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How to Draw… Dippy Duck

With all this talk about character design, I thought it was about time for me to follow-up with my very first “How To Draw…” blog post. Where better to start than with my star character, Dippy Duck? This will be the first in this series, which I hope you will find fun!

Tools of the Trade

All you need is some paper, pencils, and crayons (and maybe an eraser) and you’re set! Please remember to stay loose and draw lightly. Do not bear down on your pencil and allow the shapes to build up. It sometimes helps to practice drawing circles first to help you loosen up!

Please read some of the Character Design posts I’ve done as well; they’re sure to be helpful in helping improve your drawing skills.

Dippy Duck Front View

First, lets take a look at Dippy from the front view:

See, it’s easy and you can do it too! Lets break it down step by step.

  1. Start with a circle. Add a vertical guideline through the center of the circle top to bottom. Then, add a horizontal guideline towards the bottom of the circle, approximately 1/4 of the way from the bottom.
  2. Add eye shapes. Dippy has large, egg-shaped eyes, they are about half the height of the full circle. To help you make the eyes the same size on either side of the head, it is often helpful to draw another guideline. You will also note that they dip a little below the horizontal guideline.
  3. Eyebrows. Draw two upside-down ‘U’ shapes, one above each eye. The curve of the eyebrow should mimic the same curve as the top of his eye.
  4. Bridge of bill and cheeks. Draw three more upside-down ‘U’ shapes. The first one is stretched out in between his eyes, curving from the bottom of the left eye to the bottom of the right eye. This is the bridge of his bill, or where his nose would be (if he had one). The other two, will make up his cheeks on either side. They will curve off of the eye and outside of the circle for now.
  5. Add his tuft of feathers. This is just a ‘shark fin’ shape that sits right on top of his eyebrows.
  6. Bottom of the bill. At the bottom of the circle, draw a curved line. It will just float here for now.
  7. Sides of the bill. On either side of the curved line, you will need to draw two ‘S’ curves (or maybe question marks ‘?’ if you prefer). the one on the right will be a forward ‘S’ and the one on the left will be a backwards ‘S’. this will connect to the curved line at the bottom of the bill, and end just under his cheek.
  8. Adding depth to his bill. Above the bottom of Dippy’s bill, draw another curved line that follows that same curve. This adds a foreshortening effect, giving the bill an illusion of depth.
  9. Finish off the cheeks. Starting where you ended your cheeks, curve them back around to meet the sides of the bill we drew earlier.
  10. Add the mouth. Draw another ‘U’ shape under the bottom of the bill. Make sure that the mouth “connects” with the cheeks. You can do this by drawing some guidelines lightly through the bill.
  11. Draw the neck. Dippy’s neck is basically just a tube shape that will connect to your original circle, tapering slightly. You can draw lightly through the bill to make sure it connects.
  12. Connect the bill to the head. Above the cheeks on either side, draw a curved line off the top of the cheek that connects back to the side of the circle. This is the muscle that connects Dippy’s bill to his head.
  13. Add pupils. Dippy’s pupils are large oval shapes. Draw the entire oval in the corner of his eye, making sure that it stays grounded. The pupil takes up about a third of the total height of his eye.
  14. Clean up. Erase all of your guidelines, including the horizontal and vertical guides, parts of the original circle, and any other guidelines you may have drawn.
  15. Color and complete! Dippy has bright, cerulean blue feathers unlike other ducks and a very bright orange bill!

That’s it!

Dippy Duck 3/4 View

Now that you’re a master at drawing Dippy Duck from the front view, lets take a look at him from a 3/4 angle:

Dippy from 3/4 has very similar steps as Dippy from a front view. Let’s take a look below.

