side. It’s real.
So this you have to gauge where you want to be on the scale from the cartoon-y to the realistic,
personality, all this sort of stuff over here. When I work in film, I tend to be right here. That’s just me.
You might want to be right here somewhere and have a little bit more cartoon-y personality. Actually, you might want to be right up realistic. That’s a choice.
This is part of your personality and who you are as an artist and the way that you speak artistically.
That’s a big deal. That’s a big choice you need to make. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal.
I’m saying the saying the same thing right here. This is huge.
Not a lot of people spend enough time making this choice in who they are.
ome do it intuitively. I’m just describing here what you should think about, though.
If you haven’t made this choice then you don’t know who you are as an artist.
This is what everyone will decide. Everyone will.
If you’re doing everything and you’re a jack-of-all-trades, you, in my opinion, are not an artist because you won’t
make any choices. You are an illustrator more than a designer then because you are able to do a bunch of
different styles and all that sort of thing. You’re not committing. You’re not speaking.
You’re a facilitator of other people’s ideas. That’s fine if that’s what you want to do.
But you have to know that this is a choice for an artist right here.
I’m not going to knock illustrators down. There are some phenomenal illustrators out there.
But for the purposes of what I’m doing here, I’m teaching, I’m talking about design and design choices,
so that’s why I’m going there here. Anyway.
This whole time that I’ve been sitting here I’ve been
thinking about what kind of pupil I’m going to stick in this guy.
If I had just given it a black eye it could have looked just—it wouldn’t have been anything special.
As a matter a fact, it would be dependent on how I would—that’s a lot bigger.
If it starts looking a little bit too cute, which is weird.
I don’t draw cute stuff. I don’t know why cute things are coming out of me right now.
I’m insulted by myself.
I mean if I had put, say, just a black dot in there, I wouldn’t have given this thing anything extra.
No extra personality at all. In my opinion, it would have driven it to be more naturalistic,
and that’s actually realistic. Actually, let’s call that naturalistic up here.
And we’re documentary. More naturalistic versus the design side, which is the cartoon-y side.
Some would call realism over here versus naturalistic.
I’ve heard arguments about this. Anyway, this is mine. This is what I’m saying.
Naturalistic, realistic, versus the cartoony personality explosion on this side.
Super gregarious type of stuff on this side versus a little more subdued, naturalistic, realistic.
Realism can actually be put on both sides, but I’m not going to confuse my graph here.
But anyway, that works.
I use these cotton pads to clean up the surface.
It does rub the pencil. You have to be careful. I mean I showed another demo many, many years ago
where I used alcohol and this. You can actually use it even without the alcohol and it really rubs this
pencil around. It’s pretty fun actually. I’m not going to do that here. Let’s just clean up the surface.
You can see it smudged a little bit. It does change the color. I’m not a fan of that either because I really like
this kind of a Prussian blue. It’s an indigo blue they call it.
It’s got a good serious kind of vibe about it, I guess you could say.
I’m pushing this area in, but I’m not just doing, you know, a color around the area kind of thing.
I’m actually looking at all the little forms that I have in here. I’m selecting them out, probably Photoshop people,
and I’m drawing them in the shadow
rather than just doing a blanket over everything then flattening everything out.
It’s a lot of work, actually, doing this.
One of the reasons that I wanted to do this is to show all the effort that it requires to do one design
and so people can see that.
It’s not just, you know, hey, look what I blew out. Here is something. It’s not that easy.
It takes a lot of thinking, a lot of work.
Even the stuff that I just put in here, you say, well, you know, how did you know to draw this thing.
Well, because I’ve been looking at things for a while, and you have them all in your head.
All that time is in here...
in every single thing that I do and you do.
You have hours of study and looking at things, not wasting your time.
That’s why you need to look at a lot of nature programs, planet earth and all those things that were done before.
And books. Books are better because you can actually sit and look at the pictures and study.
