Character Designs

This is where I started off. i wanted to base my character of something important, something of relevance to our society. I went onto the BBC news website and looked for an interesting story, nothing seemed to catch my interest or creativity.

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BBC World News

I remembered an article I read a while back which Conann linked on Facebook, I found it an interesting read. The idea is that the artist of the bull ‘Arturo Di Modica’  was not pleased by the marketing stunt of the fearless girl. The girl was intended to be positive, a symbol of female empowerment, the Latina girl placed in wall street, showed that no matter of gender or race women can face down any task, people recognised this and were angered at those who opposed it. The Mayor of NYC eve tweeted ‘Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.’ It’s not the point though, it’s not why it was opposed my Di Modica at least, it’s because understanding the history behind Charging bull. ‘The idea for the bull was never to represent the possible trampling death of a small child, his lawyers explained. The idea was to project optimism and strength amid adversity, which at the time of the sculpture’s creation included a market crash that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down a terrifying 22%.’ The fearless girl was placed by a company, it uses Di Modicas art to paint another picture, it has changes when his art meant, a sign of hope and strength or the American People, this isn’t fair. The Fearless girl is important, it is great that it exists, just under the circumstances I don’t think it’s fair how it does and maybe it should be moved.

‘Charging Bull’ and ‘Fearless Girl’

seriously, the guy has a point


Sculpture: Kristen Visbal – Photo: Federica Valabrega

So aside from all of this controversy I wanted to shine a light on the topic. The bull is a sign of strength and the girl fearlessness, sounds like a good team to me. I decided to design two characters, a pair who face the world together, not one that have a showdown.

Here’s some exploration of ideas and inspiration, as you can see blow I liked Spot from Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur.’


I had some more character exploration but I must have forgot to scan it, you can see it in my sketchbook.




Character Rotation: Mia


Character Rotation: Axel


Double Trouble



Mia is bold, fearless and an adventurer. Lived in a scrapyard in her younger years, took to welding and made herself a Metal Chest Plate and accessories. Mia is an Orphan, Her mum died when she was 10, her dad had left, she fended for herself and Axel. Mia has a scar on her face from when she saved Axel, she carries a satchel with some tools and essentials. Mia is Spanish.

girl colour2

Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well she reads and also who she is built.




Born with twisted horns and had them removed, Axel was due for slaughter as his expense was too great for his usefulness as he was no longer a viable bull fighter. Axel was given his horned hat by Mia, it helps him scare off unwanted attention. Axel has a flat friendly face but is very strong and would die for Mia if they came into harms way.


Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well he reads and also who he is built.



I decided to look at staging for my characters, I thought it was important I capture their relationship, an animal with a human could easily be construed as a pet but I wanted Mia and Axel to have a friendship. I’ve painted them with their armour off to show that they can be comfortable around one another, they don’t need to be tough when it’s just the two of them. I’ve painted them in a cave as I imagine they sleep wherever they can as Mia is an orphan.


Squash and Stretch

I’ve decided to show squash and stretch because I feel the characters might look a bit stiff but I think that they should be able to squash and stretch to an extent to exaggerate emotions like surprise of anger


Straight ahead animation

In this video clip I really roughly drew Axel running and sliding to a stop his volumes are definitely compromised, i was on a bit of a time crunch, I think his slide captures some of his innocence in personality.

Follow Through

I wanted to show his hat follow through when he stopped so as he stops abruptly his hate follows moments after.


seriously, the guy has a point



The Twelve Principles of Animation


  1. Squash and Stretch

A very important Principle as it lends the illusion of weight to a character. It can be used in facial expressions as a form of exaggeration. This principle is used throughout animation, it could give a human character body weight or it could show how a bouncing ball acts.


  1. Anticipation

Anticipation is the pre-action, it’s bend in the knees before the jump, the pull back of an arm before landing a punch, it prepares the audience for what is about to happens. ‘A backward action occurs before the forward motion is executed.’


  1. Staging

A pose or action should capture the tone of the piece, how it feels, the attitude in relation to the story line Camera shots are a part of staging, they can heavily influence the audiences’ interpretation of the scene such as when a camera is looking down on a character it could show them as vulnerable as opposed to a camera placed at a lower angle looking up giving the impression of power. Every shot must be staged correctly to utilize the limited time of a movie. Don’t attempt to be too fancy with camera movements or positioning, it must be relevant so it’s easy for the audience to understand the action. Sets should not be over detailed so that the main character or item of interest is overlooked.


  1. Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose

With straight ahead animation, you begin drawing the character at the start of the shot and you work drawing to drawing to the end. This method can lead to loss of proportions, size or volume but it is fresh and can really captures a character’s personality; through the movement it shows. Pose to pose is carefully planned as it helps maintain proportions, it also helps the lead animator as they draw out the main poses and they can hand it over to the animation assistant to fill in the tedious drawings between


  1. Follow through and overlapping action

Nothing stops all at once, in terms of a human like character, when they stop their body parts must catch up with the main mass, this applies their clothes or any accessories they have, nothing stops all at once. Overlapping action is when say the body starts travelling in a different direction but the likes of hair stays flowing in the same direction. ‘DRAG’ is when something doesn’t keep up with the main body movement like a dress not moving exactly when the person does but moments after.


  1. Slow-Out and Slow-In

Fewer drawings will make an action faster whereas less drawings will make an action slower, by using less drawing you can ‘slow-in’ and ‘slow-out’ which softens the action. Not using slow ins and outs can give the action more snap and a comedic effect.


  1. Arcs

Arcs give movements more realism, the arms and legs of a human use arcs as they are on pivot, arcs allow an animation to flow better. You can imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth, it doesn’t jolt it flows. Even smaller movements such as eye movements are executed using arcs.


