Book Review: The Art of Animal Character Design

The Art of Animal Character Design

David Colman is a character designer specializing in animals. The Art of Animal Character Design is a sketchbook containing his wonderful caricatured animal designs.

This is not the step-by-step instructional art book. However, it does contain a lot of practical tips and points to look out when drawing animals. He workflow is to observe, to think and then to draw. The emphasis is on thinking and he talks about his thought process for the sketches in the book.

His principle is to draw what the animal is doing and draw the character of the animal, rather than just drawing the animal. To quote from the book, it's to draw the 'verb', not the 'noun'. This is the repeating theme throughout the book, and it shows in his examples.

There are a lot of interesting and useful insights provided. For example, he talks about the need to lock down shapes to preserve design integrity so that the animal is still recognizable. There are also tips on how to improve believability through the application of gravity and forces. Other than just drawing animals, he would also caricature humans into their animal form based on their behaviour. There's also a section on creating imaginary animals.

This book is a very good resource to character designers. It's highly recommended.

You can check out more work from David Colman at davidcolman.blogspot.com.

More about the author:

David Colman is a top character designer in the animation industry, having worked for such giants as Sony, Cartoon Network and Disney. Widely known for his expertise in animal drawing and design he has taught and lectured at several schools in the Los Angeles area and continues to pursue his passion for drawing animals. Currently, David is a Character Designer Supervisor at Cartoon Network.

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