Creating a character with outlines

Here's one request I have read a few times now: 'How do you make a character with outlines?'. It's not much different from any other character creations you just add a little more difficulty and a few problems to work around. 

The main problems I see with a lot illustrations using outlines are: a) the inconsistent line weight (different thickness of the stroke for different elements on the screen). It's a little more complicated and takes some thought to design the screen balanced. My advice is to keep it either keep it all at the same thickness or use a thicker brush for all the focus elements (eg. characters, logo, UI elements) and create the background with a thinner stroke. b) the colouring of stroke vs. the colour of the shape. c) the line weight does not correspond with the illustration. You might have noticed it in comic books, illustrations or animated cartoons - the stroke is not consistent in thickness. It starts thinner, goes thick and ends thin again giving it more of a brush feeling. If it's done right it really enhances the image but it's a time-consuming art. Simply using tools in Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw to create dynamic brushes usual ends up looking wrong.  

All those problems aside. Let's start with something simple.In this tutorial we will do a little piglet with a plain black stroke that stays consistent throughout the elements. In one of the next tutorials I will cover more complex and modified outlines.

The last two steps show one of the main problems with outlines - the overlapping of elements creates lines we don't want to see. You could just combine the snout and the head. Simply making it one object would result in problems animating it afterwards. This becomes even more visible in arms and legs. I prefer just adding shapes to cover those overlaps.


The tail might not the usual corkscrew design you see in a lot of pig illustrations - it was one of those cases of thinking you know how it looks versus the way it looks. In the end I checked on Google images [the best invention since sliced bread] and had a look at real piglets and found this cute little tail more appropriate.


And the last step - I forgot to add it to the tutorial pages - (remember I am fresh off the vacation) is a cover shape for the legs to join them with the body. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Get out inkscape and start creating!

Get the source art (svg file) of this tutorial for
USD 3.00

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Posted by: Primbon Jawa Creating a character with outlines Updated at : 20.28
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