I want to show a character in a state of anguish – any advice?
Leon George, England
Answer Michelle replies
To convey strong emotion, I make use of all the elements in my image: posture, expression, setting, storytelling, colour, mood and composition. I first gather references of anguish from the web, recognising that it’s very close to physical pain – hence the screwed-up eyes and furrowed brows. In sketching out the basic pose and composition, I try to tell the story of the reason for the character’s pain, in this case the destruction of his robot friend.
I choose the camera angle to focus attention on his facial expression but also pay attention to the posture, which communicates his anguish. I then detail the image with line art, clarifying his facial expression and all of the important details in the image. When the line art is finished, I add the colour and lighting to focus attention on the key areas, with the face highlighted and red elements to draw the eye to both the character’s face and his robot. Elsewhere I use cool colours to create a sad mood, and add rain to show that the environment is rainy and moody, emphasising the sadness of the scene.
Here is the final artwork of the young inventor, Zack, in anguish over his broken robot friend as the rain sadly pours down on them.