  1. Secondary Action

Secondary action acts to reinforce the main action. An example could be s fella prancing through a meadow, the primary action his legs skipping freely, the secondary action would be his arms swinging happily by his sides, even the slight tilts of his head or facial expressions or dialogue classify as secondary action, the action id the prance, the secondary action the body movements that come along with that. These actions should support one another.


  1. Timing

Timing gives ‘meaning to movement,’ it helps translate to an audience the idea being expressed. Timing as well as squash and stretch helps define the weight of the character depending on say how long an object might take to fall. Timing is very important, it can help translate a characters’ mood or a reaction, you can imagine a sad character trailing their feet along slowly. Ones and twos are used in animation, a drawing could be photographed on two frames, this is used most of the time, ones are more likely used for camera moves or for quick dialogue.


  1. Exaggeration

Exaggeration need not be excessive, it adds to the appeal of a character or action or any sort, in facial expressions exaggeration can be used so that the action reads better. Cartoons often use a lot of exaggeration which is often extreme which works for comedic purposes or getting the emotion or action across very clearly.


  1. Solid Drawing

Solid drawing gives the illusion that a character or object is three dimensional; gives it volume. we draw the character in 2D but how the lines are shaped will allow for the character to appear 3D.


  1. Appeal

All characters must have appeal whether they are a hero or villain, a mentor or a trickster. Appeal comes from an interesting that is not over complicated but reads well, appeal is not just achieved through drawing, it is also based on character development. ‘Like all forms of storytelling, the feature has to the mind as well as the mind’




Life Drawing Semester Two


Fist week back an we started off with some warm up one minute poses, I don’t have much here to show as I had a rough start. The class finished with us drawing the model in a chair, I think my attempt wasn’t too bad but my perspective could be more informed, mike drew the figure on the right hand side of this drawing.


Homework – Research form



Started off with some warmups, still a bit rough, I need to practice drawing people more so I am quicker at identifying how i should shape their curves and add perspective. At the end of the class we did a dead rotation, mine sort of has a resemblance to Jackie but could use a lot of work, I struggle doing drawings like this with Conte.





This week didn’t go well, my drawings aren’t showing weight or balance, the perspective needs a lot of fixing also some of my warmup drawings are ok though. At the end of class we had to draw imagining we were looking at the model from a different perspective, this was fun and confusing and quite hard as my attempt shows.










I think that this week went well, I liked my warmup drawings I think the proportions, weight and balance show. I also really enjoyed drawing the hands which I didn’t expect to happen, thinking about the underlying form as simple cubes helped a lot.


Homework Balance


Also completed, page flip hand animation




Another good week in my opinion, I feel my warm up studies are fairly accomplished, the balance is iffy in some but other than that I’m quite happy with how they are turning out. Drawing feet wasn’t too bad either, the simple shapes made them easier to draw.




This was a difficult week, we had to draw storyboards as Mike told a story of a lady who was trying to catch a bus as Jackie did poses. Looking back at what I drew I’m not sure what plot line I tried get across, it was an interesting exercise to say the least.





Warmups were a bit off today, my lines weren’t very solid, the shapes could be improved upon. At the end of class we did a head portrait, I struggled at the beginning, my second attempt was bit better, I sometimes just find it difficult to put complex shapes in perspective, I need to work on this.





Week 11

Robert’s back and lifting boxes, i like some of my warm ups more than others, I think the show good balance. For today we were supposed to have a character idea so we could draw our character using Robert as a reference, i did not have this done so I experimented with different designs, I liked the last ones I did, kind of just long, strong slender men.


My apologies for the awful picture quality…



This is an Italian term which literally means ‘light-dark’. In paintings the description refers to clear tonal contrasts which are often used to suggest the volume and modelling of the subjects depicted.

Artists who are famed for the use of chiaroscuro include Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. Leonardo employed it to give a vivid impression of the three-dimensionality of his figures, while Caravaggio used such contrasts for the sake of drama. Both artists were also aware of the emotional impact of these effects.



Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist
about 1609-10, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Life Drawing Week 10

This weeks drawings weren’t great, proportions are off, I wasn’t thinking about what I was drawing. We had 15 whole minutes to do a chair study, my first attempt was abysmal, my second was a bit better but was very flat with some incorrect proportions. On a lighter note, I’ve really enjoyed the first semester of life drawing and hope I can put in a lot more work to improve throughout the course of the year.


Life Drawing Week 9

I’m happier with some of my warm up drawings this week, some of them have a more clear feeling of weight and balance and I don’t think the proportions are too off, some are rough but overall I think I’m improving. On a sour note my hat on head drawings were very poor, I really need to work on my perspective drawing and putting heads in boxes because I’m struggling to understand what is under the hat which I feel is a big issue.


Life Drawing Week 8

Either the poses are getting quicker or I’m getting slower, I don’t think my warm up drawings are worse from last weeks from her, most are incomplete and they don’t read well. I struggled with the hats on head, I need to draw the head first and really think about what shape it is under that hat with consideration to perspective


Hats on Heads

In preparation for class we were asked to do some hat on heads studies. I didn’t commit to this homework as much as I should have and some of my examples aren’t accomplished. I will have to do more of these in the future. I also drew a few extra Madam Mims for practice.


Life Drawing Week 7

I think this week my warm up drawings improved, I’d like to be faster as I tend not to finish them but I think the proportions for the most part are improving, with more practise I will be more sure of myself. Translating our model into Madam Mim was difficult in this session, I think my difficulty comes from overthinking the process and not going back to the roots of drawing the basic shapes, I need to recognise them before putting conte to paper.