Thursday, 15 November 2007

Expressions: Dr. Jeckyll


Drawing expressions is probably my favourite part of the character design proces. Well, at least on par with the initial ideas stage. I suppose I enjoy these the most because I get to really explore the specific personality traits of a character. I'm also concerned with getting good rhythm, balance and a flow in my linework by this stage.


Thinking about it, in some ways it's sort of self-indelugent to lose myself in character exploration. Having distilled all my ideas into a design, to then explore the character's emotions is a real treat.


I turn out dozens of sketches for each emotion. You only see a small selection here, I'd imagine including them all would get quite boring.

I'm of the opinion that there should never be a stock "happy" expression or "sad" face. In the real-world, human expressions are rooted in emotions and are always governed by the context in which they are made. I'm probably stating the obvious here but this I have a range of drawings grouped under the 'umbrella' descriptions of "sad", "happy", angry etc.


These drawings serve as a guide to the character's emotional range, or at the very least, help illustrate what does and doesn't work for their personality. Just like a turnaround drawing, the intention is not to have them copied but used as reference in conjunction with scene layouts (for animation) or storyboard thumbnails (for a picture book or comic).


How do you show disgust? The answer depends on what he's disgusted with and how much it disgusts him.


Humans don't ever experience the exact same emotion twice and it shows, in how they express it. That concept is the foundation I like to work from when developing a character's emotional range.


  1. Hi Rafi,
    Thanks for your comments on my blog.
    I use black ink with a nib pen for black outlines and when those are dry, I use a brush and water and same ink to add a wash or two.
    Nice stuff here on your blog. Are you a CG animator?

  2. Hi Uli,

    I thought as much, nice touch and terrific control. great use of tone in your drawings - a strong sense of value is something I try for in my concept drawings.

    In answer to your question - I am primarily a character animator / storyteller. I have more experience in CG animation than in hand-drawn, although I am now developing some of that too!

    I do a lot of character design which always starts out traditional i.e. hand-drawn on paper, but eventually gets used in a CG environment either manipulated in After Effects or modelled in CG (something I don't do).

    I tend to focus more on developing personalities, shaping performances and strive for meaning in whatever scene I'm working on, if that makes sense?

    Basically, I'm character-driven / focussed! :)