Step-by-step: Il­lus­trat­ing a char­ac­ter in ac­tion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A -

1Work­ing out the ac­tion with a stick fig­ure can en­able you to see the over­all ac­tion. This saves a lot of time and can help to solve any prob­lems early in the draw­ing. The key here is to have as many dif­fer­ent el­e­ments mov­ing in op­po­site di­rec­tion, but also have it look nat­u­ral. Us­ing ba­sic lines, I in­di­cate where the head, shoul­ders, hips, and so on are go­ing to be.

2I flesh out the draw­ing, adding all the de­tails. As she punches her fist for­ward in one di­rec­tion, her op­po­site leg is thrusts back and the op­po­site arm and hand curl back to­wards her in a pen­du­lum of mo­tion, strength­en­ing the punch. One shoul­der is twist­ing for­ward, so the other is nat­u­rally back. While her head is mov­ing in one di­rec­tion, her hair flows in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

3I start adding skin tone, but pay ex­tra at­ten­tion to the shad­ows. Us­ing shad­ows can help to add mo­tion and en­ergy to the char­ac­ter. For ex­am­ple, her lower torso and midriff are all in shadow, help­ing to em­pha­sise that she’s lean­ing for­ward into the punch. Fur­ther­more, her punch­ing arm crosses over the shadow, mak­ing it vis­ually stand out from her torso.

4Fi­nally, I paint the cloth­ing and the hair. When adding clothes, re­mem­ber that they should re­act to the mo­tion of the fig­ure. In many re­spects the cloth­ing will re­act just like the mus­cles of the body. In some cases it will be stretched tight, like on her arm. In other ar­eas, it’ll be loose or bunched up. The key is to make sure that the cloth­ing ac­cen­tu­ates the anatomy.

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