At last Thursday's #kidlitart twitter chat, illustrator Ryan Wilson suggested a fun exercise to help extend the boundaries of physical diversity in your character set. To get started, you need to dig up one of those old scraps of paper you've used to blot your watercolors on. Unfortunately all of mine have skinny brush strokes, not big, bold splotches. As I am not into drawing snake characters at the moment, I decided to cheat a little bit and create my own sheet of splotchier splotches. To do this, I simply put big dollops of water on the paper (fabriano artistico hot press in this instance) and loaded them with color. I made no effort to control how they dried. This is what it looked like:
Then with my trusty copic multiliner pens, I found faces.
I'm not sure that any of these particular faces will become future illustrations. But it was a fun exercise. It got me thinking about how asymmetrical head shapes and hairdos can be without looking too unnatural. I will probably push those sorts of things further when I design my next characters. I may try this exercise again with larger splotches that can become a character's entire figure - not just the head.