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Daily Deviation
July 14, 2011
Unique Features Tutorial: Pt 2 by ~jeinu Suggesters Words: As an inexperienced artist, this really got me thinking about different ways to make my characters look less like clones, even in a less realistic art style. It's short, a little snarky and a good resource to get started thinking and get out of a rut.
Be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 as well.
Featured by shelldevil
Suggested by NotBambi
jeinu's avatar

Unique Features Tutorial: Pt 2

Hey! I have two webcomics where you can see this in action: Miamaska and Trial of the Sun. If you liked these tutorials give them a shot!

Check out part 1 here!
and part 3 here!

Part 2: Lady Faces! Sorry I took more than a week! The next one will be next month sometime, keep an eye out for it. Feel free to pass this along to artists who are struggling with this sort of problem. I hope it helps :)

All those characters up there are copyrighted to their respective owners, I do not claim ownership to any of them.

This tutorial series was inspired in part by an article on the TvTropes website. Click there to see more examples!
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DeathEaterRed's avatar

This is tutorial is pure gold! Thank you!!

CirceKali's avatar
I really want to make a comment here. The contour shadows is a really awesome way of putting smoke in the air to see what we usually think is invisible nonsense. We take that shape recognition for granted.

Also, I really love the commentary about the hook noses. People do have small, preconceived judgments that go along with similar face patterns. For example, freckles appear childish and sharp, square jawlines reflect sternness. Many things usually based off of personal experience. There is something else that has been categorized as a type of science known as "personology" that has put face features into an actual representation of personality. There's some proof too it. There are some people who have this small bump on the bridge of their nose. I have one and I remember being asked every so often if I ever broke my nose to have that bump formed somehow. My fiance has one too that makes his Latino face suddenly appear Middle Eastern. His aunt is a health specialist that usually works on cases that reverse trauma and she has studied personology extensively. She says that bump can actually be caused by childhood trauma. In my fiance's case, his mother was murdered when he was nine. In my case... I have no idea. Molesting or something. I think. I blocked it. Anyways, narrow nostrils show the individual is passive. Wide nostrils show an individual who is stubborn. The chin can show confidence if it is even with the tip of the nose (profile), but if it sticks out it shows a selfishness or if it's shorter than the nose tip, it's low confidence. Eyebrows have a lot of meaning to them too. For example, if the peak of the eyebrow comes to a triangle, it shows high achievement. My fiance has that and he's got high expectations and his daughter does too. She's really hard on herself when she doesn't meet her own expectations. My eyebrows are almost invisible. I have no ability to set goals or expectations The spacing between eyes relates to your patience. I have a fairly wide space between them; I can use dial-up internet all day and not have a mental break down. My fiance is not. They are rather close together and he's... he has ZERO patience... for everything. Especially me when I make mistakes. Space from the top of the ear to the top of the head can show intelligence and I think the size of the ear can show creativity and the space from the head to the ear (how far they stick off the head) can show how well the individual lies... I think.

Anyways, there's a lot more to it like the size of the nose, how far it sticks out, angles of the eyebrow, the space between the eyebrows, definition of the cheekbones, formation of your teeth can relate to childhood trauma just like the nose, ect.. I don't remember everything she said but I can remember enough that it's influenced some of my characters when I flesh them out in literature. This might help you too,... I don't know.
Aislinn-Ace's avatar
What are comic sans everybody hates em but idk what they are
kyrtuck's avatar
Very good explanation!
Wasted-Art's avatar
Nice Tutorial, will consider it the next time i draw humanoids
Naouu's avatar
this is amazing.. i suffer with this problem too! I think its because i get lazy and have become too cozy drawing the same basic style of face .-.
Kukurtaja's avatar
Can somebody tell me all the characters (series) in the grid pic? I recognize Sailor Moon, Winx and Fairly Odd Parents. Thank you! 8)
ScienceHerWay's avatar
This was very helpful. Thank you so much for making this :D!
kurisutaru's avatar
This is such a wonderful tutorial. I see this issue all the time in shows and in artists works. I get some people do it for style but you can keep a style and still change the face. Know most of my guys. Plus the face should reflect the body. A chubby fella isn't going to have a nice small face. Given them cute poofy cheeks!

