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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Illustrating => Topic started by: olmue on July 12, 2016, 12:31 PM

Title: Character consistency
Post by: olmue on July 12, 2016, 12:31 PM
This is probably a dumb and basic question, but what do you do to work on character consistency? There's a big difference between drawing a person/character once, and drawing them over and over in different ways and keeping them recognizable. Do you use models? Do you reduce your characters to a few key characteristics and emphasize those? I'm sure you learn this in art school 101. But how do you develop this?
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Schriscoe on July 12, 2016, 12:59 PM
 :goodpost Rose! and as a newbie to illustrating I am ALL :eyeballs for some great responses.

PS Definitely not a dumb question!!
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Artemesia on July 12, 2016, 01:03 PM
I think it just takes practice. Usually when I'm designing a character I draw them in a few different angles to see if the design works, but it's drawing over and over that really does it. Muscle memory, I guess, in both your hands and your brain. When I first started KPC, it took concentration to get the character the same each time. After doing like a thousand sketches for 4 80-page books, well, I can draw those characters backwards and forwards. And now I can do that for all my new characters too without the thousands of sketches.

I have heard of people who make a 3D clay model of their characters, and I could see where that would be really useful as well.
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Schriscoe on July 12, 2016, 01:32 PM
Awesome reply Arty!  :thankyou
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Artemesia on July 12, 2016, 01:38 PM
 :curtsy
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Wendy Martin on July 13, 2016, 06:32 AM
Before I draw the pages of the book, I spend hours developing the character in sketches, and repeatedly drawing them over and over again. Until I can draw the character consistently from any angle with any expression. Basically, you have to make a groove in your brain for the character, so your brain can remember HOW to draw that character.

Once all my book pages are sketched I set them up side by side and view them in an entirety to make sure little details as well as big ones are consistent throughout the book. I had one character in my last book who was wearing tights in all but one of her appearances. Somehow she's slipped on a pair of ankle socks when I wasn't looking. Some characters are sneaky that way.
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: marla-lesage on July 14, 2016, 10:42 AM
I find that character sketches really help. Then just keep drawing the character in different poses, expressions until they are in your muscle memory. Practice makes perfect. :) Double-checking for consistency later is key. I've accidentally swapped the eye-patched & the pegleg from the Lt to Rt on my pirate character. Only noticed later when the illustrations were side by side.
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: JennaWren on July 14, 2016, 02:26 PM
I can't add anything, but thought of this thread last night when my 11yo was re-reading ROLLER GIRL for the millionth time, and pointed out an inconsistency in the character drawing -- two pictures had her without eyeblack in between frames of with, and there was no reason for it in the story that my daughter could find.

Anyway, Wendy, I thought of your sneaky characters when she said that!
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Artemesia on July 14, 2016, 02:57 PM
I've had the art director digitally flip sketches on me, and then nobody caught the reversal and KPC's phone ended up on the wrong side. I think we fixed before printing with a patch, but those types of things keep me up at night! I know of one or two places in the published books that still haunt me.  :slaphead
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: olmue on July 14, 2016, 04:10 PM
I went hunting online for ideas, too, and the first hit I found was a discussion by Lora Innes (she draws the webcomic The Dreamer, which you should all really check out, because it's fantastic). She's really, really good at drawing distinct characters with such a wide range of expressions, and yet they still look like them. One thing she did to develop this skill was to take a mirror and draw her own face with different expressions--every day. Since she was a kid. So--yes to the practice, but you also want to practice something that will actually help you improve. I guess today you could use a phone or a webcam or something. Anyway, I liked the idea.

I think it's easier of your characters aren't human, but the more human and realistic they are, the pickier the brain gets with consistency. (I have a request to produce several human characters for a project--I don't need too many different poses, but even if it's just two per character, it's not easy!)
Title: Re: Character consistency
Post by: Wendy Martin on July 15, 2016, 04:52 AM
I can't add anything, but thought of this thread last night when my 11yo was re-reading ROLLER GIRL for the millionth time, and pointed out an inconsistency in the character drawing -- two pictures had her without eyeblack in between frames of with, and there was no reason for it in the story that my daughter could find.

Anyway, Wendy, I thought of your sneaky characters when she said that!

Hahaha!