Book Review: Sketch Workshop: Characters

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The Sketch Workshop series from 3DTotal Publishing is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign they launched in 2013. This particular book is actually part of a set of 5 books covering different subjects, namely anatomy, characters, creatures, cityscapes and robots & spaceships. In that Kickstarter campaign, the 5 books come in a leather-style folder. For those who did not back the project, 3DTotal has also made the books available separately at a more affordable price.

The books are spiral-bound vertical format workbooks. Each one features a few instructors and has 48 pages. For a book this thin, it's not meant to be comprehensive.

This particular book that covers Anatomy features instructors Wylie Beckert, John Staub, Marta Nael and Richard Anderson. They are all accomplished artists and you can tell from their art in this book and the portfolio on their websites.

The chapters in the book are:

  • Learn to draw fantasy characters
  • How to draw Viking warriors
  • Sketch a fantasy Goddess
  • Master a samurai warrior

The first chapter by Wylie Beckert looks at three fantasy characters focusing on only the head designs. You can guess easily the rest of the subjects from the chapters' titles.

As the book is spiral and in vertical format, the tutorials are laid out in such a way that, when the book is on the table, the instructions appear at the top page and the drawing templates are at the bottom page. It's a smart design that lets you draw on the bottom page while at the same time allowing you to refer to the instructions.

Basically, you look at the illustrated examples and then copy what you see with the help of instructions and drawing tips. The drawing templates are actually just faint outlines of the illustrated examples. You'll be told to draw in the facial features, expressions or accessories, and sometimes to practice shading and lighting, or just to practice getting the right form for the head.

If you run out of templates or space on the book to draw, you can download additional templates to print out at 3DTotal Publishing's website.

It's a fun hands-on book on learning. The book's not too expensive and so it's a nice starting point to learning how to draw some fantasy characters.

I wish there could be more pages of content though.


This book's a review copy from 3DTotal Publishing.

Sketch Workshop: Characters is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN)

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