Exploring Different Styles

I wanted to try copying and doodling some heads using styles from other artists. I'm not settled on how I want my graphic novel to look, but I've definitely got a direction as should become pretty obvious looking at the examples below. Styles that have clean lines, minimal colour gradients, basic shapes, simplified forms, and basic shading appeal to me and are all things I want to incorporate into my style when I design characters for my book. I had fun doodling through the various references below!

Adventure Time is one of my favourite shows and the clean linework, simple colours really appeal. Faces are also very simplified - the eyes especially.


Andrew McClean has some nice linework reminiscent of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. I like the simple forms and shape with detail added on top.


Anthony Holden has a unique style that is sort of anime and sort of cartoon. I really dig it, and it all looks so adorable!


Hilda by Luke Pearson is another inspiration. I really like the look it got when it transitioned to being animated on Netflix.


Stephen Universe has such great character designs. One head is just a sphere in a box - that's awesome and also much easier to visualize in imaginary 3D space.


Varguy has some beautiful artwork. His linework is simple and a clean, but also has a loose quality to them. I feel like the colour choices combined with his linework make his pieces stand out.

Gestures of the Week 2020-05-08








The Big Expressions Post

The next stop on my face and head drawing practice is expressions - the 6 major expressions. There are many expressions the face can make which can arise from internal emotional states as well as come from external sources. I've focused on the major 6 expressions because most expressions can be derived through some combination of the 6. A lot of what I learned here came from the book "Making Comics" by Scott McCloud.

The muscles of the face along with their umm... simpler names

I've tried to boil each expression down into a simpler form. The face has a lot of skin and muscle that bulges around, and it can get a little overwhelming to think about that as you try to draw an expression. As long as you retain the principles of each expression I think the viewer will have an easier time reading the desired expression. I've also added some examples from various animated sources to go along with each expression.




 Expressions and their underlying emotions can have varying intensities. The lower the intensity the subtler the expression. I find subtle expressions are harder to distinguish, but are very important in alerting a reader as to what a character might be thinking or feeling. Context helps, but I think it might be required to exaggerate an expression a little bit to get the desired effect.


Well, that's pretty much it. I've learned it all. Just kidding, but I feel like I've got a good base now. I'd like to explore some of the different styles I see other artists draw their faces in so that's what I'll be trying out in the next couple of weeks! I look forward to posting it here :)

Some Doodles

Just a few doodles, practicing expressions and having fun. My daughter got a hold of the one and scribbled a few lines over it - an artist in the making!