Eric Johnson

Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters

Eric Johnson
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  • In-depth Instruction; over 141 mins
  • On-demand video access anytime
  • Bonus downloadable PDF resources
  • Access to class Q&A
  • Available for purchase: $31.99
Meet your instructor, children's book illustrator Eric Johnson. You'll gain an overview of the topics that will be covered in class before selecting an animal that you want to develop into a lovable character. Eric shares his tips for researching and selecting reference photos, as well as how to thoughtfully study your animal's features, movement and personality as you sketch.
Build upon the reference drawings you started in Lesson 1 as you begin to add human characteristics to your critter character. Eric shows you how to preserve key identifying animal qualities while personifying features like hands, feet and eyes to evoke a relatable human presence. Your character will begin to take on new qualities as you infuse imagination, whimsy and playfulness into your sketches.
Learn how to bring classical art techniques into your scenes as Eric helps you create an accurate sense of place. Consider elements like background, middle ground and foreground as you evaluate your composition's perspective and the size and ratio of each figure. Next, move from technical work into more creative studies as you experiment with drawing a wide range of facial expressions and gestures.
Refine your drawing as Eric helps you continue to work on ratios, perspective and composition. Add new details to your scene that draw the viewer's eye to important, surprising focal points. Eric shows you how to add even more interest to your drawing using new characters, gestures and props. Next, create several basic color studies as you try out various palettes and color combinations.
Commit your ideas to the page as Eric shows you how to trace the most important lines and shadows in ink. Once you have the critical elements outlined, begin to infuse life into your work as you add watercolor to map out the most important colors in your scene. Learn how to make your characters and settings look consistent from page to page, and gain new insight into deft ways of infusing reflections, light and shadows into your scene.
Learn how to significantly improve your color studies as Eric shares his professional tips for creating complex layers of color. Start by laying in the darkest areas of shadow before exploring various hues for your characters' fur, clothing and settings. Next, Eric demonstrates how to create a more dimensional and saturated look as he adds layers of watercolor and gouache to the page.
Complete your work with refined finishing touches, using mixed-media supplies like Proof White or Pro White to add strong highlights, soften outlines and create washes. Finish the class by re-examining your characters and scenes for details and characteristics that will fascinate and delight children and parents alike.
 
 
7 Lessons
2  hrs 21  mins

Join illustrator Eric Johnson and master the art of animal character design from start to finish! Learn how to conceptualize and develop an endearing, realistic character using thumbnail sketches and add expressive human characteristics with Eric’s expert tips. Create a captivating visual narrative as you explore a variety of poses, props and settings, and refine perspective, scale and balance for a lifelike composition. Experiment with various color palettes to convey mood and emotion, and delve into two mixed-media methods to enhance your work with depth and lively hues. From the celebrated ink-and-watercolor style of Randolph Caldecott to a layered approach that incorporates colored pencils, you’ll learn how to bring your work to life with charm and whimsy. Eric also shares valuable troubleshooting techniques, along with inspiring design ideas that will delight children and adults alike.

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson received his BFA in commercial design from Kutztown University, and worked as a signwriter, muralist, and graphic artist before pursuing illustrations. He has illustrated four children's books: Henry's Hat, Phoebe's Sweater, Freddie's Blanket and Phoebe's Birthday, and his work has appeared in numerous publications.

Eric Johnson

Bonus materials available after purchase

Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters Join Craftsy to continue watching for $11.00 per month / $113.00 per year or purchase this class for $31.99.