Work up your fan­tasy fig­ure art with an edge of re­al­ism! Aaron Grif­fin shows you how...

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"There's a switch that flips when you start work­ing from..." Aaron Miller on life model draw­ing,

Char­ac­ter de­sign be­longs to many ar­eas of con­cept art and il­lus­tra­tion, whether they’re main char­ac­ters or sim­ply a small fig­ure in the dis­tance. One of the im­por­tant as­pects of char­ac­ter de­sign is to cre­ate a sense of be­liev­abil­ity, so that th­ese char­ac­ters could re­ally ex­ist in the world you’re de­sign­ing them for.

While dress­ing your char­ac­ter and styling their vis­ual ap­pear­ance helps to de­fine their over­all look, the most im­por­tant step to mak­ing your char­ac­ter be­liev­able – es­pe­cially when adding them to a larger scene – is to por­tray their per­son­al­ity through ges­ture, and show how would they move and com­pose them­selves. A great ex­am­ple of this is an­i­ma­tion and the use of car­i­ca­tured ex­ag­ger­a­tion to sell an idea. Th­ese same prin­ci­ples can ap­ply to re­al­is­tic char­ac­ter con­cepts, too.

In this work­shop I’m go­ing to take you through my process of de­vel­op­ing a fig­ure us­ing Pho­to­shop. We’ll be­gin with ges­tures, land­marks and sim­ple vol­umes, re­fine the sketch and then take it through to adding val­ues in greyscale.

I’ll also ex­plain the im­por­tance of work­ing with thumb­nails. I’ll be colour­ing the im­age us­ing dif­fer­ent blend­ing modes be­fore ren­der­ing out the fig­ure. Through­out the process I’ll dis­cuss the use of colours, brush­work and edge con­trol. This will help to add vari­a­tion to the im­age and sin­gle out key fo­cal points.

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