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Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 860-1404969003
ISBN-10: 0823023494
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Frequently Bought Together

  • 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
Total price: $55.55
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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1 edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823023494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823023493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Bancroft is very good at rendering a classic cartoony style, but doesn't seem to like to practice when he deviates from it, encouraging bad habits. In the "Trying it Out" section in Chapter Four: Drawing (Beautiful) Women (p.74-77) the author gives an example design for some manga style pop idols which he claims he did research for. What he comes up with is a trio of hideous, flat girl characters that look like they came from someone with very little artistic training, like out of one of those terrible "how to draw manga" books that the market was flooded with around ten to fifteen years ago. When I first read this section, I was so shocked that I didn't believe Bancroft had drawn them until I reread the entire chapter just to be sure it wasn't someone else's work. I'm not picking on him because the manga style isn't my thing, but because there are plenty of great examples out there that actually fit with his instruction. In the "Style" section in Chapter Nine: Putting It All Together (p.154-157) his apparent distaste for practicing styles that aren't really his thing is even more apparent. The anatomy of the Comic Book example is extremely poor, has very little depth overall and it is right next to the Feature Animation example that turns in space very well, so even if these two pages were all you saw of the book, we know he should be able to do better. His text in the Video Game category shows how out of touch he must be with what he calls the "core market" for video games if we take his example to show what he thought would be a good fit. Remember, this book was published in 2006. Information on what styles work well and what falls flat in the video game industry have been readily available for some time. And I've already touched on his lack of control control over the Manga style.Read more ›
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