about Von AllanVon Allan's artVon Allan's comic booksShop page for Von Allan StudioEssays by Von AllanInterview links by Von Allancontact Von Allanrss feeds for vonallan.comLinks to the I Am Still Your Child documentary film featuring Von Allan
Showing posts with label character design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label character design. Show all posts

Drawing Kids


Given everything that has been going on, when I get a chance to draw I've been looking for fun little pieces to work on. The illustrations below certainly fit that bill!

Drawing kids is a great deal of fun. Very challenging, but fun! Why challenging? Drawing adults allows for more "wiggle-room." In other words, there's more flexibility in how one chooses to render adults. Or rather, I find that there's more flexibility. That's partially based on style, probably mixed in with a bit of my own sensibility when it comes to figure drawing. If you over-render children, they immediately look "wrong." Generally my goal is to try and keep everything as simple as possible while (at least in these cases) still maintaining my own visual style. It might sound easy, but it's really not in practice. In the cases of all these girls, I didn't want to get too cartoony or abstract, so that also influenced how I approached each piece.

In the case of the middle illustration, I also decided to play a bit with colour holds (where I change my black linework to a colour). Why do it? Again, for fun! It's neat to play and see how the art (and, more importantly, the feeling of the art) changes with different visual approaches. I've done it before, something you can see in this little celebration of Mary Marvel.

One of the things I love about art is that there's no "right" way to do it. There are multiple ways and multiple approaches. How one feels about that is a reflection of them, at least in that particular moment. And, of course, opinions change about art, too. Even how I approach colour has changed over time (see this, for example).

I don't know about you, but I find that pretty exciting.

Illustration of young girls balancing books on their heads by Von Allan
Illustration of two 'tween girls chit-chatting and goofing around by Von Allan
Illustration of three girls raiding a bubble gum box and blowing bubbles by Von Allan

Concept Art and Character Design with Kids


I've been working on some concept art and character designs for a possible short story. I thought I'd share some of the designs I've come up with so far.

Boy Concept Art and Character Design for Young Carers Short Story Illustrated By Von Allan

Boy and Girl Concept Art and Character Design for Young Carers Short Story Illustrated By Von Allan

Girl Concept Art and Character Design for Young Carers Short Story Illustrated By Von Allan

Muslim Girl Concept Art and Character Design for Young Carers Short Story Illustrated By Von Allan

Girl with Toque Concept Art and Character Design for Young Carers Short Story Illustrated By Von Allan

I AM STILL YOUR CHILD Young Girl and Father Poster Process


Continuing the series of background "process" art for the poster series for the documentary film "I AM STILL YOUR CHILD." Today's poster features a young girl handling her father's medication. I knew clarity would be a problem, so I decided to go with a low "eye level" or horizon line. In this case, right at the ground plane. Why? It allowed me to put the medicine bottle strongly in the foreground and hopefully clarify what's actually happening. It also allowed me to make the young girl slightly bigger (closer to the viewer) than a more normal eye level would allow.

In discussing it with St├ęphanie Couillard, my contact at Catbird, we decided that it still might not be clear enough so we added dialogue for the father just to be safe. There are no "right" answers with this; sometimes you want to be subtle and suggestive and other times you want to be crystal clear. In this case, clarity was one of the most important criteria.

Again, here is the Final Press Version with logo designed by Sara Morley of Design Postimage:

Final poster version of Young Girl and Father for the documentary I AM STILL YOUR CHILD

Initial Rough Layout sketch (approximately 2 inches in height). You can also see that I was initially thinking of making it daughter and mother:
Initial rough layout sketch for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Slightly tighter but still very loose figures. And again, illustrated pretty small:
Second rough layout sketch for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

A tighter rough, though still very small. The father was giving me some drawing problems at this stage, though it works itself out soon enough:
Somewhat tighter pencils for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Tighter pencils:
Still tighter pencils for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Tighter pencils along with perspective grid and background:

Final pencils for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

And the final inked version:
Inked final illustration for Upset Girl poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

As always, you can see the entire poster series at the film's official website. And the entire film can be streamed online at the CBC's website at http://watch.cbc.ca/absolutely-canadian/-/i-am-still-your-child/38e815a-00cec9fd824

I AM STILL YOUR CHILD Poster Process for Girl In School


I was commissioned to create a series of posters for the documentary film project (titled “I AM STILL YOUR CHILD”) that I've been involved in. The goal was to create a series of stand-alone pieces that feature characters dealing with parental mental illness. Unlike traditional comics, these wouldn't have a narrative save for that unifying theme. And they would also need to be very bold and graphic to catch the eye and presented in black and white to ease desktop printing. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. The full poster series can be found at the documentary's official website.

Beginning today, I'm going to go through the creation of a few of these posters. I was given a great deal of creative room by the production crew; they encouraged me to draw on my own thoughts and feelings, especially relevant given my own background with my mom's schizophrenia (developed more full in my graphic novel “the road to god knows...”). Some of these images were inspired directly from my own experiences while others were “pushed.” In other words, still drawn from my own life but dramatized to some extent.

The one below is a good example; I was very shy at school, especially at this age, but showing emotion was something I tried very hard not to do (though how successful I was in a different question). This girl, on the other hand, is very upset. That was something I tried very hard not to show at school.

What follows, then, is a pretty good breakdown of how this poster came together.

First, this is the Final Press Version with a terrific logo designed by Sara Morley of Design Postimage:

Final poster version for the documentary I AM STILL YOUR CHILD

Initial Rough Layout sketch (very small, approximately 2 inches in height):
Initial rough layout sketch for poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Tighter pencils (figures only; this is slightly deceptive since I drew each character separately and then digitally composed the image to finalize their positions):
Initial rough layout sketch for Girl In School poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Tighter pencils with loose backgrounds and perspective grid:
Tighter pencils with loose backgroundsfor Girl In School poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan

Final inked version with completed background:
Inked final illustration for Girl In School poster from I AM STILL YOUR CHILD by Von Allan
I should add here that sometimes I do pretty tight background renderings and other times, like here, I keep it pretty loose and finalize in ink (albeit digital ink since I use Manga Studio EX 4 for inking). Manga Studio also allows for some really nice shortcuts for tones, hatching, "zipatones," and splatters. I've done them manually (the ol' toothbrush and ink immediately comes to mind for splatters) but I much prefer doing them digitally now.

And that's that. Again, you can see the entire poster series at the film's official website. And don't forget that the entire film can be streamed online at the CBC's website at http://watch.cbc.ca/absolutely-canadian/-/i-am-still-your-child/38e815a-00cec9fd824

Beatrix character design for the short story "When I Find You Again..."


Character Designs for the short story When I Find You Again It Will Be In Mountains by Von Allan

This was the main character design for Beatrix, the focus point of my short story When I Find You Again, It Will Be In Mountains. As with that story, this was done quite awhile ago, though I only recently coloured it.

Short stories can be a bit tricky from a design point of view. In this case, the story was only six pages long. How long is the "right" time to spend doing design work? I decided to cut it short and plunge right in, kinda designing on the fly (save for this piece), developing things as I went along. Not ideal maybe, but there's always a time/story balance that can be hard to get right. It really is tricky, a challenging reality of creating comic books.

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

Email Subscription

If you'd like to receive email updates from Von Allan Studio, please subscribe using the form below.
* indicates required field

Please note: You can unsubscribe from email updates at any time.

City of Ottawa Grant Support

Von Allan Studio gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the City of Ottawa.

City of Ottawa logo

Creative Commons License

I Am Still Your Child Trailer

Documentary Film Excerpt