I mean you have the internet now. Books are better because you still sit and stare at that stuff
in front of you wherever you’re at, not necessarily in front of a screen.
I added these lines here because that mouth is going to open,
and so there are going to be some work lines here, surface stuff.
I’m not even call this a muscle volume. I just want it to be the flesh.
It’s the personality of the way that this character’s head works. If this was muscle say for that,
the ear hole would be say, right here. I’m going to put the ear hole right in here,
and I’m going to subdivide this form here which means that the actual muscles for the jaw
are somewhere in here and pulling back.
Let’s take this guy down now.
I’m trying to think of what the personality of this arm structure is
versus just being the anatomy of what this character has.
Pink Pearl, good one.
See how it cuts through? It is a strong eraser. Sorry, I’m talking with a pencil in my mouth.
Get rid of the elbow.
I mean, not as the joint, but as a volume.
Just waiting for the ideas to come as I’m working here.
I can tell you it was a kind of a, almost one of those a-ha moments when I saw the anatomy of a bull,
and it was a ecorché sculpture of a bull. It was a Laterie book, I think, on animals.
He has one on human heads and then one on animals. When he laid out the bull, say the skeleton and then
added the anatomy to it, but then he added the surface, the skin, there were all these fatty swirls everywhere,
and that completely blew my mind into the next level of thinking.
The anatomy isn’t it—I mean it’s the entire thing. There is personality to the surface of that flesh.
It’s not just laying anatomy down.
What is the flesh? What is the personality of the flesh for that particular animal even? Pretty interesting stuff.
It made me really think a lot more about everything that I design.
Coming up with the cool shapes is essentially the shape of the character.
I mean everybody is now doing the same skinny, long-armed figure.
The long arms, big forearms.
That’s been done. There has to be something else. That was a personality for that particular character.
It doesn’t mean that every single character is going to have that same structure. It has to be something else.
People have to really look at things a lot more. There is more to design out there.
Not the same stuff over and over and over again.
It’s hard to describe all this stuff especially as I’m drawing here.
But, big deal.
Think about the surface of the character that’s got personality as well as the structure.
There is a little rise that I added up here at the beginning.
I had already made this really dark line though. We’ll do our best.
Anyways, that’s what this whole thing is about.
It’s going through the process of making mistakes and moving forward.
Getting rid of more of these working lines that I have here. Don’t need them.
Getting rid of all the working lines that I have here. Now I know where I want to go.
So, kneaded eraser. Very, very good thing.
When I’m working on drawings like this, I jump all the way, I jump back and forth.
I’m still not done with that head. I’ll keep on going with that. I want to get all this other stuff caught up.
I want these volumes to have energy. I don’t want them to just lie there and be naturalistic descriptions
of the shape. I like things to have a lot more life, so I go up here. Even here sometimes in my layup.
Sometime in my layup I actually even go here to be very cartoon-y.
So by the time I add all these elements that are realistic on top of it, and it waters it—I shouldn’t say
waters it down, but it actually dries off somewhere here, not all the way here.
If I start with my layup somewhere here and very naturalistic, it’s going to be here and even further out into
the lands of the Mohave somewhere. You don’t want it that dry.
You want life in your stuff because, otherwise, you can just go take a photograph of an animal and Photoshop it.
I like this weird little fatty thing right over the elbow. That’ll work too.
He can walk upright and kick that thing up and walk on the balls of his feet.
Get to know where the floor is; otherwise, everything is hitting the ground in weird places. Now you know.
I’m still not sure about that one. Actually, I think I’ll be working on that one off and on.
I’m not sure I liked the weight ratio between this being this thickness and that thickness.
This is the way that I do, and I’ll do the layers. I’ll do multiple layers, sometimes up to four or five, depending.
I mean, again, and I said this earlier, you use Photoshop now. But I’m going to do it in a traditional way
versus digital and show how I put this all together later.
But I’ll do these experiments in analog here. I’m just going to continue on here.
Rat head. Neck.
