Character Consistency – Character Turnaround Exercise

One of the things I find challenging about doing sequential illustrations is having my characters stay consistent from page to page and from pose to pose.  I thought doing some turnarounds would give me some good drawing practice.

Today I chose to work on a basic child character.  I didn’t want to complicated things with clothes and hair and such. I use this same body type for a lot of different characters so I wanted to create some reference for my generic little kid.

After I drew the figure from the front, I drew him/her from 3/4, side, and back views.  To help keep the proportions the same from pose to pose, it helps to draw straight lines across the page to note the position of various body parts; the eyes, the mouth, the tip of the nose etc.  I find drawing on graph paper or lined notebook paper can also be helpful.

Keeping track of how many heads tall your character is another way to help maintain consistency.  Rarely do characters stay in this static standing position. Measuring how many “heads” tall the character is a useful tool to check your drawings in more dynamic poses.  Note, that my characters are stylized.  This character, which I envision is being about 5-year-olds, is 4 heads high.  A real-life 5 year-old would actually be about 6 heads tall.

To test the accuracy of my drawings, I scanned all my poses into Photoshop and placed them on separate Photoshop layers one top of another.  By turning the layers on and off it I could flip through the poses and see where there I had made mistakes.

Another cool thing is that once your are done, you can use the Photoshop Timeline window to make an animation.  Select “Make Frames from Layers.”  Below is the resulting Photoshop animation.  I then did an Export –> Save for Web and saved as a GIF (since I did the animation, it saves it as an animated GIF).  Any anomalies in the drawings quickly become apparent when you string them together like this.

If you give this a try yourself please share your results in the comment section.  Happy drawing!