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About Film & Animation / Professional Senior Member Chris PalUnited Kingdom Group :icondesign-a-character: Design-A-Character
Weekly Character Design
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Deviant for 8 Years
Core Member 'til Hell freezes over
Statistics 2 Deviations 4,179 Comments 145,989 Pageviews

Cartoons + Comics: DDs I've Featured

The queen is back by BattlePeach The queen is back :iconbattlepeach:BattlePeach 1,050 51 RandomVEUS - pg05 by theCHAMBA RandomVEUS - pg05 :iconthechamba:theCHAMBA 515 42 Tribute by mhannecke Tribute :iconmhannecke:mhannecke 717 31 A man can dream... by killigann A man can dream... :iconkilligann:killigann 1,169 101 Thriftwood - sneak-peak by Chromulus Thriftwood - sneak-peak :iconchromulus:Chromulus 228 42 i said FAT LADY legs.... by ShaunONeil i said FAT LADY legs.... :iconshaunoneil:ShaunONeil 409 139 Red Riding Hood - werewolf by GuillermoRamirez Red Riding Hood - werewolf :iconguillermoramirez:GuillermoRamirez 7,997 489 ruthar 2 by Djetho ruthar 2 :icondjetho:Djetho 955 46 Morbius baby by skottieyoung Morbius baby :iconskottieyoung:skottieyoung 1,589 45 My lovely yelo buddie by Waldemar-Kazak My lovely yelo buddie :iconwaldemar-kazak:Waldemar-Kazak 2,172 94 The wolves are out there. by Spaska The wolves are out there. :iconspaska:Spaska 573 28 Sunday Comic 2 by Jackster3000 Sunday Comic 2 :iconjackster3000:Jackster3000 187 23 The Wood Man's Head by MumblingIdiot The Wood Man's Head :iconmumblingidiot:MumblingIdiot 894 58 TTB - Page 51 Chap2 by IJKelly TTB - Page 51 Chap2 :iconijkelly:IJKelly 254 25 first meeting by Fukari
Mature content
first meeting :iconfukari:Fukari 6,930 287
Damocles by unleveLedNate Damocles :iconunlevelednate:unleveLedNate 1,131 135

Daily Deviations I've featured



Winter nelf by drekkydrimm Winter nelf :icondrekkydrimm:drekkydrimm 19 0 The Adventure Zone - Tres Bois by nicholaskole The Adventure Zone - Tres Bois :iconnicholaskole:nicholaskole 647 14 in an octopus' garden by irismuddy in an octopus' garden :iconirismuddy:irismuddy 176 14 Weave - Solar Age by nicholaskole Weave - Solar Age :iconnicholaskole:nicholaskole 1,004 16 10/365 by QSE4 10/365 :iconqse4:QSE4 405 20 Even didn't be the best by Luce-in-the-sky Even didn't be the best :iconluce-in-the-sky:Luce-in-the-sky 671 57 The bad guy who need some lesson by Luce-in-the-sky The bad guy who need some lesson :iconluce-in-the-sky:Luce-in-the-sky 224 5 Princess What's-Her-Name by Gorrem Princess What's-Her-Name :icongorrem:Gorrem 684 28 2018 by nbekkaliev 2018 :iconnbekkaliev:nbekkaliev 361 4 Gumroad - Color by nbekkaliev Gumroad - Color :iconnbekkaliev:nbekkaliev 339 5 Junkwraith, page 1 by Chromulus Junkwraith, page 1 :iconchromulus:Chromulus 91 23
The night of all fears :iconcyrilcorallo:cyrilcorallo 745 194
Streaming sunday 08/30/15//Game dev///ChessGarden by cyrilcorallo Streaming sunday 08/30/15//Game dev///ChessGarden :iconcyrilcorallo:cyrilcorallo 97 3 Streaming sunday 08/16/2015///Game dev/// Fort by cyrilcorallo Streaming sunday 08/16/2015///Game dev/// Fort :iconcyrilcorallo:cyrilcorallo 60 1 Streaming Every sunday afternoon of vector art by cyrilcorallo Streaming Every sunday afternoon of vector art :iconcyrilcorallo:cyrilcorallo 58 4 Cavalry by CreatureBox Cavalry :iconcreaturebox:CreatureBox 1,829 29

