Step-by-step: Painting an emotional and upset character
1 I first gather reference of anguish from the web. The images I’ve used show people with their hands on their heads in disappointment, mouths open and eyes and eyebrows squinted and furrowed in pain. In this example, I don’t copy the references exactly. I only use the references to get the basic facial expression and pose, but I draw it at a different angle in this scene.
2 I first sketch out the basic pose and composition, showing the reason for the character’s pain. In this scene, the character is a young inventor and mechanic and the robot friend he built has been broken and is lying in pieces in front of him. The camera angle is placed above the character to capture his facial expression in detail to communicate his anguish and sadness.
3 I then detail the image with line art, clarifying the facial expression and important details. Other storytelling details are important in this phase, like the gear shapes on the character’s armour, communicating that he’s a mechanic or inventor. I repeat the gear shapes in the robot, implying that it was possibly built by the character. I also add details to hair and clothing.
4 Once the line art is finished, I add the colour, lighting and rendering. I use red to make the viewer look at both the character’s face and his broken robot. I then add rain and atmosphere to distant objects to show that the environment is rainy and moody, further communicating the sadness of the scene. I also use cool colours in the scene to make it feel sad and dreary.