combat characters




Hello! This is Nova, participating for the first time in Clip Studio Tips. I wanted to delve into the theme of combat characters, because I really love it.
However, I am no expert. In fact, I consider that I am beginning to learn, so take from this article only what you think can enrich you.

Before we start we need to nourish our brain with references and knowledge. How do we do that? Looking at many images, photos, combat drawings and analyzing them: movies, images of posing models, illustrations and works of our favorite artists, comics, classic statues, photos of ourselves posing… and much more. We analyze the human figure from real references, we see how the body behaves, its movement, we work on proportions, we enrich our visual memory and a long etcetera.

References from reality are the best, but personally I also like to study how the different artists that I admire apply this. What works better? Why do you choose this pose and not this one? Is it because of the silhouette (which I will talk about later)? Do they force perspective? The anatomy? What kind of weapon is that? What is he telling me about the character?

All this, always for learning purposes!

So let's look at the covers of our favorite fighting games and study them!

In this example you can see how I make some studies from real references or trying to extract the essence of some illustrations that I admire. Something that I find very important to convey information about our character is their pose or gesture. Especially in the combat poses we can see the importance of the lines of action (lines in red). When I look at references, I try to visualize these lines and exaggerate them.
So, the movement at this stage is the most important thing for me. Combat is movement, it is dynamic. The pose can express the action during the moment of attack or defense, but even in a "static" position, it anticipates the movements of the chosen fighting style or weapon. When designing the pose I try to exaggerate this to make it look more dynamic. Keeping the line loose and the sketch slightly messy helps me not to take movement away from my sketches.

Not only the gesture is important, we must also focus on the silhouettes. Yes, the silhouettes! An interesting silhouette greatly enriches the poses and characters. We must study how other artists build these silhouettes. Just watch, the most iconic characters in the visual world are easily recognized by their silhouette alone. When observing the silhouette we must ask ourselves: is my character recognizable? Or, regarding the combat pose, is this pose understood?

What we see below are some studies I did of real and artistic references. As long as it is for learning purposes, we can study all this, always indicating that we are not its real authorship. For example, here I did character studies for various video games:

Taking all this into account, we can start developing from scratch, but we must ask ourselves:

1. Who is our character?
We must ask ourselves some minimal questions about our character, at least to determine what weapon we want him to use hehe. Of course, the more questions we ask ourselves, the better: Who is he? Weapon? Fighting style? Setting? History? Why do you fight? Do you have ideals? To survive?… (Perfect moment to inspire me with references).

Once we have made some decisions on this, we can continue moving forward.
For example, in my case I have decided to make a male character with a katana, but in a Cyberpunk style.

2. Experiment and play with the poses.
Why is this so important? Making a drawing takes time, and it is not worth wasting it when in the end we are going to realize that the pose does not even work. With this step, we save bad surprises at the end. In addition, we plan and base our pose.

Something I like to do at the moment is watch videos of martial artists with their weapons and pause every time I see an interesting pose.

As you can see, I did several different poses and I marked with a cross the ones that seemed most interesting to me. Also taking into account the silhouettes of each

3. Take advantage of the tools at our disposal.
Clip Studio offers a very powerful tool: 3D models. The application already comes with very good models by default, but we can also get more from the assets and even modify them ourselves. You have to take advantage of them!

In this case I used a pose that I acquired through Clip Studio Assets. This is the article ID, in case you want to look it up: 1809838. Whether the 3D model is female or male doesn't matter to me, since what I want to extract is the pose.

As you can see, I don't exactly follow the pose. Rather, I adapt it to my liking and then adjust it to my own style, in terms of character proportions, for example.

If I am happy with my character's pose, his silhouette (which can change by adding elements to it) and so on, I would start to go deeper into the development of the drawing. To build my real character.

What elements can I introduce in my illustration so that my combat character acquires its own personality? Some elements I have thought of beforehand, but others will emerge. It will be from this moment when all this is introduced. Here I show you my process.

In this case I liked this type of finish. I hope you enjoyed the article! All the best!



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