Thursday, October 15, 2015

Character Design with a Charcoal Prelim


Every evil mastermind needs an assistant. His pale eyes are wide open, and his long, bony fingers timidly hold the magic lantern. 


I planned this character first in red Nupastel and charcoal on a separate piece of tracing paper. I then sealed the drawing with workable fixatif and transferred it down to the primed board, using transfer paper I made with graphite on another piece of tracing paper. 

The charcoal step allows me to solve a lot of problems early on when things are easy to change. It's the storytelling stage of picture-making.


I shot some photo reference of a timid, creepy looking model, and also built a little maquette.


Fun fact #1: The painting Birdman was one of the candidates for the cover of Color and Light, but lost out to a crowd-sourced blog poll for the final cover image of the sleeping dinosaur.



Fun fact #2: The oil painting was a revision of a paperback cover illustration called The Fleet: Counterattack. I gave him a mane of feathers like a harpy eagle, an embroidered jacket, and a little Quasimodo assistant to carry out his dark designs.

13 comments:

Tom Hart said...

Maybe I'll be tempted to finally put my set of Nupastels to some use :^). They were given to me years ago, and have gone unused. I understand the reason for the charcoal, the ease with which it can be added to and subracted from. But (if I remember correctly) Nupastel isn't nearly as malleable. What does it bring to the "game"?

Jenna Berry said...
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James Gurney said...

Tom, yes, Jenna's got it right. The colored chalk drawing is a looser stage that is still visible after it's improved upon with the black layer. I think I picked that up from my paste-up and animator days, where we used a blue Col-E-Rase pencil for the first pass.

Jenna Berry said...
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Jenna Berry said...
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Tom Hart said...

Wow! Jenna and James, thanks for the very complete and helpful answers :^)

Jenna Berry said...
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Robert F said...

So when you start with a really detailed line drawing like that, do you always start painting with thinned down paint that is transparent so that it won't cover up and lose any of the contours? Or do you sometimes start with opaque paint and very carefully paint within the lines so as not to lose them?
When you are painting over a very detailed line drawing what is your process in using transparent and/or opaque paint?

Neil Whiting said...

'timid, creepy model' --love it

Virginia Rinkel said...

Wow, thank you for this conversation on drawing. I'm familiar with these terms, but didn't know all the ins and outs.

Virginia Rinkel said...

Wow, thank you for this conversation on drawing. I'm familiar with these terms, but didn't know all the ins and outs.

Virginia Rinkel said...

Wow, thank you for this conversation on drawing. I'm familiar with these terms, but didn't know all the ins and outs.

Maria Beck said...

Hey, Great execution and design..
http://goo.gl/Pj8idm