Pro character art advice from Pictoplasma's experts

Pictoplasma’s upcoming conference and festival (opens in new tab) of contemporary character design and art will take place in Berlin from 10-14 May 2017. 

Computer Arts has been running a series of workshops in partnership with Pictoplasma for the last few months – here, we present a few key gems of advice to whet your appetite.

Create your own resin art toys

Part one of Matt Jones' workshop on creating art toys

Part one of Matt Jones' workshop on creating art toys

In the first two workshops (in Computer Arts issues 262 (opens in new tab) and 263 (opens in new tab)) Matt 'Lunartik' Jones, who is known for his Lunartik in a Cup of Tea toy range, shared how to develop character concepts using clay to create your own toy designs, and then cast them in resin. 

One key piece of advice is to consider the level of detail on your model: "The longer and thinner the shapes, the harder it will ultimately be to get resin into these parts and actually pull the resin cast from the mould," explains Jones. "Also, the thinner a design element, the longer it will take the resin to harden."

At Pictoplasma Academy 2017, Jones will be running a hands-on short course (opens in new tab) two days prior to the festival (8 and 9 May), which will take participants through every step of creating their own art toy multiples.   

Learn how make a character bible

Improve your characters with a character bible

Improve your characters with a character bible

Issue 264 (opens in new tab) saw key advice from renowned illustrator Rilla Alexander and Nathan Jurevicius – creator of the Scarygirl brand – on creating character bibles, and why they are an essential tool for any character designer.

"When it comes to the silhouette of your character and its most characteristic poses, it is good to reflect on basic psychological rules, such as a triangular shape standing for danger, a circle for friendliness and a rectangular form for strength," they argue. "Stressing one or combining two in your design will influence how your character appears to others."

At the Pictoplasma Academy 2017, Jurevicius will outline the essentials of putting together a character bible (opens in new tab) – taking participants through a series of interactive exercises.  

Master storyboarding

Master the art of storyboarding with advice from STUDIO AKA's Philip Hunt.

Master the art of storyboarding with advice from STUDIO AKA's Philip Hunt.

In issue 265 (opens in new tab) (on sale now), STUDIO AKA’s Philip Hunt reveals how to harness storyboards to create captivating tales. He runs through the basics of storyboarding, from starting out to honing your ideas, to defining your characters and getting feedback from others to improve your work.

"To tell any story you need to understand your character," argues Hunt. "One way to do this is to ask the basic questions a scriptwriter always asks: Who is your character? What do they want? What do they do to get what they want? What do they achieve in the end?" 

"You might also try defining this in another nine- or 12-panel board: the act of visualising those answers really forces you to examine your character," he adds.

Hunt will be running a workshop on narration and visual storytelling at the Pictoplasma Academy 2017 Masterclass (opens in new tab), which runs in Berlin from 23 September to 1 October.  

Buy your ticket to Pictoplasma 2017 (opens in new tab)

Don't miss the 13th Pictoplasma Festival and Conference.

Don't miss the 13th Pictoplasma Festival and Conference.

At the upcoming Pictoplasma Conference in May, former Pixar director Saschka Unseld will discuss the future of VR storytelling. 

Other speakers include director and animator Kirsten Lepore, famed for her stop-motion episode of Adventure Time, and Louise Rosenkrands, a Danish illustrator known for her depictions of sassy and confident women.

There will also be animation screenings, character walk exhibitions and evening events including a Psychedelic Midnight Mix. Tickets are on sale now!

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where her blogging prowess led her to become Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on art and design magazines, including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw, and got the 'Apple bug' when working on US title, Mac|Life. In 2018, she left the world of print behind and moved to Creative Bloq, where she helps take care of the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach through trying to please the Google Gods, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure its content serves its readers as best it can. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.