Week 8: Life drawing, Dirk the Daring Homework

Week 8


This week’s homework was to study the character concept drawings of Dirk The Daring (1983) by Don Bluth(1937-present). I found this a really enjoyable task, tricky at the start but I became a lot more familiar in drawing the character as I repeated drawing him.

From this homework, I was able to further understand the importance of instructive concept pieces such as this for animators and that this was not just a process for 2D animation. This method is still crucial for fully understanding the true form of a character for accurate repeated design and production. It’s crucial to understand every proportion of a character from head to toe so as to give them the justice of an honest representation that is both true to physics (in an anatomic sense) and true to the original design.

It’s clear to me from this exercise that characters are drawn in this layout in order to be able to be drawn by anyone unfamiliar with the character. As if you could pass on these clear illustrated instructions on how to draw the character and it could be replicated with no conversation needed to be had about it.

Since my Winnie the Pooh sketches of a similar task a few weeks back, I feel like I’ve really improved in my understanding. In the past exercise, my drawings looked totally out of sync and out of proportion which I could only see under the direction of Mike who simply informed me that I hadn’t correctly observed the heads-high rule! It was clear to me then that I had over-compensated on things like facial details and head shape but the overall result of the poses looked sloppy and physically incorrect. I know now that it is crucial to observe the characters head height and proportions before even thinking of facial details!

Making a character move in a way that looks like the exact same features at all angles is a tricky thing to do! But now that I understand that process through improvement I am excited to practice and get the hang of it, in order to apply it to my own character designs.


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