Drawing consistent characters?

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Drawing consistent characters?

#1 Post by azureXtwilight » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:29 pm

Since I mostly do anime art in which the characters looks quite similar most of the time, I have a hard drawing drawing some people consistently (Which is funny, since I was trying to differentiate them)

So, any tips on drawing your characters consistently?

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Re: Drawing consistent characters?

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:48 pm

azureXtwilight wrote: So, any tips on drawing your characters consistently?
You need to draw the character quite a few number of times to get comfortable with them. You learn their particular arrangement of features.

We identify people in real life by the ratio and relationship of the features on their face. These ratios stay similar in relation to each other all the person's life. It is why you can recognize a kid as an adult, or an adult as an old person. Other factors are uniquely shaped facial features - i.e. the curve of a nose, or the slant of the eyes. Many people have a certain way of holding their mouth that is unique to them.

Before "publishing" the character in a work, you need to do lots of concept sketches to nail down their look, but more importantly, become familiar with it yourself. Also, when transitioning from anime to more realistic figures, you can experiment more with the shape of the face and body structure to define a character. Ideally, you want each character in your cast to be identifiable based off their silhouette. This can be the way they hold themselves, their body type, etc.

This is a difficult skill that not even all professional artists master - you'll notice a lot of comic book artists depend heavily on hair style and color to differentiate characters. But if you make your character unique, and really learn them, you should be able to draw them in any outfit or situation and still have them immediately identifiable as themselves.

EDIT: I'd say that's the real test. Can you hide your character's hair and put them in a completely different outfit and still be able to recognize them in a cast of characters?

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Re: Drawing consistent characters?

#3 Post by Vilhelmina » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:31 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote: EDIT: I'd say that's the real test. Can you hide your character's hair and put them in a completely different outfit and still be able to recognize them in a cast of characters?
This! <3 It says so much all at once.

Also, a practical tip; when you do those concept sketches LateWhiteRabbit mentioned, make sure you do at least one picture from the front and one from the side. Depending on which one you do first, construct the other one using straight lines originating from the first one. This will help you make sure the features are consistent in front and side views, and also forces you to think about what the character looks like in three dimensions. Doing this helps me make some sense of the features and ensures I remember them better.
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Re: Drawing consistent characters?

#4 Post by pineapplepocky » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:55 pm

I often draw black and white comics, so I can understand this situation a bit. A lot of it comes from the face, since it's often the first thing we see in an image. Here are a few tips that should help:

-hair color: just making one character having a drastic hair shade compared to the rest can resolve the issue with two people having the same haircut.

-how the hair is made: is it always in a bun? Is it really long? Or is it spiky in a specific direction?

-Face proportions: When you make a master copy of your character design, make sure to draw out the proportions. For example, if your character has a nose that's closer to the lips, make sure to always be consistent about drawing that nose closer to the lips for ALL your designs of that character.

-Color: Not always, but in a lot of visual novels, the character's clothes coordinate with the color of their name. When that is indicated, it's easier to tell that the following character speaking is recognized by that color.

-Facial expressions: This is very tricky if you don't dive deep enough with your characters. In a visual novel, there's some depth to their story. People act differently to the exact same expression. For example, maybe a little kid smiles with a big wide mouth open and is happy, wheras that kid's sister only has a tiny mouth that barely moves when they're happy. Even if you drew twins, if you could master it so that they all have expressions that coordinate to their personality, you can immediately tell who is who.

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Re: Drawing consistent characters?

#5 Post by Nymbryxion » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:08 pm

One of the side advantages of drawing anime style characters is its actually extremely easy to standardize "average" characters by standardizing the style for the face.

A good example is Kyoto Animation studio where all the characters in their show practically have the same body structure, and face and it differs on hair style.

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