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Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels Paperback – February 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0823023493 ISBN-10: 0823023494

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Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels + Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life + Making Faces: Drawing Expressions For Comics And Cartoons
Price for all three: $53.85

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823023494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823023493
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Bancroft has been an animator
for more than fifteen years, working
for Disney and Big Idea Productions
(producers of Veggie Tales). Most recently, he contributed to Disney’s Brother Bear. He lives in Franklin, TN.

More About the Author

Tom Bancroft is a veteran Disney and Big Idea director. At Disney, he helped create the animation for many memorable characters including: Roger Rabbit, Young Simba, Jafar and Iago, Pocahontas, Rutt and Tuke and for the film MULAN he designed the character "Mushu", the dragon. While with Big Idea, he designed and directed the LarryBoy 2D series of videos. Tom still keeps his hands in animation, but he also enjoys creating comics, children's books, and characters for all forms of media.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 94 customer reviews
Great book for character design and personality.
Grady R. Smith
The examples are great and easy to understand and the book is a good read too!
stephen smelley
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in animation drawing.
Maryann M. Jackman Niner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By L. West on May 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been a professional Illustrator for 4 years now, and before then an avid student of art. But during all that time, I've bought piles and piles of "How To Draw" books, namely by Christopher Hart. I was in the book store one day and saw this one and almost just bi-passed it as just another amaturise attempt at trying to make a "How to Draw Cartoon" book, the cover being the main turn-off.

In my 8+ years of buying these types of books, this is the first time I was simply astonished by what they were presenting; MOVEMENT!

It is rare that anyone write's these books with any mention on how an artist can try to achieve a sense of force and movement, and that is why I so highly recommend this book. The incoporation of how to apply the knowledge to comic book work was also great, not to mention the fact that Tom Bancroft also had the "Assignements" in the book which gives you a real look into what can go into creating charachters.

From novice to seasoned professional, this truley is a great book!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Brian Reynolds on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
"I'm stumped, all my characters come out looking the same! What am I missing?"

"I'm drawing the same character as Seth, but his pictures are coming out better than mine. Why?"

"Ok, there's been a change of plans and our target audience is no longer going to be for kids in kindergarten but now 11 to 14 year old boys."

"Ok, the client is for a Honda dealership that primarily serves the Mexican market and we need a superhero mascot that appeals to these customers but doesn't turn off the other people who would be buying cars from them."

If you're researching this book chances are that you've already got some experience reading art and animation how-to books or know somebody who has. There are many books on cartooning and animation but there has been a frustrating lack of material that really digs into the meat of the creative process behind character design. Most books fall into categories that either narrowly focus on concept art from specific productions, or they discuss all facets of animation and cartooning and relegate character design to a single chapter and / or style. This book recognizes that educational void and happily is helmed by a man who not only can draw, but can explain the REASONS behind the stylistic choices employed by the best designers out there.

The REASONING is an important point that cannot be stressed highly enough and is what pushes this book beyond just another how-to-draw endeavor and becomes something that should be mandatory study material for anyone involved in the character creation process, from cartoonists, animators, sculptors, and 3D modelers, to storytellers, marketers, and producers.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. Hodge on January 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got a chance to peruse a pre-release copy of this book and I really liked what I saw.

Tom is a former Disney animator and does a great job of breaking down the elements of good character design. What I really like about his book is that it isn't merely a "How to draw like me" book. He teaches principles that anybody can put to use in their own style.

Not only did he ask Rob Corley to write a chapter (his business partner), but he asked several guest artists to submit their interpretations of the same character. Among the guests are Peter deSeve, Mark Henn, Bill Amend and Jack Davis... yes, the Jack Davis. A very diverse collection of styles, yet with one thing in common: they create excellent designs brimming with personality and attitude.

Tom's point in the book is that good character design, regardless of style, comes down to clarity, appeal and knowing your character inside and out.

(Oh, and Glen Keane wrote the forward for some more words of inspiration!)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Street on January 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book before it was released and it is worth far more than the cover price. As an illustrator I have always struggled a little with character design, and this book filled the void. It has a good combination of pictures and text so both learning style are met. After you read this book, you will understand many of the principles and techniques to design characters. You won't work for Capcom tomorrow, but your art will look a lot better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Krishna M. Sadasivam VINE VOICE on June 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tom Bancroft's "Creating Characters with Personality" provides a solid foundation for folks who are interested in creating and developing characters for sequential arts and animation. All the basics are explored here, with copious examples: simple shapes, line of action, appeal, etc.

One thing that sets this book apart from the rest is how several examples of the process of character design are shown. The book reiterates several times that the first design isn't always the best - that one should continue to explore other design possibilities before settling on the final look and feel of a character. If you are interested in refining or creating your own character, I would recommend purchasing this book along with Ben Caldwell's Action! Cartooning and Fantasy Cartooning.

While beginners can certainly appreciate this book, I think it's best suited for intermediate level artists who are looking to refine their technique. Highly recommended.
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