New here! Need help with character design

AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
edited January 2009 in Artist's Corner
Hello! My name is Alex, and I am new to this forum.

I was raised in Japan, and I'm a big fan of manga, video games, and everything geeky ;)
Currently I'm a working dentist, but my true passion is in cartooning.
I just moved to Seattle and found out about Penny Arcade (also in Seattle!!! sweet!!!)
I hope not only to be a loyal fan of PA, but also an active contributor to its community.

well, with that said... I'm currently drawing a comic strip called "American Otaku," but I'm also working on another project on the side.
Here's some concept sketches from the upcoming comic.

I'm still working on the script, but I need ideas for monsters. Any reply is greatly appreciated. Thanx in advance! ;)

tomato_luas_mummy.jpg

tomato_luas_vampire.jpg

tomato_ghostsisters.jpg

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www.american-otaku.com - a comical rendition of our American Geek culture!
AMERICAN OTAKU on

Posts

  • FabricateFabricate __BANNED USERS
    edited December 2008
    You need to work on developing form, anatomy, etc.

    Blanket advice but you would benefit from doing life drawing and studies to improve before you took on a project like this.

    As far as the characters are concerned, the orange headed kid reminds me too much of Jack Spicer

    jackspicerfp4.jpg

    And the ghost thingy reminds me too much of Wuya

    wuya3vv0.jpg
    (Both are from the WB show Xiaolin Showdown)

    and the larger ghost thing reminds me of bleach. (e; also the green thing)


    What i'm basically getting at is that they aren't very original designs.

    Fabricate on
  • AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Fabricate:

    hey hey hey! thanx for the reply!!!
    What i'm basically getting at is that they aren't very original designs.

    you are so right! I've never seen "Xiaolin Showdown" before but I am also surprised by the uncanny resemblance! (and to Bleach). Hmmm... I will work on the originality part. Thanx for pointing it out to me! :)
    You need to work on developing form, anatomy, etc.

    Yeah, that was my biggest concern too. I never took drawing classes so I have yet to improve my drawing skills (especially anatomy). Only drawing I ever did was doodling on my textbooks and watching lots of anime and cartoons. The only anatomy reference I have is from taking anatomy class and dissecting cadavers. Hey, what is the best way to learn drawing accurate anatomy? Any books you recommend? thanx in advance!

    oh, btw, Happy New Years!!!!! :)

    AMERICAN OTAKU on
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  • edited January 2009
    Just a thought on trying to come up with interesting designs ...

    Consider for a second how easy it is to draw a circle with 2 large black eyes 2 dots for nostrils and a gaping jackolantern mouth to begin a monster design. Because of how basic that is it also means it has been done or tried a million times. So even not having seen certain shows or read certain comics you can almost place a bet that youre close to something else out there with that basic pattern.

    So if you like the look of the white "bone face" just try altering the shapes of the elements that make it up. The face plate can be all kinds of shapes maybe with boney apendages from it. The eyes and mouth and nose holes can also take on various shapes.

    The more you alter the basic shapes of the original design elements the more likely you are to create something new and unique.

    You still keep the over all theme that you like as an artist but you end up elaborating and expanding on it.

    Good luck.

    Castle_Builder on
    Captain K wrote:
    So yeah, that's pretty much the sketchiest train of thought I've ever seen committed to text on the PA forums.
  • Mr Sgt SirMr Sgt Sir Registered User
    edited January 2009
    3rd pic looks Tim Burton-ish.

    Mr Sgt Sir on
  • AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Castle_Builder:
    The more you alter the basic shapes of the original design elements the more likely you are to create something new and unique.

    You are right about the basic design. Since it is so basic, its used million times and making it less original. I like the idea of altering these basic shapes (like adding some kind of appendages on the mask plate) to make it more unique. Thanx for pointing this out to me. I'll go ahead and try to make some adjustments. THANX! :)

    Mr Sgt Sir:

    3rd pic looks Tim Burton-ish.

    oh no, you are right. It does look Tim Burton-ish... even though I didn't intend to do so. oops.

    AMERICAN OTAKU on
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  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Well... influences happen weither you like it or not. I suppose the trick is seeing them when they appear and using them in the best way possible (i.e. control it so it comes out when you want it or... something)

    Nappuccino on
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  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    What helps me out a lot in understanding character design is looking at John K's Blog. He created Ren and Stimpy.
    And whether you agree with all the stuff he says or not, he raises a lot of interesting points concerning design.
    Sure, he is almost exclusively oriented towards 60's Hanna Barbara cartoons, but the design issues he mentions are very applicable to almost any field.

    i don't read and pray to every letter he says, but just scrolling over the blog every now and then is a big help in learning about character shapes, anatom and composition.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Well... influences happen weither you like it or not. I suppose the trick is seeing them when they appear and using them in the best way possible (i.e. control it so it comes out when you want it or... something)

    This is what I was going to say. When you design your own characters you will most likely take elements from other characters you like, consciously or sub-consciously. Nobody's art is 100% original, but it's how you use your influences and inspirations to create your own unique style that's really important.

