The making of Geeks In Love: The Characters

Publié le Catégorisé dans Drawings, Making Geeks In Love 2 commentaires sur The making of Geeks In Love: The Characters

The Geekette

Once I started drawing the first sketches of Geeks In Love, I pretty much nailed the Geekette right away.

I knew I wanted simple lines. In other words, I wanted boil down the characters as much as possible, to their essential characteristics. If a line or a detail could be left out, it was.

So I set out to draw a Geek that would match the style of the Geekette. This proved to be much more difficult than I had envisioned…

The Geek, Phase 1: Stumbling in the dark

I sketched and sketched and sketched, and while I got a few OK Geeks, I couldn’t reproduce them at will. Worse, I had no idea what made the ones I liked work.

The Geek, Phase 2: A more structured approach

In desperation, I tried to work from a photograph. I came up with a nice, clean character, in a style reminiscent of the traditional Belgian ligne claire.

But I had to face the fact that this Geek was much more detailed than the Geekette, required a beard to be recognizable (I wanted the character to be consistent regardless of the length of his beard or his hair, etc.). This phase did help me get a real feel for the lower part of the face. I finally had a clue what made that work or not. Still, I just couldn’t simplify him any further. I had hit another dead end.

The Geek, Phase 3: Back to the drawing board

I took a bunch of images with the built-in webcam of my MacBook, put one up on the screen, and went to work. I came up with this drawing:

It helped me nail down a vital characteristic I was missing: the overall shape of the head. I wanted the Geek’s silhouette to be instantly recognizable, just as the Geekette’s silhouette was. With new hope, I blackened dozens and dozens of pages.

Strangely enough, I knew I had the Geek when I drew the following picture:

Even though I knew this wasn’t the character, I recognized in that drawing that I finally had all of the ingredients I needed to draw the Geek: the nose, the simplified mouth and chin, the shape of the head. Like so:

I had the rounded counterpart to the angular Geekette.

Here are some drawings that illustrate the evolution of the Geek during phase 3. Each of these drawings was several pages apart. Click on the image for a closer view.

In retrospect, I realize that during my years of cartooning a lifetime ago, I never went through such a meticulous process. I was too impatient and spontaneous. Paradoxically, this time, it is precisely because I wanted to be able to draw my characters spontaneously, en trois coups de crayon (in just a few strokes), that I pushed myself and found the strength to endure this painstaking ordeal.

Next: The Making of Geeks In Love Part II: The Look and Feel.

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