How to Draw Tony
The little things that go into Tony Eng\’s character design…
- About Tony Eng
- Tony\’s Character Aspects
- Speed Video of Character Being Drawn
- Speed Video of Eye Variations
- Speed Video Hair Drawing
- Step-by-Step Walkthrough
Tony Eng is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He graduated from MIT with degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics and Biology. He teaches courses and runs workshops in oral communication at MIT and elsewhere.
Tony Eng Facts
- I triple majored at MIT.
- I started a company with some other MIT students.
- I’ve rafted the Colorado River and hiked Mount Kilimanjaro.
- At an audition, I was offered the role of a male stripper.
- I’ve performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
- I’ve given a TED talk.
- I’m a single dad by choice.
- I competed in the International Mathematical Olympiad.
- I coached Marissa Mayer.
- I’ve lived in the UK, Spain and Japan – countries which still have royalty.
- I directed an a cappella group.
- I danced on an Indian Bhangra team.
Tony Character Speed Drawing
Tony Features Breakdown
Tony Eyes Speed Drawing
Tony Eyes Breakdown
Tony Hair Speed Drawing
Tony Hair Breakdown
Tony Character Design Walkthrough
I try to work in CMYK mode from the beginning due to the fact that the comics are being designed firstly for print. When I work with them for web I will reduce the file size accordingly, but I find that working in CMYK from the onset is helpful.
I\’m working at an insanely high resolution and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I\’m drawing pixel perfect line work. The dimensions are the reverse of this image where the width is actually 6188px and the height is 9184px at a 900 resolution. For this walkthrough I had the page displayed in landscape though just for ease of screenshots.
I have the setting in \”image size\” for resampling set to automatic while I\’m working. This will make more sense in the page setup section. You can have all of these presets ready if you work off of the page template provided.
Because the final image is destined for print and I\’m working in Photoshop, I use the pencil tool exclusively for drawing. In order to give the pencil tool some character when drawing I\’ll often mess around with the width of the tool and the direction of the stroke. And because I am working with the Hej Stylus program as well as a bamboo tablet, I used the pencil tool with the \”Hard Round Pressure Size\” setting.
I am using the Hej Stylus quite frequently while working. I toggle it on and off when drawing based on what I am doing. It is a tool that basically smooths out your lines as you draw in any program. It is meant for Mac and runs over the top of any program, not just photoshop (i.e. it isn\’t a PS plugin). So you will need to download and install it if you plan on using it. (Cost = $15 per license).
In order to use the presets I am using for the walkthrough I\’ve made them available to load into Hej Stylus once installed.
Lessons learned from experience – make sure that everywhere that there is a toggle in PS marked \”anti-alias\” that it\’s turned off. If it isn\’t it will create selection areas that purposefully fill with unwanted fringe pixels.
In the picture above I am turning off anti-alias when using the magic-wand tool. The toggle will be in the top-panel of options for the selected tool.
And in this example I\’ve turned off anti-alias in the settings for the paint-bucket tool.
When I start a drawing I do a rough sketch with my bamboo tablet on a new layer designated for the rough sketch. Make sure you aren\’t drawing directly on the background base layer. You\’ll want that later. I try to draw this sketch really quickly and I use different colors so that I can kind of correct shapes of the drawing as I go along.
Next I\’ll make a new layer on top of the rough sketch I\’ve done. I name this something like \”colors\” or \”inks\” – whatever works so that I can quickly see that I am drawing on the correct layer.
Then I turn down the rough sketch opacity to somewhere around 11% so that when I am drawing over it with the new lines I can see the new lines a lot better than the rough sketch lines. Sometimes, later, I\’ll even turn this down to 5% or lower as I am trying to do specific detail work in the art.
Whenever I draw Tony I start with the hair shape. Above you\’ll see how the hair parts, the points in the hair, etc.
After I\’m done with the hair outline I\’ll fill in the shape with solid black with the paintbucket tool. Make sure in the tool settings that you have the \”contiguous\” setting on and the \”all layers\” option off.
If, when you fill the hair in black, it fills the entire document with black it is because your hair outline isn\’t closed – meaning there is a gap in the shape. Usually I rectify this by zooming in to where all the lines should be joining and make sure that they are joined.
