How to Draw a Character Model Sheet

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How to Draw a Character Model Sheet. Consistency is key when your goal is to have recognizable characters in an ongoing work. The more you draw, the more refined your technique will become and the more defined your style will become--but not necessarily consistent. Creating a Model Sheet for each character gives you a chance to solidify distinctive traits and make a road map to follow as you continue to work with your main and supporting characters. Here is how to draw one.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Reference pictures
  • Mirror
  • Tracing paper
  • Tape
  • Make a lot of sketches.

    Before you decide on the final figure for your character, make some freehand sketches or look through ones you've already made. Take the best parts of each and put them together. This is also a good time to pull reference photos for facial features, hair, clothing, poses and any other elements you can think of.

  • Mark rule lines across a wide piece of paper to keep your figure in proportion while you draw the same character from various angles.

    At the minimum, draw a face-forward and a profile view. A three-quarter turn and a rear view will also be helpful. If you really want to be complete, do a full 6-figure rotation with the opposite profile and a rear three-quarter view.

  • Focus on facial features.

    Next do a series of just faces--also a good time to practice hairstyles--in various expressions. Set up a mirror to watch your own face or fire up a DVD and hit pause to study different emotions that you will translate into your character's face.

  • Trace over your main lines.

    If you tend to be a bit sketchy or erase a lot of your lines on the initial character sheet, taping a piece of tracing paper over the page and drawing just the main lines can help clarify your designs. This is a good time to make any notes about particular features that will act as cues for your readers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practicing action poses and props on additional sheets is also a good idea.
  • Trace over your images several times to practice different inking techniques or to experiment with a new style.
  • Do this with all of your frequent characters. For walk-ons or seldom-used characters, a shorter version will work just fine.
  • Photo Credit Jennifer Walker
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