In illustrating our children's book, "Oscar's Naughty Chicken", I am faced with many crowd scenes to draw.
As a kid, I always hated when cartoonists would make the backround characters generic nobodies. Since they weren't major characters, why take the time to make them look interesting? Great cartoonists like Al Capp, Bill Elder & Warren Kremer (Yes, Warren Kremer!) always avoided this trap.
I like all the characters in my book to look interesting, even if they are only appearing on one page. Unfortunately, sometimes I slip into formula drawing, and everyone ends up looking the same.
To remedy this, I like filling up pages with random character designs, like the ones you see above. These are all off the top of my head, sketched quickly with a ballpoint pen on copy paper. After a few dozen pages of these, I have a wide range of character types to choose from. Some are poor, some are derivative, but some are fun and with a little tweaking, they'll find their way into the book. I'm not saying the above doodles are examples of great cartooning, but exercises like this get my "wheels turning".
And yes, the next step is to figure out their body types and personalities.
Labels: character designs