The Drawing Fundamental Pyramid

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.6 instructor rating • 13 courses • 668,026 students

Lecture description

When drawing characters there is hierarchy of importance. I like to break this hierarchy down into a simple pyramid diagram. The most important part of drawing is line and it makes up the foundation of the pyramid or your drawings.

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The Ultimate Character Design School - Beginner to Advanced

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23:57:12 of on-demand video • Updated December 2019

  • How to design unforgettable characters
  • How to draw character body and poses
  • How to draw different styles of characters
English [Auto] All right, in this lecture, we're going to be learning about the drawing fundamental pyramid. Now, if you take one of my other courses, you've probably seen this before. But in this course, I'm going to teach you how it applies to drawing characters. Now, this pyramid is going to be one of the most important things that you understand about drawing characters and just drawing in general. So I have this as a downloadable resource. You can download this pyramid with all of the separate parts of it and you can print it off. You could put it on your wall or whatever, but it's almost like a checklist and you can look at it over and over again and just remember the order of operations, basically. So let's go ahead and let's start talking about it. So just like a house or a pyramid, the base of it is going to be the biggest part. And it's also going to be the most important part. If your foundation or the base of your house isn't well built, then everything else on top is just going to fall over and crumble. So you want to make sure that you have a really strong foundation. Now, the foundation of your character drawings is going to be a line. If you don't understand how to draw a line, then you're not going to be very good at drawing all the other parts of your character. You have to really master line. You have to be able to draw straight lines. You have to be able to draw curved lines. There's all different types of lines that you're going to have to be able to draw. So some examples of this would be a line of action. So, for example, if we draw a line like that, that's our line of action. So now if we go ahead. You can see I can kind of draw a simple little character in here. I can draw a leg following this line. Just something like that, but you can see that I start out with that line right there, and that would be our line of action is just a simple line, just kind of gives us a line of action to base the rest of our POWs off of. And we're going to go into more detail about this in the next few lectures. But for now, you just need to understand that line is really important and it's the base of everything you do. It makes up your shapes. It makes up every part of your drawing, even parts that you can't see that are kind of invisible lines in your head, like the line of action, for example. All right. Next is going to be shape. Shape is incredibly important, too, because shape language kind of makes people feel different emotions. And not only that, but having some dynamic shapes in there and some sharp contrast is really going to help your character design. So, for example, as we did in the last lecture, where we actually just draw a character, you remember we started out with a circle for the head so we could draw a circle for the head and then we could draw a square for the body. And then let's say we can draw. Triangle for the hip area that. And from those shelves, we can start to connect them and turn them into some sort of a character design. Right. So that's shape shape is very important as well. Let's go ahead and you raise that next is going to be form. So form is kind of the next step after shape. Once you have your shapes blocked out, it's time to start Munim form. So, for example, when you're drawing a character's head like we did before, so we drew that head, which are the center of the face, which is straight line like this, and then the bottom of the eyes like that. And it doesn't really show very much form that way because we're just looking straight onto it if we want ahead and we put the line more on the edge. So the center line of the face is more on the edge. And we curved it around this circle and makes a circle look more like a sphere that adds a lot of form to it. Same with here. We can go ahead and just kind of sketch in an ellipse like that. So it's almost like we can see through it. And we've just added a bunch of form to that form is also going to be things like adding form to something like a rectangle. So it looks more like a cube. And maybe this is a character's body, so we would kind of connect all this together. The shoulders might be right there or whatever. So that's how form plays into our character drawings. So let's review really quick. So we start off with the line, things like line of action and there's a few other parts. But like we really want to focus on that line and make sure that everything looks good, the balance line, the line of action, all of that, that we're going to get a shape. We're going to block out our shapes, keeping it nice and simple, and then our shapes are going to kind of convert into form. So they're going to become three dimensional. Next, we're going to go into space. So we're not actually going to go into outer space, but we're going to create space in our character or we can even place our character into an environment. So different ways we can create spaces by doing things like