Fun With Shapes and Squiggly, Character Design Exercise

Have you ever felt stuck with a character design, or do your drawings start looking like the same ol’ thing? Every artist goes through periods of creative slumps and we tend to rely on ideas or techniques that work for us. Especially those of us that are working artists, it’s harder to find the time to explore other art styles when you’re trying to meet your deadlines. If this is you, then I have a great character design exercise for you to try!

This actually started as a game that my brother and I would play when we were kids. We would start as a blank page and he would draw a couple of random shapes and squiggles, then it was my job to try and create a character or an object from that. We would pass that paper back and forth until we had a whole page of crazy and wild drawings.

I turned this into an exercise for my students to do during class. I felt like it was a fun and engaging way for them to get out of their comfort zone and challenge their visual thinking. This is a great exercise because it’s very low cost in terms of time and anyone at any drawing level can get involved and learn new skills. I think this is a particularly good warm up character design exercise because it forces you to use shape language that you might not normally use for your characters.

So I encourage you to give it a try with your friends, or with your children. If you do and you would like to share your creations with me, you can tag me @sketchtoanimate and use the #funwithshapesandsquiggles.

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