Part 3: Creating a Comic Character

Part 3: Creating a Comic Character

By Karl Dixon
Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4

Pic me-1First I’d like to apologize for the change in plans that I’d promised in last week’s post;  the Photoshop tutorial is a much larger project than I first imagined. Detailing the specifics of coloring  a cartoon in Photoshop is more complicated than I’d realized, to address in a single post.

So on this, the third of my character series, I’d like to show you how I break the main character, Captain Alzheimer down into workable chunks.

The reason why I do this–and the reason why so many other cartoonists do  as well– is simple: If you have a workable structure, your character will always look the same, no matter how many times he is drawn.

So without further delay, let’s get our pencils and paper out and dive right in.

Cartoonist diary--- how to draw Cap Altz 1
1).  First, draw a kind of light-bulb shape

2). Then divide both the rectangle and the round sections into four sections. These will eventually be the head and body. Add stick arms and legs to the circles for hands, and bread-stick shapes for feet; the arc shapes on the arms will be the tops of his marigold gloves.

3).  Now give him a V-neck, (this is the start of his cape); draw a circle to denote where the knot will end up. Add the gloves and the shape of his thumb and finger on his left hand.

4). To finish off this section, fill out his arms and legs and complete the shape of the fingers. Then move onto the cape; think about the folds and how they will fall. Finally, add little cartoon toes.

Now it’s time to move onto the head. It’s so important to get the face right. The wrong facial expression can ruin the look, stance and personality of your character.

Cartoonist diary--- how to draw cap altz 2

1). Using the dividing lines (as  in fig. 2 above) extend the horizontal line to just outside of the rectangle on both sides. These will be his heavy eyebrows. Next, draw the nose, using the horizontal line as a guide.

2). Draw in the lines in that denote the bottom of his mask; place his eyes. Note: I’ve rounded off the top of his head using the extreme left and right of the rectangle as a guide.

3).  Draw his mouth. This particular expression gives him the look of confused pomposity that I want in this character. On top of his head draw the capital A attached by a piece of wire

I will address facial expressions in a future tutorial. For now, we must move on to the final stages, and clean up the finished drawing of Captain Alzheimer by filling in the solid black for the back of his cape and the word “err…” on the front of his thermals. Also add a few dots here and there to show that he’s wearing thermals.

In Part 4 on ‘How to Draw a new Cartoon Character’ I’ll be dealing with the writing of a comic page script. 

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