Attitudes and Expressions


As my regular blog readers know, I’m taking a character design class online from Stephen Silver over at I’ve been posting my work from each week’s lesson here on the ol’ blog-o-rama.

So far I’ve designed a character (Dr. Jeckyll) for a pretend “Jeckyll and Hyde” movie, starting with thumbnail silhouettes, then concept sketches, final clean-up, and then turnarounds. This week’s lesson was all about model sheets, specifically attitudes and expressions.

A “model sheet” is a page of drawings that animators and storyboard artists will use as a guide when animating a character. A good model sheet will give a sense of both the personality of the character (i.e. how does he react to certain situations?) and the physicality of the character (i.e. how does he walk, move, etc.).

Our assignment was to create a model sheet for our character, consisting of two parts:

1. Six standard expressions (anger, surprise, sadness, happiness, fear, and disgust);

2. Two full-body attitude drawings, which could be whatever we wanted. The only rule was that they give a sense of the character’s personality and/or response to a given situation. I chose to depict Dr. Jeckyll before and after drinking the potion that transforms him into a big, ugly, hulking monster.

I’m fairly pleased with how my expressions turned out. The attitudes not so much. The first one turned out ok but the second sketch was done late at night, so I was tired and rushed through it. The face isn’t a dead-on likeness, the pose should have been more unstable (dizzy, almost drunken), and the feet are a mushy mess. But, since this is a class and not a paying project, I only have so much free time to invest in the assignments. All things considered, I did ok.

Next week’s assignment is all about memory sketching. I’ve heard a lot about it but have never tried it. Can’t wait!