Super stuff by other fishies


Comics - Sequential

Infinite City, pg39 alternate by CarlosMeglia Infinite City, pg39 alternate :iconcarlosmeglia:CarlosMeglia 300 5 Collider #1 pag 16 by whoisrico Collider #1 pag 16 :iconwhoisrico:whoisrico 159 29 bye by marklaszlo666 bye :iconmarklaszlo666:marklaszlo666 151 15 Lucky Luke tribute by EnriqueFernandez Lucky Luke tribute :iconenriquefernandez:EnriqueFernandez 3,027 175 Rumble tease pg1 by JHarren Rumble tease pg1 :iconjharren:JHarren 673 45 WoD - Alambee by 0tacoon WoD - Alambee :icon0tacoon:0tacoon 36 20 Tangomango planche by Adrianfd Tangomango planche :iconadrianfd:Adrianfd 204 27 Tangomango 3 aux librairies! by Adrianfd Tangomango 3 aux librairies! :iconadrianfd:Adrianfd 74 7 Inner workings from Spaced Out kickstarter happeni by Brett2DBean Inner workings from Spaced Out kickstarter happeni :iconbrett2dbean:Brett2DBean 87 10 Warm Blood pages by evelmiina Warm Blood pages :iconevelmiina:evelmiina 180 4 Adventure Time comics no5 short by evelmiina Adventure Time comics no5 short :iconevelmiina:evelmiina 122 6 Faceless cats by Spaska Faceless cats :iconspaska:Spaska 237 11 Stray Beastz chapter 1 by celor Stray Beastz chapter 1 :iconcelor:celor 35 21 The Technicolor OCT Round 1-1 by kozispoon The Technicolor OCT Round 1-1 :iconkozispoon:kozispoon 38 8 Infestation Eberron 01 11 col by Claudia-SG Infestation Eberron 01 11 col :iconclaudia-sg:Claudia-SG 132 9 Pinok-fp Pg 015-v002-s by tim-mcburnie Pinok-fp Pg 015-v002-s :icontim-mcburnie:tim-mcburnie 61 1

Even more stuff by other fishies



Sat Apr 8, 2017, 1:54 AM

Cartoon Silhouettes

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 12:08 PM

Cartoon Silhouettes

by puddlefisherstudio     

Cartoons from the 20th century frequently portrayed characters which performed on screen as though they were acting on a stage to live audiences. This has a lot to do with film & animation being a relatively new medium at the time - when the main point of reference for similar modes of storytelling was theatre and the performing arts.
As such, animation adopted many of the same techniques used by actors in order to convey important storytelling cues, which included the use of clear poses or silhouettes. These techniques are seen less overtly in animation today, but they're still crucial considerations animators make in order to achieve clear and engaging performances.

"He's behind you!"

Disney's "Lonesome Ghosts" (1937)

Animation from this period typically had more semblance to theatre than it does today. This lends well to the comedic sensibilities of cartoons from this period, which encouraged the participation of audiences similar to pantomime.


Silhouette as a tool is useful for communicating important visual information about our characters, such as their intents, personality, or their mood through gesture. They are used to maximise the readability of our characters by helping us to achieve clear poses and actions. This outcome may be subtle and not as potent in some artworks compared to others, but silhouette can always be observed in successful characters because they offer viewers with clear visual statements at a glance.

You'll recognise these in a blink!

As well as being used to see clearly what a character does with their bodies, silhouettes are useful in helping us to identify who a character is. With this in-mind at the character design stage, we can complement our performances by introducing shapes and forms designed to emphasise certain character traits, which go on to reinforce the actions our characters will be performing.

For instance, Road Runner's long legs and oversized feet are evidently really good for out-running hungry coyotes. Fred Flintstone, on the other hand, may not be as well equipped in that department - the shape language in his design supports this idea with a silhouette that looks heavy, less agile and grounded like a square. While the same is true for squarish SpongeBob - who is conversely very agile and dynamic - he is made up of recurring curve shapes, supported by thin limbs that squash and stretch, and which protrude out from his body dynamically to help maintain his playful and buoyant appeal. As you will have noticed, there are no rules to this stuff, and is often just a process of trial and error combined with tried and true principles.


by Griz and Norm

100 Tuesday Tips by puddlefisherstudio

100 Tuesday Tips by Griz and Norm is a fantastic resource, which covers Silhouette and many other design principles. Some examples from Tuesday Tips are shown above, with lots more available to see on their blog, as well as some details about how to grab a copy for yourself if you want them all in a handy dandy book you can carry around.