Because I had so much, sometimes the build-up gets so strong that you can’t erase anymore.
Especially this pencil, this Prismacolor one, this type of paper.
That’s why I decided to do an overlay. Especially in the blockout stage.
I might take this far before I go here and start playing around with little experiments.
But usually it’s in the primary shape kind of phase of the design that I’ll do a bunch of overlays
to see what’s working and what isn’t.
When you do these overlays you have to make sure that you don’t have any eraser pieces underneath.
I don’t have any here. It looks pretty good.
Sometimes you get them under there. You get these little dark knots that’ll show up as you’re drawing,
so you have to make sure that if you do this overlay that there is nothing underneath because you’ll end up with
all these pesky little black things that’ll show up. It’s raised on the surface of the paper, so your pencil is going
to hit that. That one little dot will turn out black.
Trust me, that’ll bug you. That little thing will bug you.
I’m thinking of the anatomy. That’s what the volume is. It’s the shoulder and the specialized bicep area contained
underneath this fat where the triceps group and how it attaches to this scapula.
I’m designing the flesh right now but trying to keep all this stuff in mind, this anatomy.
I don’t want to suggest too much of the musculature.
I want it to be there, but I don’t want that to be the focus.
I want the surface of the skin to have a strong personality.
One design that I did many, many years ago, I spent a month on one drawing, one view.
Not multiple views, but working that one view out.
It’s one of the better things that I’ve ever done, and it was because we spent all the right amount of time.
All that time was spent on the right thing, I should say. It was on the design.
Not on just rendering the surface, but it was on working all the little elements and making sure that all the parts
worked together. Honestly, we could have kept on working. I could have kept on working on that thing
because there was so much to sort out in clay.
We never got there though.
It would have been mind-blowing to see that kind of a thing realized.
So, I’m saying that to say take your time. It’s not about drawing fast.
I know the big thing is speed drawing with a lot of the young people.
Honestly, the only way that speed matters is if you’re accurate. If you’re just practicing working fast
and all your work is useless, what’s the point?
Work slow. Study your design. I prefer to work accurately and not waste my time.
I have more fun spending time on design and working areas out than having to work and get a bunch of stuff
done. I do not like to do a bunch of designs for a movie.
I have done a lot of design on particular projects where they could not see anything.
Because of that I had to do a lot of design, a lot of drawings for the clients.
But, I prefer that if I have an idea that I go after that idea rather than sitting around.
It’s funny because you see some clients think that it is fun for us to just explore, but if I don’t have an idea
from anybody as to what I’m exploring, that is an open field and that could be thousands of miles wide.
It could be six miles. I have no idea. I don’t know. That’s not fun.
I like to know what I’m doing, and I like to spend time on it.
And so to get through this part of the process, to sort out what it is and then spend time working out all
the particulars and then render the surface, that’s fun.
Because then you know what you’re working on. You know that you’re making something better instead of
just fishing around and spending all your time in something that is just going to get,
it’s just going to be one of many. That’s not fun. It’s fun actually working on something.
Take your time that it’s going to matter. Practice taking your time. Don’t get all hung up on speed.
I now I kind of went off there.
Take your time and enjoy the process.
The process is the fun.
That’s looking like something kind of interesting. It’s a possibility here.
This can go on for a while. I’m just going to try to move on through it.
I’m working on the anatomy less here. They’re going to attach on this anatomy that I’ve designed here.
Again, I always say this, but I’ll say it again, you’re not studying to be a doctor,
so you don’t need to study anatomy to that degree, but you should know it.
You should know enough of it to know how it all works.
To know what the lat does and how it connects and how it works for a quadruped versus a biped and all that sort
of thing. It’s really important because it helps you accent,
and it actually helps you to make your work look more believable.
Once you know it, then you can start thinking about the surface, not just what’s underneath
because that will be already in you. It won’t be your main focus.
You can actually be an artist and be creative rather than just thinking about all the mechanics in the front.
