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Characters – you’ll find them in comics, storybooks and fairytales as manifestations of imagination. Beyond that, elements like anatomy, expressions and plot are key in making a character appear realistic and relatable, believes character designer Aditya Chari. He explains the realistic principles one must incorporate while creating a character.

Kali. Illustration for a gaming concept. Depicts a negative character.
Tamohara. Displays how the character can narrate the story when placed in the right setting.

The Story Catalyses a Character

It’s important to know the story before giving shape to a character. After all, the purpose of every character is to tell a story. The story is built around their strengths and limitations. The props help them overcome their limitation and move the story forward. Next, figure out the role of the character in the story and layer your vision on top of it.

 

When you get content describing a character, you actually narrow down the choices and attain a more focused approach. This makes it easier to plan your character. However, when you work on your own conceptual art, there is no fixed direction. And you have to take the idea in your mind and put it down as a building block for the design. After that, let your intuition take over.

Character Design

It’s All in The Face

Facial expressions are most important when it comes to character designing. The eyes best convey the expressions, especially when in a close-up. The hands and the spine dictate the posture of the body, magnifying the emotion you try to convey through the facial expression. The expression is a window into the character’s mindset. Therefore, if you want people to relate and accept your characters, you need to design them to be expressive.

Character Design
Devi. The soft curves, posture and the facial expression keeps the feminine essence intact.
Character Design
Zoravar. The massive overgrown character has exaggeration that in no way disrupts the rules of anatomy.

Exaggerate What Anatomy Allows

When you are trying to draw from life or memory, your knowledge of anatomy is your main tool. You learn to look out for the landmarks on the body which help you put down your figure faster. Moreover, it helps you foreshorten the figure and also dress it up where the underlying body is not visible. Anatomy helps you understand mobility and the function of muscles. Muscles look different when they are relaxed and when they are contracted.

 

Exaggeration is just an adaptation of muscle and bone structure to the characteristics of the concept you wish to develop. This depends on what you expect the character to do when playing its role in the story. Characters like Popeye with huge forearms, Hulk with massive overgrown muscles or disfigured creatures from visual effects films, all fit into the same skeletal and musculature structure.

Character Design
Devi Comic. A very determined facial expression lends it the power that muscle lends to man.

Know the Difference Between Muscle and Mental Strength

While working with characters that are either male or female, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two. Apart from the obvious physical differences, you need to bring forth the emotional difference too. Imagine combining the physical frailty of a woman with a very determined look when facing a larger than life scenario.

 

You have to make her look strong but at the same time maintain her feminine side. It’s about her mental strength. On the contrary, a male character would be more about robust physical posing and an exaggerated angry expression with throbbing veins and a muscular built. Even the design of clothing has a different approach for each type just as in real life.

Sea Creature. Irregular and bizarre. Follows the anatomy of sea life like the fins, the flippers and the claws.
Gorg. Complex, surreal and mechanical creature. Manages to get living feel because of its fierce facial expression.
Snake Woman. Body postures and facial expressions bring out the character’s personality.
Character Design
Character Sketch. Reveals many characters need props to help them overcome their limitation.

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Aditya Chari, Archan Nair Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

 

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Aditya Chari

A graduate from Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts, Aditya Chari is an illustrator, a concept artist, a caricature artist and also a character designer. Having worked with big names like Virgin Comics, Prana Animations etc. he also has written two books, held few exhibitions and currently working on concepts for ‘HIRANYAKASHIPA’ (Indian Movie Director Gunashekhar).


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We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Aditya Chari, Archan Nair Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

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Ankur Patar

Ankur Patar has won many national and international awards during his journey. With over 13 years of advertising experience, Ankur has worked with agencies such as DDB, JWT, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, McCan, Adobe, Femina, Puma, Lenovo and many more.


Featured In


We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty. So, go ahead

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Real is believable. But abstract teases the imagination. You don’t have to choose one of the two while creating. Mixing reality with abstract is the way to go according to digital artist Ankur Singh Patar. Whether it’s creating a portrait or manipulating a photograph, the digital art is capable of going as far as your imagination can take it. He shares what to keep in mind when working on the digital medium.

Digital Art
Digital Art
University of Queensland
Digital Art
University of Queensland

Let your artwork play the guessing game.

Realism, disguised with abstraction, makes for an interesting artwork. Abstract art has no boundaries, no set of protocols and no clear message. The fun part is that even though you’ve created the piece with a certain subject in mind, every viewer will comprehend it according to their thinking and imagination and arrive at different conclusions. Realism is important because it helps to connect with the viewers.

