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The best advice I’ve gotten on character design was to start with silhouettes and use a brush bigger than you feel comfortable with. It helps keep you loose, doesn’t allow you to obsess over small details, and ensures your silhouettes read at distance.

My process boils down to:

1. A sheet of silhouettes.
2. A value painting of the best one.
3. A color layer over the value.

@FRENDEN
I really have to try this process more, it just seems intimidating, ya know? To let go of the details control and such

@FRENDEN @crimsontentacles maybe practice with traditional brush and ink? No undo button, just paper and ink, shape the blobs into silhouettes.

@lilith @crimsontentacles I’ve worked on very small thumbs with very big markers to the same effect.

@FRENDEN @crimsontentacles @lilith We do the same thing for our wood-block prints before designing em. Black chunky thumbs to figure out our values and sharp contrast. ;)

@lilith @FRENDEN
THATS EVEN SCARIER OMG but... If it's scary it means it will teach me something.
Going out of comfort zones is not easy.

@crimsontentacles @FRENDEN No, it's not, but the point is to let your brain and your hand loosen up and just...GO. Just do, and in that doing, you can find some true gems that you might not otherwise. (Of course, there will be a lot of dross as well, but that's the nature of art and creating things.)

.@lilith @crimsontentacles

I actively try to make BAD things at the silhouette/thumb stage. It's freeing to say, "I'm going to sit down and purposely draw the worst I can."

It's SO anathema to how you're used to working that your brain and muscle memory for mark making kick in and will not LET you make the worst things possible. It's almost impossible to set outrageously bad drawing as a goal.

Do that a few times and you realize that by giving yourself that initial permission -- no, the dictate -- to make awful things, you actually give yourself the freedom to work at your highest level.

Sketching should never be about the quality of work (unless you're doing a study and not just ideation) but rather about making a record of ideas. And rejecting any idea outright is no bueno. Just let whatever comes out come out.

No one ever has to see it but you. Unless, like me, you show everyone your awful thumbs like an idiot.

@FRENDEN @crimsontentacles
When I'm noodling around in my sketchbook, I also actively avoid the eraser. I find that it works quite well in the "just get idea on paper" mindset.

@lilith @crimsontentacles I started to sketch only in ballpoint for that same reason. Or with drafting lead -- no eraser.

@FRENDEN @crimsontentacles @lilith "Sketching should never be about the quality of work (unless you're doing a study and not just ideation) but rather about making a record of ideas. "

this is so hard sometimes to remember when we've sort of as an art community at large have internalized the idea that sketchbooks should be as perfect as finished work! Seems to have been born out of the James Jean wave of (mindblowing) work he was doing in his sketchbook w/ ballpoint pen, and everyone striving to reach that same level of polish. Which is hard, because while I understand using "sketches" as sort of a finished product for the sake of presentation/larger scale projects (something I'm throwing around in my head lately for my own purposes), when it comes to generating ideas we should throw that expectation of perfection out the window... but it's hard to kick the habit.

@Jaybendt @lilith @crimsontentacles And there's space for that -- if that's your goal. If you're just trying to figure out what to draw, how to draw it, and how you feel about it, just draw it in stick figures if you hafta.

@FRENDEN @crimsontentacles @lilith Absolutely. Funnily enough my thumbnails for actual jobs (editorial) are literal chicken scratch w/ a ballpoint pen at the idea-generating stage, yet somehow the personal projects it's harder to approach this way??? 🤔 Funny how the levels of expectation are so much more different when it's personal work.

@Jaybendt I definitely have that problem with putting personal work on pedestal too.

@FRENDEN Oh man I really need to practice sillhouettes with character design more, and focusing on shape design.

@FRENDEN Thanks for the info. I keep getting caught up in the details no matter how hard I try.

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