  1. Start with a circle. Add a vertical guideline through the center of the circle top to bottom. Then, add a horizontal guideline towards the bottom of the circle, approximately 1/4 of the way from the bottom. These will both have a slight curve to them now, since Dippy is turning his head to a 3/4 view.
  2. Add eye shapes. Dippy has large, egg-shaped eyes, they are about half the height of the full circle. The eye on the left will be flattened a bit, due to the perspective. You will also note that both eyes dip a little below the horizontal guideline.
  3. Eyebrows. Draw two upside-down ‘U’ shapes, one above each eye. The curve of the eyebrow should mimic the same curve as the top of his eye. The one on the left is smaller since it is further away.
  4. Bridge of bill and cheeks. Draw three more upside-down ‘U’ shapes. The first one is stretched out in between his eyes, curving from the bottom of the left eye to the bottom of the right eye. This is the bridge of his bill, or where his nose would be (if he had one). The other two, will make up his cheeks on either side. They will curve off of the eye and outside of the circle for now.
  5. Add his tuft of feathers. This is just a ‘shark fin’ shape that sits right on top of his eyebrows.
  6. Bottom of the bill. Starting below his right cheek, draw an elongated ‘J’ shape that curves outside the circle, starting to curve back up.
  7. Top of the bill. Starting where you ended the bottom of the bill, draw a hook shape that curves back the other direction, following the shape of the bottom of his bill.
  8. Dimples! Under each cheek, draw a curved line. The one on the left curves off of the top of his bill and the one on the right is a curved line at the top of his smile.
  9. Finish off the cheeks. Starting where you ended your cheeks, curve them back around to meet the sides of the bill.
  10. Add the mouth. Draw another ‘U’ shape under the bottom of the bill. Make sure that the mouth “connects” with the cheeks. You can do this by drawing some guidelines lightly through the bill.
  11. Draw the neck. Dippy’s neck is basically just a tube shape that will connect to your original circle, tapering slightly. You can draw lightly through the bill to make sure it connects.
  12. Connect the bill to the head. Above the cheeks on either side, draw a curved line off the top of the cheek that connects back to the side of the circle. This is the muscle that connects Dippy’s bill to his head.
  13. Add pupils. Dippy’s pupils are large oval shapes. Draw the entire oval in the corner of his eye, making sure that it stays grounded. The pupil takes up about a third of the total height of his eye.
  14. Clean up. Erase all of your guidelines, including the horizontal and vertical guides, parts of the original circle, and any other guidelines you may have drawn.
  15. Color and complete! Dippy has bright, cerulean blue feathers unlike other ducks and a very bright orange bill!

And there you have it!

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it. Truth is, I love teaching things like this and I really miss it. It was a huge part of my younger adult life when I was working for Disney and I just don’t have the opportunity to do it anymore.

I plan to teach several more of my Schmitty’s Toons! characters in this series. If you have a favorite that you would like to do next, please notify me in the comments.

In the comments below, I would also love to see your beautiful creations! Please don’t be afraid to share!

Schmitty out.

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Character Design: The Importance of Model Sheets

This is my fourth blog post in my continuing character design series. This topic complements my previous posts about Appeal, Line Quality, and Proportion.

Model sheets are quite possibly one of the most useful tools you can have in your arsenal as a character artist. A model sheet is essentially a communication tool that a character designer uses to show other artists how the character works, and therefore how he/she/it should be represented in order to maintain the character’s integrity (more on Character Integrity in a future blog posting).

For this topic, I created a model sheet of Dippy Duck:

DippyModelSheet

Dippy Duck Model Sheet

Take note of the above model sheet and you will see that Dippy is shown and drawn from several angles. Front, side, and 3/4 are typically standard, but you may wish to draw the back view, as well as other views in 3/4 to complete the turn around and help show what the character looks like in three dimensions. You will note that I also included a top view, to help show the length of Dippy’s wing in relation to his body.

Model sheets also include important notes about the character. In Dippy’s case, his wings are very unique depending on what he is doing, and therefore require several notes in order to communicate how they work to other artists. Some things you will note:

  • Dippy’s wings in their default pose are folded at his side, like a bird’s wings would naturally be in their resting state. The wings have an inverse elbow by default.
  • Depending on what Dippy is doing, he may bend his elbow the same as a human would.
  • Dippy can also have human-like arms on occasion; particularly if he is wearing a costume.

You may also want to include some notes that help explain the various proportions of your character, such as how many “heads” tall they are, how their various features (eyes, hands, feet, etc.) relate in proportion to each other. In Dippy’s case, you can read more about those size relationships in my previous topic on Proportion.

Expression Sheet

Another important tool to include with your model sheet is an expression sheet.

Dippy Duck Expressions

Dippy Duck Expressions

An expression sheet helps show what your character looks like in different situations. It is helpful to see how their eyes, brows, nose (beak), mouth, and other features move. If you are creating this character for 3D animation, this also helps the Facial Rigger set up the rig to have a full range of facial movement and allow the character to emote properly.

Character Line Up

A character line up is an essential tool once you have a complete cast of characters. It shows how all of your characters look in scale in relation to each other. This helps demonstrate how your characters might interact with one another and can even influence their personality to an extent. For instance, Dippy and Woober are friends and approximately the same height, while Pelican is a little shorter and Master Sazuke is a little taller. Master Sazuke is a bit of a bully to the other three characters, so he needs to be a little more intimidating to them. Pelican the Platypus thinks he is a bird and wants to be like Dippy and Woober, so he always looks up to them. These design choices that I made when I created them helped dictate how they interact with each other and it is reflected in their sizes.

Schmitty's Toons! Size Comparison

And then there’s Nero the whale, who trumps everyone in size!

Model Sheet Wrap Up

As far as these things go, the more drawings you can include to help communicate to other artists how the character works in three dimensions and acts in different situations, the better.

Once you have a good understanding of your character in 2D form, you may even wish to build a small-scale model in order to have a true 3D representation of the character that you can view from different angles. This is typically done for the 2D animation process, but not always necessary if you have really good model sheets!

In my next blog post on character design I will talk more about a topic I mentioned earlier in this post, Character Integrity, which builds upon all of the topics we have covered thus far.

Schmitty Out.