Life Drawing Reflection


Over the course of this year I have found life drawing to be an informative experience, it was an inquisitive exploration of drawing techniques and their applications. Certainly it’s good practice as an artist to work with real life models as it trains you to breakdown the human form more in a 2d image rather than a reference image which has already done that for you.

There is more than you’d expect to take in when breaking down a pose and it can be difficult to remember all of these aspects when you’re moving so quickly between poses, but the continuous classes over the year have really helped reinforce some of those basics techniques. It does become clear that a big key element is practising and research, there are so many different resources and methods that it can take a while to find a method that you can work with, the book resources like Burne Hogarth Dynamic Figure drawings and some of the breakdown anatomy handout have been a big help in understanding how to build and underlining drawing that informs how it can move. I think I could have pushed my explorations outside of class further which is more with managing time and having a structure to what I’ll practice drawing and how.

Having group critiques in class were useful to see how you were progressing and what it was in your drawings that you needed to pull up more, I feel I have a better understanding of form and using s and c curves, my composition needs more work in that the line of action or centre of gravity isn’t always clear or skewed but I tried bringing in more sweeping lines to inform arm and legs placements.

For my character creation I wanted to move away from a human but I used the build and shape of one of the models and then gave it more exaggeration. I designed a anthropomorphized bird person that’s character is adventurer/hero type, I took inspiration from games like Legend of Zelda and general fantasy, this character type I feel gives a lot more variety in drawings as it needs a lot of agility and can be placed in a variety of settings and situations. This means I can display a lot of the 12 principles of animation through action movements which is challenging with a bird person’s anatomy to find that right mix between human movement and bird movement.

Using this made my character quite cartoony which is easier to play around with details and function of limbs and expressions, giving a more flexible sense of movement without it becoming uncanny. I reapplied the method of breaking down into simple shapes after drawing out a rough movement, this really helped bring more consistency  and depth to my drawings.


Character Design


This is my character Edmund that is an adventurer/hero anthropomorphise bird person.

1.(, 2017) 2. (Pinterest, 2017) 3.(Redlhz, 2017)

I initially took inspiration from the character design of Link from the Legend of Zelda franchise I enjoy a lot of fantasy and adventure characters so I wanted to include that. I was actually thinking of possibly a mage or a witch character but I wasn’t completely happy with the designs I came up with, I decided that I wanted to move away from something human to give myself a bit more of a challenge.


I got onto the idea of a bird type character, taking more inspiration from an artist I follow on Instagram Trudy Castle I like how they play around with the idea with shape and function, they create quite clear silhouettes and stay more true to a bird than my character and still holds the appeal.

(, 2017)


These were some initial digital sketches I did to try and decide costume and colour palette, I feel the yellow contrasts nicely with the blue and also give a sense of a nice happy character.

20170512_120421I also did a lot of sketchbook drawings, with these I experimented with exaggerating the proportion size, which I then thought to keep fairly human-ish so I could be better work with drawing in motion. I had an issue with arms and feet, arms in particular, whether to keep them to a fairly wing structure or make them more human like with feathers instead of fingers, I tried to keep it wing shape, with the elbows being quite high and the only feathers that are drawn on it are the fingers.

  1. Thumblina 2. Robin Hood 3. Sword in the Stone.

An example of three different ways birds have been given arms in movies.

Collecting all these together I made my character rotation sheet which you can see at the top. I then began to using my character to demonstrate 4 of the 12 principles of animation, there may be slight overlap between them as some of the principles can be very similar in their meaning.

Follow Through.

Follow through is when you have parts or appendages of your character continue to move after the main body has stopped, this is most commonly see through the animation of hair and clothes, they will drag behind the main body as it moves forward and continue the momentum of the movement forward after the main body has stopped. This adds realism to the character and can also be an indicator of the material being portrayed depending on how much drag and follow through as well a s the type of follow through is shown.

So here I have my character jumping down, where initially their head feathers/tail and arms all lag behind and then as he lands continue forwards and downwards.

follow through


Squash and Stretch

This ties into exaggeration, animators will squash and stretch their characters in a way that may emphasis an emotion or action usually having one or two frames that are stretch/squashed beyond the physics of the character but because it’s only on screen for a short while the viewer see the fluidity of the motion but not the stretched frame.

Here I have my character in a moment of surprise, it also brings in anticipation in the squashing of the face before the surprise,  I also try tot incorporate secondary action with his head feathers to add more to the emotion.




Arch’s follow the idea that the movement of most living things will move in an arch path, so when we are drawing or animating movement it would be useful to include an arch path to give the movement a bit more personality.

Using arch’s I drew my character drawing his sword with using two arch movements, I don’t think this is the best representation of arches I can do with this character, if I had the time I would like to draw them in a sword fight to experiment with the movements. I also lose some consistency with my drawings which I would also correct with more time.


Solid Drawings

Even though a character is draw 2D it must feel like it exists in a 3D space which can be achieved by using volume, weight and balance. To do this you break you’re character down in to basic shapes such as cubes and cylinders, it helps you imagine how the character would exist in a 3D space. When drawing you’re character afterwards then keep in mind to include overlapping features and try and avoid too many straight lines and it’ll give you’re character a more natural look.

I customised my basic shape more towards my characters shape, which has a lot of curves so I included some lines to separate the front from the side. The arms I didn’t fill in as much as they are really curves and don’t actually hold much 3D  shape, I more so tried to have a guide for the placement of the hand and elbows.

solid shapes (2017). Zelda U. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].

Pinterest. (2017). character design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].

Redlhz. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017]. (2017). Art of Lady T. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].


Pinterest. (2017). ♡Thumbelina♡. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].

Disney Wiki. (2017). Alan-A-Dale. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].

Fanpop, I. (2017). The Sword in the Stone Image: The Sword in the Stone. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].


For life drawing we practised drawing feet, I was using reference drawings from Burne Hogarth – Dynamic Figure Drawing . I found their breakdown works best in a practical sense for drawing more than the other tutorials I’ve found.

Though it was harder in application , mainly when I was bending the foot with how the ball of the foot bended as well.

reference: Hogarth, B. (2008). Dynamic figure drawing. 1st ed. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