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Character Design

Happy New Year!
I'm here now, after all this time, to show you some sketches made with pen that I drew to try (and find) beautiful designs from characters. Following the Fisiognomony studies, I started from the animal faces to define their personality and the best shape for them. As you may know, the results above are part of a big process and thousand of drawings to attempt to do a good shape, and a consistent character. Angeli, actually, one of the best skilled cartoonist in the world, said once, that he draws hundreds of cartoons to find one which he really likes and send to his publisher.

First of all, I followed the Fisiognomony studies. That ancient knowledge tried to anticipate a personality of men and women through their similarities with animals. We can observe this in some Rubens' drawings, the "lion-man", or Bruegel's grotesque characters. You can find more information about this ancient way of knowledge in Jurgis Baltrušaitis and his great essay in the book Aberrações.

In the drawing (first step) I've tried to define the character's line action and the pose. At this step is not important to concern about the details or clothes of the character. We have to see the pose clearer than other things, and fix the character, no more in this step.
The next step is to define the character's final volume, and we can do it through a rough line, like that made in the step one. Here, we draw the body and some details loosely. Then we draw the lines which will be responsible to give the character its final volume, pose and details. At this moment, this work is similar to Clean Up Animator's job. In animation all the details don't need to be drawn on the same sheet. However, as this work is a character design, and I’m drawing on paper (not in a computer software) I can do it on the same sheet. Of course, when I’m working for hire, in a company, for clients, I have to be careful with some requirements. So, I used to draw in layers; all these steps that I mentioned, I'd draw on many layers, because it's easier to modify the character if the client wants some change in character’s appearance. Well, whatever you do, you can follow these steps, working in layers or not.
With the lines, I can connect them and "voila"!
The same process was made to this character: I drew the loose line to define his line action (and the silhouette too, it's important to mention), and I made the line to define the volume of the character. At this moment it's important to quote the great master, Professor Antônio Fialho, who worked at some DreamWorks' features, like Joseph, Spirit and Sinbad. His wisdom was taught to his classes about the character's clean up and animation (drawing, character design, etc) in the Fine Arts Scholl of Federal University of Minas Gerais, with his unique patience. He's the best teacher because his major lesson is "everything (in cinema) can be better; so, study about more solutions". It's THE lesson. If you love to draw, love to animate, you can make these things better than before. And to make it better, you need to study more, watch movies, read texts in books, blogs, and researching how other artists found solutions for some shape or narrative problems. As you may know, Brad Bird ( Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) says that he and his team make a film which people will want to see not only today, but also tomorrow.
After that, I connect the lines to "close" the character.

These are some more sketches. Some of them are cutie and I like so much. The elephant is one of them.
This I made after (re)watch the first movie of the great C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.
She is a woman who works close to me, in the same street. Everyday, when she arrives, she sits down on the street bench, lights up her cigarette and drinks her coffee. Everyday. The same habit. It's so fascinating watch what the person does, in public places, isn’t it?

These are three sketch poses - not a thumbnails, because they are a little bigger than these ones. I wanted to develop a character, and, after the silhouette, I need to see how plastic he/she can be. So, make animated poses can be a good option for this. It's a sample of a classic take, made by Tex Every and his fellows in 40's and 50's.
Well, I hope you enjoy the work.

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