Instead of thinking about what parts go as far as the anatomy go, you know,
learning about how everything connects.
You already have that in your head. You’ll have looked at filleted animals and humans to know what those parts
are, and you can put that in the back of your eye so to speak. In the foreground you are able to look at the
creative part because you know how to swim around all that knowledge.
I’m trying to judge whether or not I’m going to hang this leg back and switch it up
and then drag this other leg forward instead of the way that I had it.
And why not?
I’ve got a weird back leg with that space.
It has more of a very heavy feel to it, which in the back of my mind is what I was trying to get.
With all this weight here, this weight, it feels like a bigger animal rather than a little guy.
Where the pelvis connects.
Now, when you’re designing this kind of a leg it’s really complicated.
If you’re looking at a more naturalistic take on it—remember my little thing up here.
A lot of people, and I’ve seen this actually quite a bit. They design a leg like this,
and they think of it as a cylinder.
Actually it’s more elliptical and maybe even top-heavy.
I’ll cut away a cross-section of it, looking right at it.
Something like this versus this. This versus this.
This couldn’t even fit on this animal because this stuff will have to ride up and come up here.
It’ll intersect with the rib cage and the body will get in the way. This guy will look like he’s got these giant legs
sticking out of the body. These giant legs will stick out. He wouldn’t even be able to stand.
Like or lion or anything quadruped, their legs lie straight down.
Really pretty, actually. Really beautiful even though they’re boxy looking. I mean lions are boxy looking.
They have these really beautiful limber rib cages with a lot of space,
and there is a lot of movement between the rib and the hips.
Not that this character has any of that.
I’m getting caught up in the discussion of this kind of a leg which usually lions have pretty well-defined—
I mean you can look at a dog, you know, a dog has a stiffer rib cage to the pelvis.
But still, they have the same kind of—I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same architecture, but it’s kind of similar in
the cutaway or the cross-section is really not a true cylinder.
Keep that in the back of your mind as your working on this stuff and design the entire thing,
the entire creature as you’re working one view.
That’s all the right girth. That’s looking pretty good.
I’m going to work this leg out a little bit now.
I’ll tell you, it doesn’t hurt to break out reference, photo reference or books on animal anatomy.
I do all the time. I have things open while I work. You can’t remember everything. .
Especially after you get to a certain point in your design and you know where you want to go.
You can have a good photograph of an animal flexing in just the right way in the right light.
That can be very inspirational. I use that kind of stuff all the time.
Does this short of a bend exist in nature? No. I mean, it might. But not for a giant animal like this thing.
It’s not necessarily a giant in its height and size; I’m saying giant in that there is no rat
that is four feet to the shoulder. Whatever, you know.
To weight it properly I’m giving it some sort of dog-size paws.
This is actually what I was mostly concerned about.
I actually like some of the other stuff I have underneath. But these guys actually look better.
So, now that I’ve done this—that’s pretty good.
Alright, there is that guy.
I decided there were elements to both layers that I liked, but in the original there is
something that I like even more than the experiment that I tried in the overlay.
So I brought it in here into Painter in layers.
I like working in Photoshop, but I do really enjoy painters.
There is a sensitivity that I enjoy about painter.
So here we are.
I have the overlay open, and I’m going to erase—let’s see if I can get this.
There we go.
I like this leg a little bit better.
Let’s get rid of this.
Here is some of that.
Get rid of that.
There are things that I like about this leg that I want back in.
For me this works a lot better.
Something about the torso, too, from in the way that the line is working.
I’ll show you really quick here in the original.
It’s something that even though this has a really nice flow, and let’s just undo
it so you can see what I was I’m talking about.
See this line here?
This is cool.
It’s a nice line, but you see how it changes the attitude of the character?
This one is almost a little bit more frumpy and a little bit more—I don’t know, something
very underground about this character versus how aggressive this becomes.
I didn’t want that for this character.
I didn’t want this character to see like it’s that aggressive of a shape, you know,
it’s kind of a like a hot rod shape versus, you know, a good off-road vehicle with this one.
