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In this tutorial we will look at the process of creating a character. We‘ll start by coming up with a concept for the orc, then we‘ll give him a sleigh, and in the third chapter we‘ll put the two next to one another and add colors and some extra effects. As usual my path is very straight forward and easy to apply to your own ideas.
Our final result
If you already have in your mind what you want your character to be and know exactly where to start, that‘s great. You may be very familiar with the subject you want to draw, or you have already spent hours thinking about this while working on another project. But if the subject is unfamiliar to you or you don‘t know where to start that‘s no problem either. You can choose a pose that you think would be a good reference. It doesn‘t have to look like the character you are about to design yet. I chose the reference because I liked the way it slouched to one side. On the right side, I did an initial sketch to show how the proportions for my orc will differ from a human.
Draw a rough sketch of the proportions that you want to achieve.
Constructing the shape of the body
In our next step we simply draw our pose while transforming its proportions so we get something that resembles the proportions of our orc sketch. Note how I resized the hips (and chest) and the head. As you can see I removed the sideways tilt of the chest and adjusted the pose as I didn‘t find the slouching element suited for an orc. I found the arm muscles to be a little bulky. This will be corrected in our next step.
The body is constructed based on two references from the previous step.
Tweaking the shapes and designing the head
Once I‘m happy with the overall design of the body I redraw it and see where I can improve it. It can be the same position, but if you’re like me and like to challenge yourself then feel free to choose a different one. Next, we will look at the head. We already chose the basic shape in our previous step, but we can now move the features around to get a result we like. You can compare the results by placing a few versions side-by-side. I initially thought that a longer chin was cool, but when I lowered the mouth it looked more like a face of an orc.
Try a few different faces and compare them until you find the one that‘s perfect.
Cleaning up our drawing
Once we are happy with the design of our head it‘s time to transfer the proportions to the head of our character. The lines of the character should be cleaned up until only the muscle shapes can be seen. Their shapes must be well-defined and readable without drawing too much attention. Once I‘m happy I start adding a first layer of clothing. You can draw all the clothes at once, but I prefer to think in layers.
The lines are easier to clean up when you’ve carefully considered every element.
Designing the armor
We are going to add Christmas-themed elements later, but for now we will focus on the important aspects of his clothes. We’ll give him some fur to help him with the harsh winter temperatures, and we’ll also add lots of leather, buckles and stitching to get the right vibe for an orc armour. I design with lines, so I do a quick check of the silhouette at the end. I fill the character with black and make sure that the shapes can be read.
Next, we will examine the sleigh.
If you design with lines don‘t forget to check the silhouette.