Archive for February, 2009
The first steps towards writing your own book.
This week we look at how eyebrows and eyes can affect expressions and how they can depict different character personalities.
Picture 1 & 2
Sharp angles on eyebrows are usually used to depict bad guys, but the can also be used for neutral characters. I had a bit of fun with the top two and it’s pretty easy to tell what they are thinking.
In the third picture the eyebrows were placed to show fear. This is pretty universal and easy to grasp. When working with eyebrows it’s important to not forget the rest of the forehead, note how each emotion adds furrows or wrinkles to the face.
In the next illustration I’ve drawn your typical calculating, bad guy. To get this effect use black, heavy eyebrows to draw attention to the character’s personality.
Picture 5 – 8
With the last four I just had fun. The old Chinese shop owner, the goofy fat guy, the narcissistic hero, and a dark haired guy flashing a goofy smile – Note how the cheeks go up and the eyes squint.
Examine each of these and just have fun! Create a few characters of your own using what you see here!
How to get a good story plot.
This week I’d like to talk about how drawing a certain type of nose can perfectly suit your character.
Noses play a huge role in defining a face. A rounder nose makes the person look generous or greedy. A thin pointed nose makes the person look like a bad guy. A balanced small nose makes a character look pretty.
Take a look at the examples that I have added.
On the top row, I just drew some random noses to show some of the infinite variations. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with the characters you draw.
The next two rows I played with some faces using different noses. Notice how each face has a certain type of nose that suits them. From left to right:
1)The typical good looking guy. Perfectly balanced features.
2)The snobbish older guy. The angle and size of his nose and facial expression is what shapes his personality.
3)The fat guy, with his fat nose. He looks very approachable.
4)The good looking African guy. Larger nose.
5)The elderly guy with the crooked old nose.
Each of the characters have their own personality, helped along by a certain type of nose.
Each nose has a different shape and size, it also has different contours. Bumps, large or small nostrils, straight or curved bridges all add up to make a huge difference.
To make illustration easier, break the nose down into three parts. The bridge of the nose, or the line that comes down the face, the tip of the nose, the nostril area.
Draw a strong straight bridge with a curved, smooth tip and long nostrils and you have a completely different look to a short curved bridge, pointy tip and small nostrils.
The most important part of a story is how you develop and portray the characters. These determines how much people like them and want to see what happens to them.
Bad characters = no reader caring = no enjoyment (no matter how engaging the concept.
Ask yourself when last you cried when something bad happened to a character in a book that you were reading or a movie that you were watching. What did that writer do to develop the character and make them a real person?
Picture all the elements that make up a character. His home, his village, his arch nemesis.
Here I started with his home. I drew his mushroomed old rotted wooded home in the cave where his people live. I mean, if you lived in a cave you wouldn’t seem very approachable and you’d end up very withdrawn. So that adds to his shyness. And every story has to have a villain or someone that’s a contrast to the hero in some way.
In this case, I drew up a villainous bear that lurks in the woods where the gnomes go to look for food. As with all good characters he needs to have some physical characteristic that makes him stand out from others. So, I gave him a few scars and made him look pretty mean. On a side note. When drawing animals, try to stay away from realism. This is a comic tutorial, so give your animals some comic qualities. Like the human eyes and mouth I gave him. Makes it similar to what Disney used to do with their animated movies. Makes it your work. Not a realistic copy. So with the bear in the woods it makes the gnomes very fearful. You see the story developing?
Give us some thoughts on where you see the story going.
Sheena’s note: Scars are an interesting addition to a character. It shows that they have been in fights and lived. This probably means that the other characters have come off worse than them. Unless it is a very particular scar, like the strangulation mark on the gnome’s neck. This shows a trauma to a character.
Lord of the rings, the movies were awesome. The books were terrible. Before you send out a lynch mob, hear me out. The movie managed to capture emotions, the grandness and the beauty without messing it up with too much dialogue and over sharing. The book was long winded and over descriptive.
Yes, he was creating a new world, but did we really have to have it in so much detail? I believe that dialogue and description should only ever be used to drive the plot forward or to tell us more about the character or a new environment. Give me a brief sketch of the place, it’s a warehouse with wooden beams running across the ceiling.
Set the mood by telling me that the light is interrupted by the ceiling fans. Tell me about the stale smell of fried foods and the crates piled on the far corner. That is enough to set the mood and to establish where we are. Most importantly, make it interesting and keep it simple. Readers want to connect with your work. Using high brow language makes you seem like a smarty pants. Yes, there is an argument for those few people who like to read the complicated pretentious stuff, but Paper Movie Books are for the average Joe who wants to be entertained. That’s what we do. Entertainment.
The dialogue is there to reveal things about the characters, not the plot. This is important, don’t have your character say, “Oh, no. There is a bomb.” Rather describe the bomb and describe his reaction. Then have him say something that relates to his character, like, “My father always said I should watch out for brunettes.” Much more entertaining. The Lord of the rings books waffled on for hours about things we didn’t need. It used complicated language. Tolkien had way too much time on his hands and even developed a language. Seriously, most readers don’t care. And yes, the books have a huge, cult like following and yes people love them, they have an awesome original story, so I am not knocking them entirely, just the way they are written.