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Sent on: Dec 18, 2021

The Newsletter: Issue #10

Disney study, character design & making the content you want to see

Hey!

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Hope you've been well :)

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Here's your weekly dose of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours from this past week.

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This week I've been trying to put some of the past couple of weeks learnings into practise by doing some stylised character invention, so this weeks resources are based mainly around character design.

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- What I've been reading this week

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Art related...

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ā€‹The Nine Old Men - Lessons, techniques, and inspiration from Disney's great animatorsā€‹

This is one I'm going to be referencing a LOT in the future.

It does a really nice job of breaking down the work and thoughts of the 'Nine Old Men' (Walt Disney's team of core animators). It's not so much of a 'how to' book, but more so taking a peek into the underlying thoughts of each of these animators.

Two of which (Milt Kahl & Marc Davis) were mentioned in an interview with Shiyoon Kim & Jin Kim (Both character designers at Disney mentioned below).

I'm finding animators are great to study from, because they really have to understand their subject well and from all angles in 3D space (something I'm all about!). This gives them the freedom to create, rather than copy (my main goal in art).

This is a classic that I'll be referencing for many years to come.

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Art Adjacent (mindset)...

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ā€‹Keep Going - 10 ways to stay creative in good times and bad by Austin Kleon (Author of Steal like an artist & Show your work)

I LOVE Austin's books, and this one is no different. I think this one will come in handy for when those inevitable "I'm not feeling it today" days come around.

It has really clear and practical mindset tips about creativity and just doing the 'thing' that although I've heard many of these ideas before; it was a great reminder.

Highly recommend.

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- Videos/ Resources

ā€‹A conversation on Character Design with Shiyoon Kim & Jin Kimā€‹

This week I've started to dive deep into the beautiful work of Shiyoon Kim & Jin Kim. Both are character designers and have created some of the most memorable characters in movies like... Spider-Man: Into the spider verse, Big Hero 6, Tangled, Moana, Encanto, Frozen, Zootopia just to name a few.

You've also probably seen their model sheets on pinterest -> https://www.pinterest.com.au/gusmicheski/shiyoon-kim/ā€‹

ā€‹https://www.pinterest.com.au/kaliope76/jin-kim/ā€‹

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This video is a fantastic conversation about their process and background on all things character design.

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ā€‹FORCE in Character Design: FORCE Fridaysā€‹

I'm in love with the idea of 'Force' in drawing. Especially for the initial gesture drawing.

It's a mental model/technique that Mike Mattesi made popular. Check out his site here -> https://www.drawingforce.com/ā€‹
He also has a youtube channel dedicated to understanding FORCEā€‹

In this video, he outlines some great character designers, thoughts on character design in general as well as a quick demo.

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ā€‹DRAWING BETTER FASTER - HOW TO PRACTISE THE RIGHT WAYā€‹

A funny (and very informative) video by Ethan Becker.

He actually outlines how he'd go about studying from Jin Kim and Shiyoon Kim (mentioned above) and talks about finding the 'Mask' of the face.

Here's where he starts explaining how he'd study -> 3:00ā€‹

Finding the 'Mask' of the face and keeping 'on model' is something I'm getting more and more interested with.
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Great video and one to save as reference for later.

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- Thoughts and musings of the week

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Staying on model (consistency in character design)

I've been doing a bit of light research on how animators and character designers keep consistency with their characters. From preliminary findings I think there's a few key things they do.

  • Keep shapes simple until they need to add detail (simple shapes are easier to manipulate)
  • Creating turn around and model sheets and use them for reference (Those really nice images you see on Pinterest of all different expressions and poses)
  • Get initial proportions from a front on view, then extrapolate them out to other poses
  • Being very familiar with principles of perspective and and understanding the anatomy of your subject (human, animal etc)

A topic I want to dive deeper into for sure. Stay tuned!

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Make the book(post/content/etc) you want to read

This is a principle I picked up from the book "Keep Going" (mentioned above).

It's something I kind of naturally gravitated towards when creating content, but it's something to keep front of mind when expanding my content to my website, videos, courses etc.

And something to keep in mind if you're reading this and you're creating content.
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I think it's a good mindset to have because it 1, makes it easier to both get started and 2, If you're creating something you want to see, it's inevitably going to have your flavour/style embedded into it (and that's differentiation in the marketplace baybeee!)

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Review those saved posts

Just a reminder for both you and I to get them out of those apps (youtube, instagram, twitter), and into somewhere you can utilise/study from them!

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And as always, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!

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Cheers,

Ben

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Email me at b.eblendesign@gmail.com or simply reply to this one.

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