The next step is that I select the color of Tony\’s facial feature from the Gradcommx swatches palette.
The order I work in is:
1 & 2: Tony\’s eyebrows – they always have a point on the outside that make them look like an upside down check mark.
3: I draw Tony\’s nose – This is a little uniform. The bridge of the nose is a v shape that comes down to the underside of the nose. The nostrils are wide and curl in a specific way.
4: I draw the mouth – I hate to say it, but Tony is almost always smiling in every depiction. When I first started I experimented with other expressions, but they always made him look bored or irritated with what he was saying. Because he is always the speaker in the comics he is smiling because the smile implies that likes what he is saying.
Then I draw Tony\’s eyes. I only use the full eye design on shots that have his face close-up. The reason his eyes aren\’t like this for mid and distant shots is honestly because they are time-consuming to draw, so wherever I can get away with oval eyes I try to. The close-up eye design looks better when his face is large – the ovals look weird on a close-up.
For the oval eyes I always draw them long. In early drawings I sometimes would just make them circular but found circular eyes don\’t allow for as much emotional expression in the face.
The next step I do is draw the farside chin outline. I do this in a high contrast color so I can see it while drawing. Later I\’ll fill it in with another color.
Note: Tony\’s cheeks are high and angular.
Then I\’ll select the magic wand tool and select the areas, on the color/ink layer, OUTSIDE of what I\’ve drawn. I do this so that I can draw the lines for the rest of the face without erasing anything I\’ve already drawn.
To draw the rest of the fact, I\’ll again use a contrasting color. At this point I\’ll often turn off the rough layer so that I can more clearly see the drawing I\’ve done.
Next I\’ll select the paintbucket tool and the color of Tony\’s skin from my swatches.
I\’ll then fill in the facial area with the skin color.
Then I\’ll fill in the frontside outline with the face color as well, blending it into the larger face shape. This leaves one side of his face without any outline.
Next, I\’ll fill in the far side outline (the one I did in pink above) and fill it in with the \”skin shadow\” color from the swatches palette.
Nest, I\’ll again select the face color area shape because I\’m now going to build in the whites of the eyes.
To do the eye whites I\’ll draw lines between eye outline areas so that I can drop in the paint bucket color of white in a closed shape.
Next, I want to create the top of Tony\’s blue turtleneck. To do that I\’ll once again use the magic wand tool to select the face shape.
The turtleneck comes up about halfway on Tony\’s neck – so with the pencil tool I\’ll draw a line where the top of it would be.
And then I\’ll fill the area at the bottom of the line I\’ve drawn with the Gradcommx blue from the swatch palette.
We now need to put in the shirt pattern. I drew this shirt pattern in illustrator then rasterized it in a large shirt pattern file. Once it is open in PS select the entire area and copy it so you can paste it in the drawing document you\’ve been working on.
Paste it on top of the drawing.
At this point I\’ll resize it to be a little smaller. As a rule of thumb I try to make the pattern just big enough to cover his whole shirt. Since this is just the head, I don\’t really need to shrink it much. When changing its size make sure to hold the shift key so that the transformation doesn\’t change the proportions of the pattern.
Next I\’ll toggle the visibility of the shirt pattern layer so it is invisible. Then I will select the magic wand tool and turn off the contiguous option on the top bar and turn on the all layers option on the top bar. Then, with the magic wand, I\’ll select the turtleneck area.
Now I\’ll turn the visibility on once again on the shirt pattern. Then I with the selection still on the blue area, I\’ll click on the mask button at the bottom of the layers palette (make sure that you have the shirt pattern area selected when you do this). This will hide any of the shirt pattern that is outside of the the blue shirt shape of Tony\’s turtleneck.
Now, with the pattern layer selected, I\’ll turn the opacity of the pattern down to 13%. I do this so that the pattern isn\’t so bold.
Now that the art is done I will select all of the layers…
… and group them into a folder (I do this in case I need to make revisions later). To group them in a folder select the layes and press Cmd+G on a mac or just right click on the selected layers and select \”group layers\”.
Then I\’ll make a copy of the grouped layers by clicking Cmd+J or right click – selecting \”duplicate layers\”.
Then, while on the group copy, I\’ll merge the layers together by clicking Cmd+E or right click – select \”merge layers\”. Then I\’ll save the file and I\’m done.