a lilHELLO and a question

  • Just wanted to say a lilHELLO and ask a quick question 🙂

    Inktober 2018 was my first ever Inktober and I loved it, but at the same time was sort of glad when it finished lol

    In the process of researching Jake before starting Inktober though, I found SVS and these forums and was like YES! My New Future Home 🙂

    I'm excited to finally join these forums, I've been wanting to be part of an art community for agggggessss 🙂

    I've been drawing since 2013, doing realistic pencil drawings mostly, but Art has been so powerful in my life. It's set me free … it's allowed me to accept myself as Transgender; Art has changed my life!

    I'll stick a photo of some of my drawings in here, but the thing is, I never intended to do realistic pencil drawings, it just sort of happened as I started learning how to draw. My real dream was, and still is, to bring my custom character lilSOPHIE to life and create lil Transgender themed stories with her 🙂


    Inktober 2018 was all about lilSOPHIE, I had a weeks rest since it finished, but am eager to get back into some sort of structured learning routine, so I can improve lilSOPHIE ... because at the moment, she's so inconsistent.

    Sometimes she has lovely long legs, sometimes lil legs, sometimes a big fat arse, sometimes no butt at all lol I really feel a bit lost and overwhelmed as to where to start really.

    • Is there any SVS course you would recommended to start with for creating characters?

    • Are there any drawing exercises I can do to improve my ability to draw lilSOPHIE from an angle?

    • Is it just a case of drawing her over and over until I get the feel for her?

    I'll stick a photo of some of the Inktober lilSOPHIEs below 🙂


    Thank you for these forums, I can't wait to play along, hopefully make some friends, dive into the SVS courses and start trying to level up me skills 🙂

    Take care,


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @sophielawson welcome to the forums! To answer your question about drawing from any angle, I think the course "how to draw anything" will help you out.

  • @sophielawson Hi Sophie! Welcome to the forums! Yes, art has such a power to heal and transform. Your work is beautiful.

  • welcome Sophie! lilSOPHIE is really nice. I can't give any advice (I am a beginner) but I am sure you'll find some useful tips on the forum.

  • hi, Sophie. Love the shape language you use in your lilsophies design. It is great that you allow yourself to play with the character during inktober time, always good to explore options :-).
    Regarding to the character design for stories: I recently watched SVS's course "Illustrating Children's Books Part 1", and highly recommend going through the course. In this course, Jake demonstrated how you can design a character roughly, and then sketch out a rough storyboard for the entire book, then come back to redesign the character based on what the story needs.
    My suggestion for you would be to try your character in some stories, start with a short story, and develop the character along with making stories.
    have fun 🙂

  • SVS OG

    Welcome, Sophie!

    There's an SVS course "Breathing Life into your Character Designs" but I also want to recommend the book Creating Stylized Characters, which has a lot of fundamentals for building a character, and even walks through the character design process from at least 4 artists. (The same company, 3DTotal, also makes the fantastic Character Design Quarterly magazine. The latest #6 is a treasure trove of talent and tips.)

    Like you said, the answer for developing a character is also partially "draw this thing 1000 times." I am working on some characters for a personal project and the more I draw them, the more refined they become. One character is a horse and I actually found a large toy horse with articulated joints so I can pose it and see how it looks from different angles. This helps a ton!

  • First of all, welcome!

    Second of all, holy crap your pencil work is good.

    Third of all, isn't it awesome how art can be such good therapy? It's such a great way to work through things, explore and express ideas and feelings. I'm glad it's helped you.

    Drawing your character will get easier with time. Be sure to start loose and have construction lines that will help you position the face and such how you want. Your process will get refined with time, and don't worry if your character changes somewhat over time. It's a natural thing - look at Garfield in the 1970's compared to Garfield in the 1990's and you'll see what I mean. Or 1950's Snoopy compared to 2000 Snoopy. People change as they age, and I think characters do, too.