Like my cute little rogue has a long narrow chin area, but wide jawline and head. Kinda like a diamond/rectangle you have shown. While one of his sisters has the heart shape, but still longer chin area (its more of a race trait) and the youngest has the round head.. still longer chin. :3

It really does give them unique looks with out needing to go strictly by hair type and cloths.
The-Jasmine-Nation's avatar
In the WITCH comics, the girls look pretty unique. Will has a regular, anime-shaped head, Irma has a round head with thick eye brows, Taranee has a round head and a big nose, Cornelia has catty eyes and a long face, and Hay Lin has Asian eyes and a big mouth. In the cartoon... ehhhhhh, not much difference.
jeinu's avatar
Yeah I noticed this a lot in manga to anime adaptions as well. It's been a while since I've revisited them, but CLAMP comics usually had unique designs intra-storyline (that sometimes got recycled in other stories) but most of the anime adaptions really fell short and didn't deliver on designs. 
The-Jasmine-Nation's avatar
I love CLAMP as well, but i agree as well. One Piece, on the other hand, have a wide arrange of unique-looking characters that you can immediately tell who is who.
SillyRabbit00's avatar
Thank you thank you thank you! As I'm currently picking up drawing again, I nééd this kind of stuff! Because I keep making the same shapes (yes, anime-style Taiga Aisaka (Melt) [V1] ) and I think your tutorials will help me a lot. Have I said 'thank you' already?
AliceSacco's avatar
I tend to study my OCs naked and shaved first. Because I believe that they should look complete and alive without any extra stuff.
But I realized that occaionally is also necessary to draw them dressed and with hair, because, if we take the beard in account, if you draw a character with a too big chin, with beard it will look even bigger.

But why even professionals do this mitake?
1ACBR1's avatar
that's interesting, later I'll try.
AbductionFromAbove's avatar
I think some good things to add would be freckles, buck teeth, tooth gaps, big ears, glasses, warts, acne, birthmarks, piercings, tattoos, scars, etc. I see a lot of "everyone has perfect skin and teeth"
jeinu's avatar
That's true, but these tutorials so far have only covered structural differences. Surface details like acne, freckles, tattoos, piercings should be considered after you have your basic shapes down. (Ideally you should be able to tell characters apart from silhouette/profile alone-- no glasses/accessories, specific hairstyles, piercings included). 
AbductionFromAbove's avatar
Agreed. I just think it's worth mentioning, since I see people struggling with surface representation as well. I had a friend on dA who made an OC that looked too much like a character from a show, and was looking for suggestions. I pretty much gave him a slightly angry masterpost of everything he could do to make the OC different-- make her shorter, give her freckles, cut her hair, make her skinnier, make her old, change her race, change her age. It's like all he could think of was white females with the same body type.

Although...and I know it sounds a little silly, I think you should be able to tell people apart by "structural differences" in their teeth. They add a lot of character!
jeinu's avatar
Yep, pretty true about teeth! However, I rarely see many beginner artists actually draw teeth (besides a sort of row/single ridge). I know I go with a single ridge often since seeing that level of detail just isn't seen at the resolution I export to (though two characters in one of my comics are missing a tooth/have chipped teeth, really only visible when they're really showing them off).

I sort of categorize teeth as a surface level detail since they usually aren't noticeable unless the mouth is quite open... though I suppose it would depend on the style being used (like bugs bunny's super exaggerated teeth). My own style is pretty muted in that regard, so that's probably why I don't consider teeth very important to a silhouette.

If I ever felt comfortable making an advanced series, I'd definitely include teeth among details to consider varying.  Or maybe I'll just add on a final part to this series when it's "done" with the "basics", whenever that is. 
unicornomics's avatar
I'm making a female character with a square face right now but I'm having trouble with symmetry,any tips would be appreciated
alphabetsoup314's avatar
That triangle face looks like Michael Jackson! D:

Silliness aside, this is a great tutorial and you included lots of different variations.
zakuro5's avatar
i love this! Really helpful and also very clearly explained
imaginaryelle's avatar
Gah! lips and noses. Possibly what i need to practice most. Thanks for this. I'm starting to get into comic-style art and the "everyone has the same face and body shape" thing really really bothers me. These tutorials will definitely come in handy!
nerptune's avatar

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