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
  • flatlinegraphicsflatlinegraphics Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Hey, what is the best way to learn drawing accurate anatomy? Any books you recommend? thanx in advance!

    oh, btw, Happy New Years!!!!! :)
    andrew loomis - Figure Drawing for all it's Worth
    http://www.fineart.sk/index.php?cat=12
    ^a whole lot of anatomy up there. tons of references too. and alot of ugly nude people. but such is figure drawing.

    otherwise, draw. alot. from life, when possible, from stills and references when not.

    flatlinegraphics on
  • Mr Sgt SirMr Sgt Sir Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Hey, what is the best way to learn drawing accurate anatomy? Any books you recommend? thanx in advance!

    oh, btw, Happy New Years!!!!! :)
    andrew loomis - Figure Drawing for all it's Worth
    http://www.fineart.sk/index.php?cat=12
    ^a whole lot of anatomy up there. tons of references too. and alot of ugly nude people. but such is figure drawing.

    otherwise, draw. alot. from life, when possible, from stills and references when not.

    i find google image is fine to start with if you dont mind trawling through pages and looking at the odd goatse every now and again.

    Mr Sgt Sir on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited January 2009

    Yeah, that was my biggest concern too. I never took drawing classes so I have yet to improve my drawing skills (especially anatomy).

    "I haven't taken classes" isn't a very ironclad excuse. A drawing class can't teach you how to draw any more than reading a book can teach you how to play the guitar. The only thing a class provides is artificial deadlines, direction, and sometimes feedback. You've discovered the internet so you should have no problem finding all kinds of study direction and feedback, now you have to light the fire under your own ass to practice.
    The only anatomy reference I have is from taking anatomy class and dissecting cadavers. Hey, what is the best way to learn drawing accurate anatomy? Any books you recommend? thanx in advance!

    That's more up close (and gross) anatomy experience than a lot of people have. The best way to study anatomy is to draw it from life, period. Enroll in a figure drawing class, which is mostly to give you access to a model, or you can go to a local drawing coop on the cheap if you can self-direct. Supplement life study with anatomy books like Loomis for things you need extra practice with, or clarification on how something works. There is almost no excuse to rely solely or primarily on a textbook for anatomy study.

    Scosglen on
  • AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Nappuccino & Zombiemambo:
    Well... influences happen weither you like it or not. I suppose the trick is seeing them when they appear and using them in the best way possible (i.e. control it so it comes out when you want it or... something)
    When you design your own characters you will most likely take elements from other characters you like, consciously or sub-consciously. Nobody's art is 100% original, but it's how you use your influences and inspirations to create your own unique style that's really important.

    Yes, nobody's art is 100% original. I'll work harder to see how all these influences can come together to create a unique form. guys! thanx for the wise words! :)

    The_Glad_Hatter: hey hey hey! thanx for the link. It's really resourceful and I'm learning so much.

    flatlinegraphics:
    great figure references!!! wow, thanx! btw, there were some ugly nude people ;)

    Mr Sgt Sir: oh yeah!how can I forget google images... duh! thanx!

    Scosglen:

    Supplement life study with anatomy books like Loomis for things you need extra practice with, or clarification on how something works. There is almost no excuse to rely solely or primarily on a textbook for anatomy study.

    thanx for your comment and you're right. I'll study&draw anatomy from all these different sources, and by doing so hopefully I can create a multi-dimensional work. thanx for the great advice!

    AMERICAN OTAKU on
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  • AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
    edited January 2009
    okay guys, I really need help with the following character. Before you guys say anything... I want you to know I can't draw FEMALE character. I try, but it's still my weakest area. I like to draw random characters, but never females. I was always shy about drawing female's anatomy (boobs and ass). However, I do need a female character for my second comic project. Here's a sketch... any reply is greatly appreciated.

    tomato_rina.jpg

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  • FabricateFabricate __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2009
    Still basic anatomical mistakes.

    She has no shoulders, her breasts are too high up, her hands are hoofs, her legs are too long, her feet (boots) are breaking the boundaries of time and space.

    I'd really stop, take a step back, get some pictures of naked people and figure out how things work.

    Fabricate on
  • McGibsMcGibs TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Best thing to keep in mind when drawing females is: Curves. Every part should have at least some curvature in it, especially the waist-hips-things-calves area (where your drawing is all straight lines). Smooth curves make something look feminine. Conversely, hard angles make something look masculine.

    Girls are tricky to draw because you usually have to fit more information into less lines, so every line has to mean something. When drawing guys, you can just pile on details and it adds character.

    Anyways, something to keep in mind.

    McGibs on
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  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Take a look at Ron Lemen's tutorials. Each month in the magazine Imagine FX, he does a tutorial.
    It helps a lot.
    heres a few examples...
    sorry, had to take photos of my mag, scanner doesnt work.

    104kyo4.jpg
    j5yxvm.jpg

    And a few things on cd. im sure its all up online.

    6j2fpv.jpg
    25tdjf6.jpg

    winter_combat_knight on
  • AMERICAN OTAKUAMERICAN OTAKU Registered User
    edited January 2009
    hey guys, sorry about the late reply. I've been pretty busy treating patients. sorry!

    Fabricate:
    I'd really stop, take a step back, get some pictures of naked people and figure out how things work.

    haha, yea, that sounds like a plan. I just need to find a girl who's willing to get naked for me... hmmm... last time when I tried that I got slapped ;) but thanx for the great pointers! will look into that!

    McGibs:
    Best thing to keep in mind when drawing females is: Curves.

    you're so right... the curves! Its just recently that I've started drawing females, and it's a lot more tricky than males. I'll try to work harder on the curves. thanx, buddy! :)

    winter_combat_knight: WOAH!!!! those are great examples! I'll definitely have to look into Ron Lemen's tutorials! thanx for the great recommendation!

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  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    also, just thought i'd mention, Cakemikz HATES Ron Lemen, so cos i want to be on his good side, here's some other helpfull links...

    http://www.erikgist.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=262fb6012e665901231c9cfc626c7188

    http://deadoftheday.blogspot.com/

    winter_combat_knight on
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