How to Draw:
Characters in Action!
Ok, so you’ve designed your character and can easily draw them in a traditional pose. There they are… standing with their arms at the side and tilted in a three-quarters profile. Here’s my character Spark doing just that. Isn’t he great?
Spark in a standard pose. I don’t know…he kinda looks bored.
As you’re probably aware, drawing comics requires you to draw the same characters in a variety of poses to compliment the action in the scene you are depicting. Depending on how you present your artwork, you need to be able to draw your character from every side and every angle. Keep in mind that varying angles can create more visual interest.
Some people are really good at just visualizing an action and then drawing it perfectly. My strength has always been the ability to draw what I see. So I prefer something to look at when I’m drawing most things. However, after I draw it once or twice, it becomes mapped in my memory and I can then reproduce it like a photocopy machine. But I digress.
I’m going to share with you my technique for drawing your characters in action.
Many artists might use a model to pose for them. Using models is great if you have someone available to stand for you in a funny pose while you draw. In fact Spark, as depicted on the cover of Spectre: A Dark Matter, was modeled by my wife. I had her get on one knee and hold an object up so that I could get the arms and legs just right. But what if I needed a pose that was a little exaggerated or in a condition that normal human’s couldn’t hold for more than 2 seconds?
Let’s say I want to draw Spark in a pose that captures him in mid-air; just having jumped from a high place. In other words…Falling! Well, since a normal person can’t hold a pose in mid-air long enough for me to draw them, a simple search in Google Images might yield me some good pictures.
I did a search for "Person jumping off a cliff" which found, for me, this image:
Is this guy ending it all?
The image above looks like something I can work with. The first thing I’m going to do is to break this person’s pose into a simple stick figure. I locate the head; which is my anchor. I next locate the waist-box; which is the major point of pivot in the human body. I connect the head to the waist which becomes a virtual spinal column. Next I cross the line of the shoulder and put it at an angle that is comparable to the photo. Then I create simple arms and legs. This elaborate and time consuming process should take you all of about 10 seconds.
What I get is a real sketchy image, like the one shown below.
Where’s my skin? Help!
Once you have your stick figure mapped out, you basically have a simple skeleton for your character. You can now start to apply the features of the character you designed over this skeleton. Just start scribbling the head and body of your character. Next, fill in the arms and legs. You will start to see your character taking shape in the dramatic pose you are emulating.
There we go…now finish the detailing, please!!
At this point, we’re still really sketchy. You can still tweak the pose if you feel like you want to make some adjustments. Maybe you want to make it more dramatic or expressive; it’s up to you. It’s much easier to tweak a sketch than the final image. Here the art is still fluid and the design is getting to it’s final position. Once you get your character into the exact pose that you want, you’re ready to hardline your character and fill in the detail.
Finishing the Art
The way I clean up my drawings for final pencils is to start in the upper left corner and erase a little bit at a time and draw clean lines over the "just erased" lines. Erase a little, then draw, erase a little, then draw. Keep doing this till you get to the bottom and finish the character. This is where the precision eraser comes into play, as I wrote in my Tools for Drawing post. This is an absolutely essential tool for me for the way I draw. The result will be your awesome character in a much more exciting pose.
A completed Spark in a more dramatic, Falling Pose…
Now that’s what I’m talking about! This is more exciting!
Using photos you find on the internet is a great way to have a cheap model stand perfectly still while you draw. You can probably find any pose that you need with a simple Google Image Search. Also, If you’re drawing animals or creatures, you can probably find some animal in a postion that you can break down into a stick figure and apply your character or creature over. Use this method to draw your characters in action poses and fill out your comic book pages. To learn how to create your own comic book, Click Here!