I'm only sharing because I've found it super helpful myself. Tuesday Tips is an invaluable resource because it will prime your chops for the essentials of drawing, cartooning, and more. It's stuff you'll need to learn to be successful in the industry, regardless of when or where you choose to learn it - and since so many of these tried and true principles are right here for you to gobble straight up, it's worth your time to look 'em through.
I also think you'll enjoy these by :iconshermcohen:
Tutorial 8 Push your Poses by shermcohen  SpongeBob Tute2 Line of Action by shermcohen  SpongeBob Tute 01 Silhouette by shermcohen

yellow heart bullet 

More tidbits...

Here are a few more concepts to take away which I tend keep in mind when it comes to designing character silhouettes. I will use my own work as a sort of case study.

#1.    Negative Space

You can retain the gesture and story of any action with the help of negative space. This is a small but mighty tool in your arsenal and it's what silhouettes are really all about. It's useful for making sure your characters are readable and not blobby masses at first glance.

#3.    Design the Silhouette

Design the Silhouette by puddlefisherstudio

Take into account the unique design properties and attributes of your characters when thinking about their poses and performances - and how they might be affected by movement, the environment and other forces.

Maintain a strong silhouette in spite of (or perhaps by way of) accessories, loose clothing, protrusions, and other features. Silhouettes should be designed just as much as the characters themselves.

#2.   Don't Overlap Forms
(until #4)

Avoid Overlaps by puddlefisherstudio

Maximise readability by overlapping forms as little as possible for silhouettes that are more silhouettey - especially around the hands and limbs as these areas are often the most telling when it comes to story but they are also some of the easiest details to become convoluted.

#4.    Overlap Values

Overlapping forms are OK, if done strategically. Keeping tonal values in-mind can help you to segregate your silhouettes into sub entities to give you more freedom when posing your characters without getting too caught up with overlapping forms.

Here, I've used a lighter value for the blaster gun compared to the kid, who inhabits a darker value. Both elements between them are readable and easily distinguishable.

#5.   Discover your characters and find more than one pose

Sketch lots and never be satisfied with your first idea. It's good practice to explore a range of options before settling on something you want to commit to for the rest of the job. It doesn't have to be pretty at this stage - small, loose thumbnails and gestures will be enough as long as they get your ideas across.

On the flip side, while sketching is fun, do try not to rely on discovery too extensively. Avoid noodling by having some ideas you want to aim for before you even begin drawing. Gotta work smart, not just hard!

DAC logo by puddlefisherstudio
Put your knowledge into practice by participating in Design-A-Character's Shape Challenge!

New shapes are updated regularly for your character design inspiration.

July 2016 Shapes by LuigiL July 2016 Shapes by LuigiL

Happy Drawing!


puddlefisherstudio's Profile Picture
Chris Pal
Artist | Professional | Film & Animation
United Kingdom
Character Design Lead @ Ocellus Studio

Main influences:
Chuck Jones, Yoh Yoshinari, Osamu Tezuka, Chris Sanders, Michel Ancel, Ankama, Hayao Miyazaki

Favourite games:
Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot 3, Rayman 2, Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter

Design A Character

Hosting rad, regular character design challenges:


Interview @ CDR

See my interview over at:

Character Design References


Mar 18, 2018
3:39 pm
Mar 18, 2018
3:05 pm
Mar 16, 2018
9:25 pm
Mar 16, 2018
2:48 pm
Mar 14, 2018
6:30 pm


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puddlefisherstudio Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2017  Professional Filmographer
ZARINAABZALILOVA Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017  Professional
mr.Unicorn, where is new art <3 <3 
GIF Gravity Falls - Celestabellebethabelle GIF Gravity Falls - A Pony (Celestabellebethabell) GIF Gravity Falls - Celestabellebethabelle GIF Gravity Falls - A Pony (Celestabellebethabell) 
(1 Reply)
LuigiCodeArt Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch!La la la la 
HabariTess Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, do you have a link to your old art of the boy and the large bird?
(1 Reply)
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