Pushing Character Designs

Vanishing Ink, my next personal book project, continues growing in the back of my mind. At CTNX this year, I asked many of my favorite designers in the animation industry to draw over my character designs.

Before I start, I must add (since my professional focus is animation) that I showed my animation demo reel  to the various studios at the expo and their response was AWESOME: it sounds like I’ll be animating in a studio again soon. And now, Here are the characters I started with:


To my surprise, when I asked Tom Bancroft, Isaac Orloff, Liana Hee and others for a drawover, their first reaction was something like “But why? These are great!” And then, upon close inspection, they had some GREAT feedback for me.

Tom Bancroft, though he didn’t want to spoil my “Great Style”, made excellent observations about the boy’s proportions, the size of the heads, and the size differences in the facial features:

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The 3 wonderful artists above made notes on the leading female character. Mainly on the sense of weight in the character and the length of her arms:

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My friend and Illustrator Nasan Hardcastle did a very detailed draw over finessing aspects of my protagonist. He noted that the character with glasses was his favorite, but suggested I simplify the furniture surround him so the eye doesn’t get sucked away from the face with all that detail.

Isaac’s drawover was simple, clear and very informative. When I asked it he had any changes to make to the hair, he through in a humorous hairdo:

It is so informative to watch a brilliant artist sketch over your work. I can’t speak highly enough of these artists and the amazing conversation I had with them AND OTHERS at CTNX. Though I didn’t make every change in their sketches, I could see what they were trying to fix in my drawings and made changes to support the characters’ personalities.

With all those notes in mind, I refined my designs. But before I wrote this post, former Disney character designer (and BRILLIANT art teacher) Chris Oatley gave me some mind blowing facial design tips that took my characters to a whole new level. He made some further suggestions I will address as I continue to develop this exciting book:


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And now…Back to animating.

I’d love to hear any suggestions or comments you have below. I will respond to all comments on this post!

  • David Edwards

    You have an amazing gift Scott — you have these amazing images in your head and take them to completion. It challenges me to not just settle. And that’s the random thought of the day hope youguys are well

    • Thanks, David! I’ve come to realize however that the images in my head are never as cool as the discovery process that follows! Collaboration plays a HUGE my in my personal process!

  • Michael Loeck

    Brilliant!!! I think a lot if people can learn for you Scott. My only suggestion on the image after you made your edits. I feel the props being held for the little kid and the guy in the middle don’t reflect their character as well as it could. That’s my only comment. But it’s not a deal breaker.

    • Thanks so much, Michael! Your feedback always carries a lot of weight in my book. I’ll keep your comment in mind as I develop them further.

  • Andy Long

    I dig it Scott! Really awesome works overall 😀 Keep it up man!

    • Thanks, Andy! I will most definitely keep it up. They’ll be getting even better from here.

  • TCar

    Great work Scott, you got some real talent! Looking forward to the next steps! It’s Ty by the way!

    • Mr. Ty Carrick! It has been awhile. Thanks for the kind words. My next big, most important step is to get the story right. As far as design goes, I’ll be really digging in to the faces, get some good solid gestures for each character, and then I’ll get into discovering some key images for the book. This will take awhile, as I am still working primarily on pushing my animation skills.

      • TCar

        Well, keep it up, your work is really showing the effort you are putting forth! 🙂

  • Joan Baggett

    It all looks wonderful and you did great of getting the suggestions into your characters!

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