Awhile back I wrote an article "Sketching: The 4 Step Process." In the article I covered the 4 basic step of creating a drawing using classic Disney characters as examples.
One thing that I would add to that process today is breaking down character's structure…reverse engineering the character. What I am referring to is, simplifying the character's form using primitives, it's dimensions, and skeletal or armature. Deconstructing the character in this way helps visualize the character's design, aiding in adjusting the pose, or duplicating the character in various scenes.
In the following examples, I will only focus on a single character and pose, and use my version of Rabbit from the original article, adding in the preliminary construction steps…or in this case, Deconstruction.
This is the preliminary steps to understanding the character. It can also be applied to man-made objects or structures. I separated these notes into their own views for learning purposes, but prefer to have them on one sheet for easy reference.
Height / Dimension:
Above indicates the overall height in inches and reference to the height of the head. This character is 4 heads high. Three of the sections are the full head height, while 2 are only 1/2 head high.
Construction Lines and Primitives:
The construction lines depict the center of the character's body and head, which also depicts the tilt to the head, as well as the center of the snout, and the cross-sections of the hips, waist, chest, and joints of the arms. Furthermore, breaking down the character into primitives, helps to manipulate the pose if so desired.
Skeletal Structure / Armature:
The smaller dot and lines represent the joints and bones of the character, also referred to as an armature, which can add realism to a two-dimensional character.
These are all the step I use when illustration a character or object. It enables me to layout complex scenes quickly, by avoiding detail in the early composition stage.