Friday, October 22, 2010

Building Characters builds... er, character!

Some of my most recent lessons (for both classes) have been about creating character profiles and character traits. For my illustration class, I chose to work with a little dude I made up years ago, who will be starring in his own picture book in the future. I've got his story all ready and waiting, so when I am finished with Super-Secret Project #1, and perhaps a #2, Bungee Bunny will become Project #3.

Anyhow, in the Introduction to Illustration course we talked about comic art, and the different styles it can be drawn, and how artists tell their stories with pictures.  But the number one thing of importance is your character, who needs to feel real all on his/her own. Our assignment was then to create a character, draw him from different angles, and show why he is special.

Bungee Bunny character art.
Bungee Bunny is the property of Melanie Linden Chan!

(Please forgive the watermarks, but as my little guy is so cute, he will be coveted. Kindly refrain from stealing him from me, because I have big plans for him and I'd rather my dreams not be crushed. Much appreciated.)

We also talked about this in the Book Dummy class; how your character must really be his own self, and look and act consistent throughout the story. Some students chose to draw their characters mimicking a favorite artist, (for example, how would Bungee look if Van Gogh painted him? What colors, textures, or lines would he use?), or picked out swatches of fabric patterns that their character would wear or like. Then we all did character art and turnarounds, although mine isn't quite web-ready yet so I will share it with you soon.

Character art is a great way to get yourself ready for producing a comic book, graphic novel, or a children's picture book. Do one for each of the characters in your story- you won't regret it!

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