- Paperback: 178 pages
- Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (1 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0240820711
- ISBN-13: 978-0240820712
- Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 22.2 x 27.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life Paperback – 1 Apr 2012
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"You've researched your character extensively, tailored her to your audience, sketched hundreds of versions, and now you lean back content as you gaze at your final character model sheet. But now what? Whether you want to use her in an animated film, television show, video game, web comic, or children's book, you're going to have to make her perform. How a character looks and is costumed starts to tell her story, but her body language reveals even more. Character Mentor shows you how to pose your character, create emotion through facial expressions, and stage your character to create drama. Author Tom Bancroft addresses each topic with clear, concise prose, and then shows you what he really means through commenting on and redrawing artwork from a variety of student 'apprentices.' His assignments allow you to join in and bring your drawing to the next level with concrete techniques, as well as more theoretical analysis. Character Mentor is an apprenticeship in a book."--CartoonBrew.com
"If, like me, you are always looking to push yourself as a character artist I cannot recommend this book enough... Each chapter is a lesson on a specific topic, ranging from Posing to Shape-based composition. At the end of a chapter [Tom] sets you homework followed by examples of completed tasks by fellow students. Tom himself has gone over each example, annotating and thoroughly explaining each one in order for you to see how to bring your own work up to scratch...The best thing about this book for me, however, is that it doesn’t end. You can never be truly finished with it as the teachings within are always relevant...it’s like having a teacher on your shelf that will never be too busy to help you out and will always give you good advice."--Robin Liebschner, Skwigly.com
About the Author
Tom Bancroft is a 30 year veteran of the animation industry. In his artistic career he has specialized in children's character designs, animation, video game development, and comic books. Formerly, he worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation for twelve years, animating on new Disney classics, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, Brother Bear, and more. He is the author of the popular character design book Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels.
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Top Customer Reviews
|Length: 1:01 Mins|
The first book focuses on the actual designing of characters. This book focuses on bringing the characters to life with body language, specifically by using expressions, poses and staging. In other words, this book is about acting using your characters.
It's filled with tips and insights, just like the first book. As the book title suggest, the teaching style here is one of mentoring. There are many assignments included, and Tom Bancroft has included his students' work, together with his mentor notes on the different ways to improve the result. You'll feel the years of experience seeping through the pages as he explains. It's all very simple and practical tips you can use to improve your characters instantly.
There are many wonderful illustrated examples in the book to show how important acting is to creating believability. One look at them and you'll be able to guess accurately how the character is feeling, who the character is or what the scene is about. These are all done without dialogue. The goal of the book is to impart the knowledge of getting to that level of clarity with your characters, the same sort of clarity you would expect from a masterful silent movie.
The book also includes a section on composition. It teaches you how to frame your scene with your characters to better tell a story. While this section is not technically character design, it's still useful knowledge. Several guest artists are also invited to have a go at an assignment. Artists such as Stephen Silver, Sean Galloway, Terry Dodson, etc.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
but FINALLY here's a book that is hyper-specific on the little nuances of creating characters. "Twinning", using depth,
specifics on how wrinkles work on clothing, etc. In addition, there's contributions by other artists like Terry Dodson,
Stephen Silver, etc. Also, there's some assignments for the reader to do. Tom's Disney-esque drawing style is just bursting with
life and energy. (Obviously a graduate of CAL-ARTS.)
Please note that this may not be a book for beginners. The book focuses more on bringing life and energy to your
I highly recommend purchasing Tom's previous book "Creating Characters with Personality" too by the way.
A MUST for any aspiring cartoonist!
There have been a handful of books over the last thirty years or so that have touched on this topic to one degree or another. However, these are very often oversimplified, starting with volumetric shapes and hurrying through the details to arrive at the quickest complete character possible. Such methods are certainly valid and universally applicable -- for first-year animation students, perhaps, or fledgling comic book artists. Up until now, the question of what makes a character truly unique and lively has been left as something the novice must explore him/herself.
Tom Bancroft's book is probably the first one of its kind that goes past this basic level. Right off the bat, Tom assumes the reader is not only intelligent but avidly interested in the details. He explores perceptual cues, the various methods of conveying emotion and personality (which are far more numerous than simply drawing a smile or a frown), and the tiny little decisions that can completely alter the way an audience will see a character, for better or for worse.
Tom's experience as a veteran of Disney's traditional animation era really shines through here. And in an age where technology provides an ever-increasing range of shortcuts, it's ultimately all the more important that these techniques be detailed and passed on to the next generation of artists. Check this out -- you won't regret it.
Buy the book in print and avoid the Klumsy Kindle Konversion.
I love Tom Bancroft's drawing style, and this book is full of illustrated examples of the tips and techniques he is describing. The illustrations are a nice size... one thing I hate is when art/instruction books have tiny little pictures that obscure detail... but these illustrations are a pleasure to look at.
For a companion book, I would highly recommend another book by Bancroft... Creating Characters with Personality: Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels I would, and will, give it the same review as this book.
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