Consistency in characters

  • SVS OG

    I have been trying to work on this in my sketches lately and I can see some small improvements from where I was before. But does anyone have tips on how to keep characters consistent? My girl deteriorated in the side and 3/4 view ☹️


  • SVS OG

    Hi @MissMushy ! I really want to be able to help you but sadly, I have the exact same problem so I'm hoping someone else can help both of us out! My instinctive thought would be to deconstruct and reconstruct characters based on really simple, 3D shapes that are easier to turn in space than finished faces/bodies. So perhaps practicing turning 3D shapes around would help. And I guess practicing form reference can't hurt either... But if you find anything helpful please share!!

  • SVS OG

    As @ShannonBiondi said, consistency can be helped by breaking the figure down into geometric shapes and by drawing contours on those shapes so that proportions all match. This video might be helpful

  • Hi @MissMushy! I think it would be handy to 1) break the character down into simple shapes: sphere for the head, cylinders for the neck and limbs, etc., 2) draw centre lines on the sphere to determine where the features should be placed, and practise turning the head around with all the construction lines in.

    These are pages from Preston Blair's book, Cartoon Animation. It is a book I've studied quite extensively. This page in particular shows how to draw in those construction lines.



    For practice, I would just copy the heads in the pages of these books as many times as I can, going slow at first to ensure I'm being as accurate as possible.

    The books I would recommend are:

    • Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair
    • Fun With Pencils by Andrew Loomis

  • Hi there! I used to struggle with that a lot too but I've managed to find my way around that problem. Maybe I can help ya here!

    Looking at your model sheet ( it's really nice composed, by the way) I get a feeling that you lack some knowledge in the way face actually works and looks. I hope that you don't get offended when I say that your face structure ( especially the side view) needs a bit of revision. Try paying attention to the placement of the features and to the planes of the face, since they play huuuge role in turning your head around.
    Once you practice that a bit more, turning your character's head at different angles should be much easier.

    Another thing that can help you (it helped me a tone and still does!) when doing multiple views of one character is to really deconstruct it into simple shapes ( boxes and spheres ) and draw those first. Mark some points of interest on your construction too and pay attention to their position. Here, for example, I would draw a line not only for here eyes but also for her bangs. Then I can compare the space between the line that represents her eyes and her bangs and keep it consistent.
    So in a nutshell, what you want is a construction with the most important spots marked on it, without all the details like eyes, cloths folds, patternt etc. Keep that construction on your screen the entire time you're drawing the character and keep on looking back on it, compare the distances and negative shapes, use it as a reference.
    That's what REALLY has helped me to keep my characters consistent. 😄

    Here's an obvious one but judging from those character turns, I don't think you've used it or used it correctly. Use some kind of a grid! 😄
    When I do turns, I create a separate layer underneath my characters and I have some straight lines in there that mark some important spots. I have two lines for the general height of my character, then I have some lines dividing my character into bigger chunks like head, torso, legs, various joints ( elbows, knees etc ) and sometimes even some for some features specific to the character ( postion of a shoulder pad?, some kind of belt? a tattoo on character's arm? ).
    If there is too many lines and it gets confusing, I either color code them or separate them into more layers, one for general and important shapes, other for details and less important stuff.
    It helps in making a decent turn!
    Watch out though! You're gonna need some perspective knowledge in order to do that since in views like 3/4, you need to have depth and dimensionality in mind so you can't mindlessly follow the guide lines.

    Uff, that was a lot of writing! Hope it helps you though! Good luck with your future projects! 😌

  • SVS OG

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond! Whew lots of good stuff here. I’ll take a look at the resources suggested and the tips offered and give them a try. Thanks again - it is really helpful to have specifics to work on. 😁

  • Stumbled upon this older thread while I was searching for keywords ''character consistency'', and just to leave it here as it might help someone, it seems that Preston Blair's book ''Cartoon Animation'' is available as pdf online -

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