Anyway, so let’s go back and erase this stuff again.
I’m erasing in this way because I’m being very selective about what I’m getting rid of here.
There are elements that I like that are still on the underneath layer that I want to keep—I
mean on the upper layer that I want to keep.
There we go.
A little bit more to get rid of, and then we’re good to go.
I think that’s my version that I’m going to work from here.
This I can work with.
So, I have an opaque layer up here on top, which is just a normal layer.
I mean you can work it however you want.
This is what I prefer to do for this demo here.
Now I’m just going to start carving in some of the breakups and subdividing some of these
forms and see where that leads me.
You see I’m loosely just drawing around and filling out established kind of rhythms
that I have here.
I can find the anatomy that way.
Instead of thinking like a doctor I’m thinking more as an artist here.
That’s how I approach the anatomy.
You have to understand basically where the anatomy lies, all the parts.
People kind of overdo it.
If you want to overdo it because you’re really just interested in the study, that’s
cool; I’m all fort.
I mean I geek out and I study anatomy sometimes.
Then I’ll forget because there is a long space of time in-between from when I actually
tried to use everything that I learned, I memory of names and all that sort of thing.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Then I forget because I stop applying all the names.
Find a good, gray-blue here once and for all.
To be consistent I’m not going to go into the full render of this character either.
Most of these, all these demos, they’re mainly about the drawing.
Let’s see how easy it is to eliminate things versus the traditional way of working,
which is usually you have how forgiving the paper is going to be.
I’m trying to get some of this action line back in.
I’m not really varying the brush size here, you can tell.
I’m just kind of going with the same brush size.
I’ll do that later, you know?
Little kind of accents that I want to make.
Right now I’m just trying to get the—keep the flow going of all the parts that I like.
Every subdivision has form.
Some people won’t draw that way, and they get incredible results that way.
I prefer to think of everything in the same way so it looks consistent.
I’ve seen people who change their mode when they work on surface detail.
I don’t know.
I prefer to keep my though process consistent.
I think it adds to the flow of the character and the flow of the drawing.
Let’s pump the rib cage up right there.
Just selecting back the white and the blue here.
The blue is inconsistent.
You can see it’s all grayed out in some areas.
You can come back in and check your color and equal it all out if you want later.
Essentially, I’m just drawing grays like this little weird kind of shape here.
Let’s see, let’s break this foot up a little bit.
This can go on and on and on, man.
The subdivisions of forms.
This is actually a lot of fun, but you have to have the patience to do something with this.
I can’t see any other way of doing my work, to be perfectly honest.
I mean it’s a cheat if you don’t put the time in.
Then you’ll be offering something that just doesn’t work.
It may look beautiful, but can anyone make it?
The information is not there.
To be legitimate you have to be an honest designer, see, of anything living for any
sort of entertainment is going to go beyond you and to the next guy that’s going to
have to do some work and realize your design.
You have to be honest.
Give them an honest design, something that is actually not just fluffery.
That’s a word I just made up there.
I hope you guys like that one.
Try to get these knuckles to read.
Big knuckle, skinny fingers.
I’m just going to hint at these.
Okay, so let’s see.
I’m just going to nail some of this down.
This guy is going to have like a really fatty kind of thigh.
The flesh is really hiding a lot of the bone, but you want to keep the accents all in there.
Same with this.
I have these fatty little parts here.
Do you know what I mean?
Really interesting masses.
If you look at a lot of animals, and you look at their anatomy and you look at their skeletons,
I mean the common one is the elephant and the trunk, and you know, the saying that no
one would have ever designed—just based on the skeleton—they never would have given
it such a long trunk.
Same thing with say you’re looking at a bull, and you look at the anatomy of a bull,
if people didn’t know what a bull looked like and didn’t have any real reference
for that bull, they would look at that skeleton and put the anatomy right over the skeleton
and not think about the surface.
I’m not talking about the skin texture.