    If you are concerned about character consistency, think about making character charts. Turn-arounds, notes documenting how long the hair is, or how long the legs are, or what color the clothes are can be a big help in keeping things consistent.

    If you want to study character design further, I recommend finding artists whose characters you like, and taking those characters and breaking them down into basic shapes and studying how they fit together. Think about why you like the ones you like, and why you don't like the ones you dislike. If you need help finding some characters, there's a thing on Facebook (it might be on Instagram and Twitter, too) called Character Design Challenge, and there are a ton of awesome designs there.

  • @chip-valecek Thank you Chip. I've made a note, I'm starting the SVS courses on Wednesday, so will jump into that one and see how it goes 🙂

  • @eli Thank you Eli 💞

  • @julia Hello Julia. Thank you 🙂

  • @xin-li Hello Xin. I've made a note of the course 🙂 Thank you. That sounds like such a good idea, I'm getting excited now 🙂 Thank you.

  • @carriecopa Hello Carrie. Thank you for the recommendations 🙂 I do prefer working from books, dunno why, but I will most likely buy that as I do love copying other artists sketches 🙂

    I love the sound of a character design focused magazine, sounds absolutely amazing. Just found it online, sold out of issues 1 and 2 😞 I'm going to look on YouTube in a minute to see if anyone's flicking through an issue, think I'm going to have to buy that. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these!

    OH MY!! They sell these on ebay 🙂 WOOHOO! I just purchased issue 5 and 6, the first issue is on there, but it's like £70. That's mental. Do you have all the issues Carrie? They're on YouTube too 🙂

  • @twiggyt Thank you Twiggy. I love the thought of breaking other artists characters down into basic shapes. Never thought about doing that. Carrie just recommended some magazines/books, so I think I will try this with any of the characters I like in those 🙂

    I think I need to do character chart. I've seen some other artists do this on Instagram I think, they always look so cute lol … yes, a character chart sounds exciting 🙂 Do you do one when you first create a character or once you know what your character is about? Could you use a character chart to find you character? Like, could that be the starting point for a new character?

    Thank you so much Twiggy.

  • SVS OG

    @sophie-lawson I have issues 04 and 06. (I knew a couple artists featured in 06 so I had to order it!) I wouldn't worry too much about back issues though if the price is so steep - the retail price is $16 / £11. I'm definitely considering a subscription though! It's like getting the one issue free.

  • @sophie-lawson I generally do character turn-arounds and such once I have the character figured out a bit. I do a bunch of sketches and start figuring out what I want the character to look like, and once I get something I feel is really solid I try redrawing the character to see if there's anything I'm struggling to re-create consistently. Once I feel like the character is pretty solid I do stuff like turn-arounds, expressions, and color studies to nail the design down.

  • @sophie-lawson One more thing--if you haven't checked out Jake's course on stylizing human characters here on SVS, you might find it interesting as well. He talks a lot about shape language and the spectrum between realism and abstraction. It is worth a watch if you're into character design...

  • @carriecopa Carrie … I went a bit mental after your post and purchased loads of books last night lol I picked up issue 5 and 6 and the book you mentioned, as well as about 7 other books that I found on YouTube related to your ones 🙂

    "Sketching from the Imagination - Characters" seems like a really nice one for copying the sketches inside 🙂 Here's a flick through on YouTube

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share these books Carrie, got me really excited.

  • @twiggyt Thank you Twiggy.

    Just googled turnaround sheet … cool 🙂 I've never drawn lilSOPHIE side on before … not even sure what her side looks like in my head yet lol

    Character sheets looks so fun. I think I could get addicted to just creating new characters just to make new character sheets 🙂

  • @eli Thank you Eli … I've made a note 🙂 Going to start some videos tomorrow after work.

  • SVS OG

    @sophie-lawson Oooh, that Sketching from Imagination book looks like a really good resource! Might have to pick that up myself, thanks for sharing!

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