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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Charles, what do you look for in character devlopement?

Author Topic: Charles, what do you look for in character devlopement?
Greg B
IE # 118
Member # 886

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Charles, I saw you give a brief portfolio review at the last convention. I've seen so many reviews and done so many that I could see right off the bat you are a pro at it. You didn't invalidate the artist, just pointed out the strong points and weak points and suggested courses of action and references.

So being a character designer, what do you look for? Just asking in general because I've designed hundreds of characters for the comics I've done and never gave the process a second thought nor hesitated. I know what I want, what the character should be and move and gesture as well as interact with others in the story and the environments and situations.

I know there's much more to it but it would be nice to see your viewpoints on the boards here.


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Greg, if you're near the school on a Tuesday night, you should drop in and hang out for a bit. I just started Charles' Character Design 01 class, and half the time I like to listen to Charles critiques of the students designs. It's just like you said, very pointed but positive remarks on what's working and what's not. The come so quick sometimes that it seems like Charles knows what you're going to draw before you do it!
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Actually guys, I discourage that unless we've made an appointment beforehand. If you're inclined to visit while class is going on, I ask anyone not enrolled who would want to do this to contact me first and make arrangements for a visit. It's very disruptive when someone pops in without notice so please make an appointment first.

My focus is on fundamentals and I get great results from my students when they get this aspect of their art down. I always look for the strengths of a student's work and build that up while making them aware of what needs to be taken care of. Once they learn to see and catch the flaws in what they do, they make great progress. With some students it takes a little longer, with others they come around very quickly, but in virtually every instance, they improve significantly and start creating art they never thought they were capable of generating.

I encourage developing one's own unique style and artistic statement as opposed to teaching a standard way or method of design.

Also, I impress upon my students the importance of story and encourage them to think about the narrative aspect of what they're creating.

Much of what I'd be describing from this point on would be things that I save for class. I will say though that positive encouragement is definitely more powerful that putting down a student. And being honest with them is just as important.

And if you really want to become a better artist, then teach. It forces you to define and express your own processes, and you develop a much stronger eye for art. Plus, you learn much more about yourself. I often feel that I'm the biggest student in class when I'm teaching and that has helped me to grow.


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I second that, I volunteer teach cartooning in my son's first grade class and I've actually learned so much from doing that! Actually its more of a reminder to do the things that a lot of times I forget to do while in the heat of drawing. But teaching others is a great way to improve yourself.


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