Digital Art
Harp and Rabaab
Digital Art
Pandit Ji
Digital Art
Campaign for Adobe

The challenge is to re-create the already-created.

When a famous personality is your subject, it’s important to think beyond how others have portrayed him/her. It gives you the chance to surprise not only yourself as an artist but also the audience. Doing some research, like going through some of the best creative works on the subject, is always recommended. You’ll notice that most portraits are hand-drawn sketches or paintings. That’s why exploring the digital medium can work wonders as it gives you limitless scope and opportunities to experiment.

Digital Art
Anom
Digital Art
God of Small Things
Digital Art
Femina Illustration
Digital Art
Festival of Colours

Creating digital portraits makes your work stand out. It also allows for the beautiful creation and merging of abstract elements along with unique colours. Now that’s different!

Digital Art
M.S. Dhoni
Digital Art
Rafael Nadal
Digital Art
Roger

Colours are the protagonists.

Our subconscious mind is capable of communicating with colours. After all, they are the expressions of our emotions, feelings, thoughts and moods. That’s why, most of the time, you’ll find that the colours you chose were done without a thought. Sometimes it’s better not to plan them and let them be spontaneous. However, sometimes they need to be monitored with respect to the design. A primary colour is an important ingredient as it sets the mood. Including a splash of contrasting colours supports and emphasizes the message and feeling which are embedded in the design.

Digital Art
Scent of a Woman
Digital Art
Udda
Digital Art
Ghagga

A colour on its own is incomplete.

Colours are like a language. Like certain words hold different meanings when used in different contexts, so do colours. You can use the same colour to represent smile in one artwork and laughter in another. It’s how you combine it with other colours and look at a painting as a whole to tell the complete story.

Digital Art
The Catwoman
Digital Art
Djokovic
Digital Art
Surjit Patar

Photo manipulation is not an easy way out.

Using real photographs in your artwork and building around it is equally challenging. You need the right photographs to begin with. Once you’ve got it, you start planning what effect or things you want to do with it. The best way is to work along the way and alter your design a numerous times before you finish. You add an element and then may be tomorrow when you look at it again, you replace it with something better. That’s how your design grows and a photograph evolves from a subject into a story and finally becomes a piece of art.

Digital Art
Stairs to Heaven
Digital Art
Mad Scientist - Lenovo
Digital Art
Prison Break Fan Art

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty. So, go ahead

 

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Art is an abstraction of the waking world, says Android Jones, the digital artist. As he explores his consciousness and finds visuals for his fantasies, he dwells between love and fear to create a body of work that is “One unending love story”. Excerpts from a conversation where he talks about his art, ideas and everything in between.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Union

CG: How do you perceive the relationship between art, artist and the world they are in?

AJ: Human creativity is one of the most precious resources of our consciousness. As we look back at history, great art has always been the fulcrum point from where we measure the value of our humanity and the crucible of our evolution. Art helps us relate and reflect on the relationship between the invisible world of our consciousness and our dreams and makes it visible for the physical world. It acts as a bridge between the inner and outer realities that can share and evolve collectively.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness
Artumnal

CG: How much of this connection exists in your art? How has it evolved over the years?

AJ: The creative process is an expression of my love of life and a service to my friends, family, and community. Fear of boredom or lost opportunities of using the gift of creativity keeps me active. This friction between love and fear always inspires my art. I am attracted to images that carry a spiritual or emotional significance to create a landscape that the viewer can form their own narrative around.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Unify
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: Where do these images come from? And how do you make them coexist in your artworks?

AJ: Instincts guide the selection of images. I am naturally drawn to certain shapes, colours and patterns. It could be an arrangement of clouds, a unique tapestry on the wall, anything. Often, I look for the visual-fractal relationships between objects. For example, the spirals of the milky way or of a hurricane reflect the spiral seed pattern of a sunflower. I can look at the branches of a tree in wintertime and see the ventricles in the human heart. At the core of our neocortex is one of the most advanced shape and pattern recognition technologies. It’s the duty of an artist to take advantage of this gift of recognising the intrinsic relationship between all things. And art is an amazing medium through which one can express this concept.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Dharma Dragon

CG: But do your viewers relate to the connection in the same way you do?

