Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Angry Girlfriend!

Here's a little drawing exercise I give out in my first week of teaching just to see what all of my 2nd Year students are currently capable of. They have to illustrate the following two character scenario:

A teen boy shows up late for a date with his girlfriend.

I tell them that I want to see an emphasis on good clear poses stressing line of action that would also read well in silhouette. I want them to devise entertaining expressions and body language that show what the characters are feeling, all of which should result in a clear visual statement in a single drawing that communicates to the viewer what's going on in the scene. And they have about 20 - 25 minutes to do it before I collect them up and then show them all on the overhead projector in a quick, lighthearted critique.

Since I can't let my students have all the fun, I also draw out the scenario myself during the same timeframe. Here are a couple of different possible approaches I came up with:

In this first sketch, the girl is looking quite defiant with arms folded and back turned on her hapless boyfriend who's trying desperately to plead his case. I like her withering glare!

In this second variation, the girl has taken a more aggressive stance, moving toward the poor guy who's backing away as she's really ripping into him.

In both drawings, I also took a number of quick glances toward my students who were busily producing their own variations, taking note of clothing, hairstyles and facial types that I could incorporate into my sketches. This is something I explained to them afterward, suggesting that they too should develop the good habit of taking visual notes in their sketchbooks on all that they see around them. Building up a reference library of character types, face shapes, fashion, etc, etc., will always result in much richer character designs in future assignments!


Clinton said...

Hey Pete! Are you going to continue to share your classroom experiences on your blog? This is really cool, I'm going to try this out myself. Say, are there any organizations a wannabe 2D guy can join to network?

Pete Emslie said...

Yes, Clinton, I will be posting up some of the handouts and notes from my Character Design class from time to time. I'm planning on using this blog in a supplemental way to expand upon some of the information I present at school, whenever it seems to make sense to. Not everything though.

Clinton said...

Hey Pete, I took a swing at your assignment and posted it on my sketchblog. Let me know what you think.

Kitty said...

Hi ... you don't know me from Adam (or should that be Eve?) but I was sat here (in the UK) doing some blog-browsing, and landed at your page. I just had to leave a comment and say how much I admire your work, and how much I enjoyed reading this blog.
Hope you don't mind that I've bookmarked - will definitely be back.
Take care, and keep blogging!
Kitty :-)

Pete Emslie said...

Welcome to the Cave, Kitty - It's nice to know I have readers across the pond!

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Hee Pete, are you just letting you're students create characters for this lesson? Did you gave them lessons about creating own characters first?

I find it very hard to create my own construction for a self made character. (my characters always ending up being too generic)

I enjoy reading you're blog.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

I hope you really gonna post more of this sort of lessons. I really could use this!


Pete Emslie said...

Hi Mitch,

This particular exercise is what I spring on the students in day one of my course before any instruction has begun. The point being is that I'm trying to ascertain what they already know and have learned from their 1st Year Character Design. Obviously, some students will have more of a natural flair for putting over this scenario more successfully, in terms of posing and characterization. The actual physical design of the two characters is not really as important an issue as yet, but clear communication of an idea is. Incidentally, this is just a quick in-class excercise, not something they are graded on.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Thanks for the answer Pete.

I see forward to seeing some of the drawings of you're students.

I'm hoping I'm not being any trouble but I'm really struggling whit this, what do you need to learn to set up you're own clear poses stressing line of action that would also read well in silhouette? How do you practise that?

Andrew Manzanares said...

This is awesome Pete! I remember doing this in 1st semester...boy was my drawing ever terrible! haha. I always love looking at ur gives me so much inspiration for character types.

Jeremy Joseph said...

Hi Pete,

I came from John K's blog and I'm liking what I see!

I'm certainly very interested in what your students came up with! Can you post those?

Aida Sofía Barba Flores said...

wow, great art!!! =) I like it very much!