That’s a different thing altogether.
I’m talking about the surface, the flesh itself.
It has its own personality.
That animal, it’s a very active animal.
It’s a bull, right?
But it has all these crazy, swirly, fatty little knobs all over its front end, actually,
mostly around its front end and some hanging bits on the back.
But, it’s pretty strong looking in its rump area.
In the upper torso it has all these crazy little fatty swirls up in the chest area and
around the back of the armpit kind of area.
Just check it out.
It’s really beautiful, actually.
I mean they’re all different.
Some have more in the front.
Some have more up in the front that hang, you know, which I’m going to add a little
bit right here for this guy.
Then back here there’s nothing.
So, it’s a strange reference for a character like this.
But, you know, I’m making this guy up so I can say whatever I want.
If it’s a big character—
I’m actually creating the rules for this character by saying
that this is a big character even these posed this way.
It’s got these kind of feet.
It’s a big character.
Maybe I can make up rules like the bones are very open and windowed so they’re light
regardless of how big this character is.
It’s looking pretty good so let’s do this now.
Give me a bigger brush.
Let’s see what happens.
That’s too big.
I’m just going to make some broad strokes here.
I was just looking at every little bit that I wanted to keep with the way I was drawing
with the small brush.
Now I’m just going to come in and commit to bigger things that I want to see here.
The cool thing about being able to scan your drawings in, you can commit to stuff and this
will evolve too.
I do this, this is actually the way that I work most of the time for production.
I’ll scan my images in and then rework them in Photoshop.
I feel much more detail control when I’m working with the pencil to map out my image,
but I like working this way.
It’s interesting because when you have a drawing and you think it’s pretty well resolved
scan it in.
Then when you’re looking on it on a screen from some reason it doesn’t look very clean.
You can do that with anyone’s drawing.
The tightest rendered drawing, once you scan it and you look at it, you know, you can find
all these weird little things that you want to correct.
I think it’s just the nature of this sterile kind of tool, you know?
I’m just pulling things out that I wanted to keep.
I didn’t want to lose these little bits.
This entire character here was a total, you know winging it.
Then from the original there it was.
Then I did this.
I added that and I kept that.
Now I’m cleaning up all the shapes that I liked here.
Now I’m just committing here to where I want, what I want over the other.
Soften this guy up a little bit.
Soften that guy up.
Start getting this guy down there.
Just joining all these things together because I have my map now.
I’ve been saying through all these demos, the map is, you know, that’s the work.
This other stuff is tedious, you know, the rendering.
Some artists actually get bored during the render.
In the old days with all the master sculptors, the render would be offered to, I think, one
of the pupils because it was like the cherry on the cake.
It is tedious, you know.
The inverse of that is true, too, where sometimes the sculptors would just not let anyone touch
the final because it is tedious, the actual rendering.
The real interesting part is actually coming up with the map.
That’s where the fun is.
Actually, in sculpture it’s the same way.
When you’re blocking a sculpture out it goes super fast, and people come by and go,
ooh, ahh, wow, look at that.
When you get the detail everything slows down, you know.
Why am I talking about sculpture while I’m doing a drawing?
Well, because actually, from my perspective, I see it all the same.
When I draw I actually see it as a sculpture.
I’ll talk about my drawings in a way that would be closer to what a painter would want to hear.
A painter would talk about value and color or value, essentially pushing value.
I look at it and I always say this, even to my students.
I say let’s talk about it as form.
I want them to believe what they’re throwing down.
I want them to believe what they’re actually drawing is really there.
Just creating some pockets here.
All I’m doing is just scratching the pencil—or this virtual pencil—and I’m using one brush.
I’m using just this digital airbrush too, and its default or its stock mode.
Nothing special here.
Let’s see, bring some of that over here.
There is some surface to this guy.
Making up a joint here with a weird little kind of buildup around it.
I don’t even know what to call that.
Let’s go over this.
I think I have something over here I like.
Decimate this shape.
