Exercise: Character Development – My own characters

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If there isn’t a superhero for every occasion… then there is now that I have created Aisle Man… the hero of the supermarket. Having just read “No Logo” I thought the creation of a people’s hero to help sort the unethically produced food from the more innocent produce would suit the day. I started playing with the superhero Archetype and gave hime a blindfold to represent justice and third eye so that he could see the secrets behind the brands.


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I had some trouble with the nose.

I had envisaged making him more into a Ghandi character but this mostly caused a problem because I couldn’t do that as well as create a superhero archetype. Perhaps there’s an alternative character that is not a superhero that could be more Ghandi like.

I tried to show where the blind eyes were so that we would perceive that eyes existed and that they were blind.

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His outfit started to grow from a tunic and become somewhat Roman Army:

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…with bot greaves and bracers that are both standards of the superhero.

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His nose still didn’t work – If I were only to show him from the front it would be fine (a bit Asterix!) but he was developing more into the 3D Marvel/DC hero so I found a nose that resembled a Roman helmet nose-guard.

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I’m struggling a bit with the human form as I have too little practice.

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This is a start anyway. I just need to find some great poses to put him in to show his full glory.



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For the second character I just tried doodling with some Promarkers to see what shapes I could find. I have chosen a Ska8ter Boi for the character.

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I quickly found some pleasing shapes that made humans and started to tell the character’s story. I tried to use as little line as possible…

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But found that I needed to draw eye-circles and a nose to help show the direction of gaze and angle of the head.

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After a bit of practice I could re-draw the boi in different poses without drawing lines first.

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He has become just four colours and uses his whole body to express emotions, as well as his mouth.

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I think his skate board could also express some stuff.


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I took a break from making up my own stuff to see how the pros do it. This is my re-production (can I call it ‘fan art’? can I? can I?) of Charlie and Lola and a few friends. I’ve found that the eyes are hugely useful – they move around those slopey ovals producing essential line-of-sight for us to follow. The nose is like a small bulb element and the mouth is a chevron, unless in use.

There are at least two huge amount of effort going on in these drawings… one is to make them look easy… the look o a quick scribble… but the other is the effort needed to get them look absolutely right. I made a few mistakes – just tiny ones – when drawing some parts and they completely destroyed the effect of the finished character.

Having copied them I can se and hear the characters from my drawings but I think that’s because I’ve watched them on TV and read the books to my daughter so I’m very familiar with them.

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This is my imitation of the inimitable Quentin Blake. I watched an interview with him on YouTube where he was drawing pages for a book and the fluidity with which he creates these characters is a wonder to behold. Again, these are deceptively strongly styled… which is to say that my reproductions differ in small ways that have big effects whereas Mr Blake’s originals are as unique as a signature. In fact, the way he draws them bears a strong resemblance to the way a person writes a signature… lots of inexplicable squiggles that always seem to come out looking right.

The eyes (not the witches’ eyes, the other ones) are dots. In contrast to the big white ovals of Charlie and Lola’s eyes these are as minute as you like.

These Roald Dhal characters have mega-flexible bodies that curve and bend in all sorts of ways. There is a lot of expression in the shapes of the whole characters themselves and they express their inner-weirdness, good or bad, in that way.

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Back to Aisl


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