Character Design – Further Research

This is something of an add on post to the previous research post into heads and construction. There were some new artists revealed to us by Tony that gave me a lot more clarity in regards to the direction of the assignment. I’ve also done some sketching and a bit of tracing for some general practice.


These came about due to something of a misunderstanding about the exercise, however I can’t complain, practice is practice. It had been quite a number of years (too many) since I’ve sat down and tried to draw a bunch of heads. Probably not since life drawing classes in Uni (so around 2005). You may never forget how to draw but you do get rusty at it.

I tried to use a few artist anatomy books that I have lying around and the “Figure it Out!” book I mentioned in the previous post. I’d say the page has a few worthwhile sketches and a few failures in terms of angle and proportion. As simple as the sketch is, I’m pleased with the getting the shape correct for the babies head.

Moving on, its time to mention the artists Tony recommended we look at.

Dave McKean

Dave’s name seemed familiar and after I had done a quick search online it struck me. He does a lot of art and book covers for the author Neil Gaiman, a lot of which is on my shelf. Most familiar to me are his front covers for the Sandman graphic novel series.

Before I throw up a few examples I’d like to explain and iron out the point of the exercise, which in turn informs the choices of Dave’s work I’ll refer to. Tony wants by the end of this multiple heads at different angles arranged on a page in some form of composition greater than the sum of its parts. So not several floating heads as above but something that ties all the heads together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dave has a great talent for arranging heads into his compositions, sometimes for macabre interest and sometimes to get across a moral/political meaning. They’re quite frequently built out of other elements relating to the meaning behind the artwork.

Initially I thought most of his book covers were all paintings and while he does paint most of his work is digital composition, so likely multi layer compositions done in Photoshop with some painted elements.

I draw attention to the image of the man sitting down and peeling a variety of heads as if they were potatoes, I highlight this one in particular as this is exactly the kind of piece that Tony wants us to achieve by the end of the exercise.

Alex Pardee

I love being introduced to new talent and I may be considering finding some prints of Alex’s work. Its a blend of crazy, disgusting, colourful and packed full of life pop culture that talks to me on a level I immediately grasp! Finding his portfolio was a joy, so thank you Tony!

Much like Dave he has a fantastic ability for combining heads into other things, sometimes even other heads in fascinating grotesque ways that almost remind me of John Carpenters ‘The Thing’ (one of the greatest movies ever). There are plenty of great examples of mixing in imagined elements into heads which is a direction we can pursue for the exercise.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m not actually sure what mediums Alex uses, I’d guess a lot of it is digital sketching/inking, possibly some Illustrator for the cleaner looking pieces however there seems to be some traditional pencil/ink work in there too.


Before I sign off this post I wanted to give worthwhile mention to the piece above. A brilliant horror icon composition from Alex which pieces together into a bigger head/skull. I absolutely love this and is further inspirational fuel for where I decide to go next.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s