Q:Hello, I've recently come across your artwork and... I'm absolutely in love! Your character designs are amazing and so dynamic and fun and appealing, I just-- Can't stop looking over all your art! I'm a freshman in art school right now for animation and I wanted to know if you had any advice or books/sites that helped guide you? I think once I leave here I'd want to work in character design and visual development but I don't think I'm very good at it right now. I'd appreciate it so much, thanks!
Omgosh, well first, thank you so much! That was all so lovely to hear!
As un-useful as it sounds, a lot of what I know didn’t come from books or sites (though, believe me I looked hard, haha). At least it didn’t at first. My suggestion would be to start with observation, just draw people and things you see, people on TV while they’re in motion, people in pictures who have unusual features and character, and just start practicing there. Once you start seeing the variety in the way people look and move, you can start figuring out what can be exaggerated. Once you start seeing how light bounces up and off of things, you can start figuring out when/how to use and manipulate it.
Books come in more as an inspiration than a ground zero. The books I go to most are my collection of Art of Animation books, and I just study the exaggerations other people have clued into. I look at their approach to stylizing, their approach to drawing, inking, coloring, etc, and see what bits I want to incorporate into my own work. Then I practice.
Some of the best Art Of books for character:
- Kung Fu Panda (1 & 2)
- How to Train Your Dragon
- Hotel Transylvania
- (probably The Croods - while I haven’t gotten the book yet, I know the character work that was done for that film, and it was effing amazing).
Some good names of character designers to look into: Carter Goodrich, Nico Marlet, Shiyoon Kim, and of course Milt Kahl
Good books for general visual development and painting:
- Wreck it Ralph
There are a number of different styles in those, and they’re all breath taking. They’re my definite go-to’s for inspiration, and my poor Tangled book is practically falling apart from use. haha
Also, DO STUDIES. I can’t say this enough, but they’re so helpful. Do studies of other people’s work just to understand it (personal, non claim-able use only), and do pause-and-paints, which is where you screencap/freezeframe a movie and spend no more than 10 minutes trying to paint that frame. It’s SO educational, and you get faster.
HOPE THIS ALL HELPS! :D
I know we do things a lot like look back at our old art work to see how we’ve progressed, but I’d like to recommend another way of quickly seeing how much you’ve grown artistically:
Look at images you saved awhile back as inspiration, and see how you feel about them.
I’m talking, go back to the DEPTHS of the stuff you’ve saved. haha. The OLD folders, or if you’re on something like deviantArt or another site that just allows you to quickly save favorites, delve back into those back pages of your saved favorites.
Do you STILL like them? Do you now hate them? What’s working and what isn’t? Can you figure out why you even liked them in the first place? And if you do still like them, what about them has held up?
I just bring this up because I started rifling through my old DA favorite folder… and good god. HAHA. I mean, what a mess. I was way too fast to click “fav” on a boob picture, lemme just say. haha. But it IS interesting. My whole outlook and what grabs me with a picture has entirely changed because of how and the direction in which I’ve grown.
Reblogging this over from my personal blog -
On Friday, I was hired at Sony Pictures Animatioooon! My first day will be Wednesday, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be doing work for one of their upcoming features, and I love the people on my team.
I still can’t really believe I’m going to be able to do this. I’ll probably do some highly introspective blabbering once I get started, but for now, things haven’t really even sunk in. I’m just happy to be rejoining such great people.
It’s not a ghost story. It’s a love story.
DOCTOR WHO FANAAAAAART. Specifically Whouffle fanart, because come on. Clara’s not really wearing any one of her particular outfits; but since she’s wearing red most of the time, that’s what I put her in.
I love them soooo.
Still learning how to draw them, but I see practice happening in their futures. haha
© Amanda Jolly
Oh, and I obsessively reblog Who-things on my main blog.
In the mood for focused art of some kind while still engaging in silliness. haha. Anyone wanna give me prompts for Disney princesses/characters dressed as something/doing something?
Feel free to reblog, reply, or ask with ideas.
It just feels like a draaaaawing daaaaaay.
Q:Every time I see your concepts want to become a concept artist noooww!! Your character designs are just so great... I know I told you before on dA but you're so inspiring!!
Gah, thank you so much!! hahaha. I’m really glad that my art gets you all revved up for drawin’! :D
Some pieces from my most recent portfolio. Bits of two projects here:
- Charmed, about an Indian snake charmer and his apprentice (idea was given to me as a character prompt by my friends!)
- Some development for an animated Kate and Leopold, based on the 2001 rom-com! haha
See more stuff on my blog. © Amanda Jolly
We had to draw ourselves as superheroes or supervillains in my character design class this week, so I slapped this thing together (*cough*ratherquickly*cough* this poor class gets shafted by us every week, haha). I’m ADORNMENTGIRL! Lover of all things ruffly, belted, or necklaced! Who’s that bland fellow over there? GIVE HIM SOME FABRIC FLOWERS! BUHBAM.
Not a groundbreaking design or anything, but I had a good time. hahaha.