I have the basic construct underneath there that I can actually—you know, this thing
that I like so I can keep that going.
That surface actually just breaks it up so it doesn’t look so sterile.
Again, I mean there are levels.
You can keep on going with this and break this up, break this up all the way down, and
you keep on going all the way into this thing and breaking it up.
I’m only going to take this so far because, otherwise, I’ll be here for a week.
I know a lot of people talk about getting their beautiful little renders all done nice
and fast, and I see it social media especially in people egging each other on.
I really preach against that because what you’re doing is you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Also, you’re helping to create and air and devalue the work that you’re doing.
The work that you do counts.
You’re telling everybody that it’s not that valuable
because look at how fast I can get it done.
The knowledge that people get that they work for, you know, to be able to work at a fast
pace is part of every single drawing that goes out there.
In saying that, I’m saying that drawing didn’t take as long as it did at face value.
I mean he has spent very little time to do it.
The knowledge that you had to get to be able to pull that off is also part of the cost
of that drawing, and you can’t play it down.
If you want to tell artists that for their own, for themselves, they can get something
done at a reasonably fast pace.
Remember, students aren’t the only one reading
your blogs when you’re putting them on public pages.
Those producers are reading that, and they’re getting the wrong idea.
They’ll think that these artists just like to complain, and they really can get it done
a lot faster, a lot cheaper.
The entire industry will pay for it.
For someone naively talking about how fast they work.
In addition to the fact that most of the work that I see that’s done that fast suffers
from a lot of naïve choices because they had to work so fast,
or they’re trying to do something.
Switching to the back leg.
This is a new form of this tool for me too, here that I’m working in, so I’m
actually feeling the tool out itself.
And see where it leads me.
I’m drawing in a way that this tool kind of makes me feel like I want to draw.
Where when I draw with the pencil you can see how I’m gliding the pencil.
With this thing, I seem to want to do this motion and buildup.
It’s kind of interesting.
Every too does that for me.
It kind of inspires a different motion with the hand.
There is my scapula right there.
Just trying to map this guy out a little bit stronger.
That was a pretty weird thing, huh?
I’m thinking of trying a drawing tool here, but I think I’m just going to stay with
this brush. I’m just going to…let’s see.
I’ve got some hair right here on the ridge.
Don’t ask me why I’m making this choice.
It’s a natural thing.
Most animals have a ridge.
Maybe that’s why I’m making it.
I thought it would be a good joiner as I want to bring this head now and integrate it into
this body that I’ve blocked out here.
This guy has a weird hole for his ear.
That is pretty weird and cool.
I like the rattiness of it.
Just drawing in white to break up the lines so that way I get a better blend.
Actually, I lose that line by adding some white in here.
crisping it up a little bit.
The resolution of those, it tends to look a little bit blurry.
You can come in and crisp it up with a smaller brush.
Just accent it in the right spot so you keep kind of like that nice, almost painterly quality
about it, which I prefer, to be honest with you even though I don’t look at it as a painting.
That one, both of those lines got away from me.
I’m just trying to salvage this vein here.
That’s looking cool.
Okay, so look what I’ve done so far, and where we’ve started and all the way back.
This is where I started.
Then I added these little changes that I kept.
These are the ones I kept.
I erased a lot.
I got rid of the forearm and the leg changes that I started.
Then I went here.
I mean with the drawings, as your base you can move pretty quick.
I’m just going to get rid of some of these construction lines here.
I’m laying down some middle ground, so I have something to use here.
Then I’ll show you what I mean.
I wanted this form here.
I didn’t want it with a black line.
So I’m going to use like a white, a grayish white to give me a stronger
read for the tops of these forms.
Anyway, I’ll sit and work that thing over forever.
I’m finding the color of the paper here.
This paper is a little bit on the yellowy side.
Just trying to keep some flow in here.
I don’t know what these guys are going to be.
I’m just measuring the floor here.
There is a –I mean you can choose a technical way of doing that, and you can just draw it out.