overlapping. So, for example, if I have the say that this is kind of the thigh and this is the knee down here, and then we have the shin going back like this. And then a foot like that. Right, could even draw the other foot in like this, maybe this is kind of like a Spider-Man pose. Spider-Man should be coming down like that. So there's a pose that you can see by overlapping the arms over the body in the legs and by overlapping the thigh over the shin and calf area, it creates a lot of space, three dimensional space, that is, and it really helps your drawing look more realistic. Another example of this would be, let's say you wanted to put your character into an environment or if you went ahead and you just drew a street like this, for example, some buildings on the side. Just kind of following some perspective, then you can go ahead and you could put your character somewhere within this space. So let's say a character just goes right there and now we just created space and are drawing because we actually place them in a three dimensional perspective, environment and perspective also applies to creating space. So perspective would be things like this. A street, for example, goes off to a vanishing point right there in the center. A lot of you probably already know this, but it goes off to that vanishing point. And sometimes perspective can be even simpler than that. Sometimes perspective is just everything following the same line like this. So. Can draw a bunch of cubes and they're all following that same angle, that side is following the same angle and this side is following the same angle. Like that. And then you could turn this into a sphere, for example, and you could trace out stuff like this cube right here to make it look more like a sphere. But that's perspective, and all three of these are different forms of creating space in your drawings, and it's really important. Now, if that was a little bit overwhelming, that's OK. We're going to go over in this course in great detail. The last thing is going to be your detail. Now, this is at the very tippy top. So it may be the prettiest part of the pyramid. It may be the highest point. And the thing that people look at the most, but it's the least important if you don't have any of this stuff right down here, the tippy top, the detail is not going to matter. So once you have your line in there, so things like line of action and then your shapes blocked out. So you have good sharp contrast shape language and then you turn those into kind of form. So you have your three dimensional aspect in there. And then you also want to make sure that you have stuff like space in there. So making sure that your perspective and stuff like that looks cracked or you have overlapping body parts and things, then after you have all of that done and roughed out and blocked out and sketched out, then you can add your detail. Detail is going to consist of things like texture. So let me just erase this really quick. So this is going to consist of things like texture, so texture can just be simple things like lines and dots, or sometimes it can be part of the contouring line or the profile line. So if I draw a sphere, for example. If I draw an indent like that on my sphere, maybe another one right there. You know, the one here, then I can kind of draw crack's with those. And you can see that those indents on the profile creates a texture, tells us that these cracks actually have some dimension there. Cracks are not just lines. They actually kind of curve down into it. And texture can also come in by shading. So if I were to shade like this, it would tell you a little bit more about the form of these cracks. But that would be texture and details would also consist of things like details on the costume, details like the eyelashes on the eyes, anything that's not that pertinent to the actual structure and form of your character is going to be detail. And that's the stuff you want to wait to add until the very end. You remember when we drew our character drawing at the beginning of this cautious in this last lecture, we started out with simple shapes and lines, and then from there we kind of turned those more into forms and then we worked on space a little bit. There's kind of a little bit of space involved with her hair, stuff like that overlapping. And then we added detail the last with our darker pencil. We pushed harder and we really added in those details and defined what our character was. So this is the formula you're going to want to use when you're drawing characters. You want to follow this every time. Now, there are a lot of different ways to draw and especially to draw characters. And I don't really like to tell people that there is only one way. But I will say that when it comes to the fundamentals of drawing characters, this pyramid right here, there aren't many artists out there that can argue with a structure like this. It could be shifted around a little bit. But for the most part, this is so important that you structure your drawings this way that you start with the line, then shape and form that space in detail. And some people might add a few other things in there, take some things out or change the names of them. But for the most part, these three down here are going to be your most important foundation of your drawing line, shape and form. There's no arguing about it. So you want to make sure that you have those down really well. And throughout this course, I'm going to teach you how to really draw those super well and design them super well. All right. That brings us to the end of this lecture. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next one.