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!

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