AJ: My artworks are not the stuff of galleries or museums, but the interior of human imagination. The works I create are only crude snapshots of other realities, digital seeds that take root through the rich soil of the neocortex in order to inspire dreams, visions, ideas and emotional connections through the viewer. Art is really a visual crystallisation of consciousness. So, the more developed ideas you have, the clearer that idea comes out in the artwork.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Union
Android Jones - Consciousness
Sporeganesha

CG: Isn’t it also a mastery of technology that complements the idea?

AJ: Human evolution is predicated on the advancement of our mastery of tools. All tools are first born in our imagination. They are essentially only a physical extension of our imagination. The advancement of our creative tools marks a furthering of our creative evolution. It gets really exciting when the tools we use expand our ability to imagine greater things and then give birth to further new techniques and new tools.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Save One Planet Poster

CG: What role do technology and tools play in your art?

AJ: I often dream in the current software that I am using. I don’t dream in brushes or paint anymore. My consciousness has completely embraced my technological counterparts. As we approach a technological singularity, digital hardware and software have the potential of advancing at a rate where it may be impossible for one mind to keep pace. This is going to open up new horizons of potential that no artist has ever anticipated.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Galactivangel
Android Jones - Consciousness
Picaflora

CG: Where do you see digital or concept art moving?

AJ: I believe that our thoughts and our dreams are electrochemical impulses. I see digital art moving into a space that will eventually bypass our meat fleshy extremities, Artists in the future will be able to ‘paint’ visual images, thoughts, dreams, and emotions directly into each other’s consciousness.

Android Jones - Consciousness
NIiza
Android Jones - Consciousness
Lightening in a Bottle

CG: Does that imply live art experiences? How is it different from the traditional sit-and-draw ones?

AJ: One of the significant differences is when making an image I am encoding my time and my life in a series of strokes and pixels. People ‘experience’ it but it’s a much more isolated series of moments. As an ‘experience designer’ you are not making paintings of people, instead you are making people your paintings. In a studio setting, you have total control over temperature, lighting, sound, silence, atmosphere etc. In live performances, I have to completely surrender control of all of these factors. My solitude is then replaced with thousands of other people. Human transformation is the final creation.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Deux Machina
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: With Digital art going through such a dynamic phase right now, what advice will you give to aspiring digital artists?

AJ: It is important for all aspiring digital artists to recognize how profound the opportunities are in this moment of time. Never before have artists had access to such a plethora of information and tools. The future of art is not digital painting, but how we develop a creative relationship with the emerging tools around us. The boundaries are begging to crumble around us.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Fertility 2.0

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

 

Order Your Copy!

Android Jones

Andrew Jones, a.k.a. Android Jones is a U.S. visual artist. He has worked for George Lucas, Nintendo and founded the entertainment development company Massive Black Inc. In 2002, he cofounded an online art community, conceptart.org, which has attracted about a million users.


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We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

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Painting characters as they are art. Discovering features that define the subject and exaggerating them is communication. Illustrator Uday Mohite explains how manipulating proportions helped him to create a caricature portrait of actor Naseeruddin Shah. 

Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah

Step 1.

Opened a light blue coloured A4 size document in Photoshop. Picked pressure brush size 9 or 13 and painted the canvas light blue to give it a gradient feel. This would help in sketching in the middle.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 2.

Picked light grey on the colour pallet. Created a sketch of Naseeruddin Shah with the same brush. Kept about 30% details on the sketch. This would help in selecting the dark and light parts of the sketch.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 3.

Gave the skin a basic tone. Mixed orange, yellow, brown and white to render a light tone. Followed by a dark tone by mixing brown and blue.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 4.

Post the texture, worked on the details of the face.

“Mixed orange, yellow, brown and white to render a light tone. Followed by a dark tone by mixing brown and blue. Post the texture, worked on the details of the face”

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 5.

While detailing further kept a separate colour palette on the side. This would help in matching colours and guiding colour selections.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 6.

Took note of skin texture and colour tone of hair from a reference image of Naseeruddin Shah, while working on the details. Chose ultramarine blue, greens, oranges, greys and cobalt blue as they would go with the texture on the face.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 7.

Worked more on the details at the final stage. Painted the moustache, beard, skin texture and fold in tee. Picked brush number 31 and lightened the background to highlight the final caricature. The final caricature is done.

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

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Uday Mohite

An unsuccessful first attempt to secure a seat at the renowned Sir J J Institute of Applied Arts in Mumbai did not demotivate Uday Mohite, but instead motivated him to work harder and secure the All India 9th position in the very next attempt. He then added another feather to his hat by graduating in Master of Fine arts from the very same institute and now works as a chief illustrator for the Midday editorial and newspaper.


Featured In


We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

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