You can see how far off…
The one thing about this is that if you want to really get anal about this, you could choose
the footing, which would never measure out.
If it’s too even then what you’re doing is giving me a dead view of the character.
I don’t actually mind that they don’t line up completely.
A lot of the times, say, the forearm of this foot, the front foot might actually line up
where the footing might be in the center.
It’ll be higher up, actually, not lower.
Depending if he has a wide stance with these front, he may misstep and it may be coming
out at you kind of thing.
So, I’m just going to leave these as they are.
I’m not going to worry about that too much.
Let that be a thing.
Look at how wide he is.
Look at how far out that is. That foot.
And how narrow these are on the back.
Getting too scratchy there.
You’re getting the idea right.
You just keep on going.
This I can take all the way into the full-finish render of who this guy is...
yeah, which for the purposes of time, I’m not going to go there.
What am I accenting here?
I see a form starting here, and so I’m accenting it and indicating the surface a little, all
at the same time.
There is a point where you’ll come to when you’re working that you’ll be able to
do that as you move along.
I wouldn’t say it’s going to be the first thing that you’re going to be most successful at.
If you’re just starting to draw, even if you have some experience and you’ve never
done that before, you have to know what you’re accenting before you can actually do that.
If you understand what I’m saying.
I’m kind of indicating the rib and sternum connection here
very lightly with this reflected light.
A little bit hot right there.
Closer to the form.
Checking on all these little things that I started here.
Working with even a smaller brush.
I’ve blocked it out, and from far away it looks pretty good.
But, if you keep on zooming in...
you’ll see how loose everything really is.
Fortunately, this drawing actually was a pretty good size, so the scan picks up everything.
Working that big you don’t let anything go.
If you’re working smaller you can let a lot of stuff go and the drawing can actually
scan very loose.
But the bigger you work, you have a tendency to really concentrate on your areas working
that drawing because you can see it.
It’s a lot better.
And so everything looks pretty clean.
It didn’t fall apart.
I’m just trying to integrate everything.
Let’s look at this guy a little bit.
I like the foot that I had before in the re-draw, but I didn’t like the orientation, so you know...
So it was wrong.
Now, wait a minute.
A little nub on the inside.
Still trying to figure out what the construct of these are going to look like.
I don’t want them to be just standard default.
Some very strange joints.
Don’t ask me what I’m modeling these after.
I understand the way a foot works, the way the hand works.
I am making something else up as I go.
Just cleaning up this edge a little bit.
A manual clean up.
It looks pretty good, actually. And so I’m going to leave it right here.
That’s pretty much the character.
I would actually even turn it in like this, with all the scratch lines and everything
on it as a version. So, there it is.
Hey, guys, so I hope you enjoyed that.
There are a lot of things that I tried.
If you noticed at the beginning I chose one thumbnail that I didn’t actually go with.
There is a reason for that.
I felt like I was revisiting something that I had already done for myself.
I didn’t want to do that.
I wanted to try something new and be as honest as I could.
You guys have seen me create something from nothing.
I didn’t want to just cheap out and do something that I had already done.
You know, you could see how I try different things. Spontaneous.
Try different things. It’s just being an artist.
You try different things.
You don’t get stuck in one mode, one way of working, in other words.
I like to try everything and bring everything that I know how to do into the process.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it.
Try it at home.
Try different things.
Free to try
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
18m 18s2. Creating Thumbnail Sketches
12m 20s3. Establishing the Lay-in
14m 46s4. Creating an Eye Shape
17m 12s5. Designing the Face and Mouth
11m 59s6. Balancing between "Cartoonish" and "Realistic"
23m 54s7. Developing the Flesh and Feet
17m 18s8. Using Tracing Paper as an Overlay for Corrections
24m 20s9. Finishing up Corrections
21m 38s10. Using Corel Painter to Combine Drafts
17m 31s11. Rendering the Forms
22m 54s12. Finishing Touches