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0:49  Drawing without an eraser
2:33  Silhouette, symmetry, repetition

5:30  Warming up
8:11  Creative accidents

9:47  Posture, abstract shapes
11:10  Importance of life drawing

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Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan
Cartoonist & Comics Artist


Create a series of character designs based on yourself.


Core Ideas

Character design, line, imagination



Christina Wu

Christina Wu
2018 Intern

“This was a very risky project for me as I used to always sketch things out in pencil first before going in with ink, so tossing away the eraser and going straight in with pen made the blank page all the more intimidating.

The first character I drew was very shaky and rigid, but as I continued sketching I found myself going faster with the pen until in the end I wasn’t even trying to formulate a plan, which is amazing because the designs ended up being so much more bizarre than I expected, to the point that I would never look at it and think ‘Oh, that’s me.’

This was definitely a challenging and new experience for me, and the fact that I recently got a haircut didn’t help too in terms of hair design. I also think this helped boost my self-image as well since the more I drew the less I worried about how I ended up looking on the page, whether I ended up too skinny, too round, or too ugly—the more exotic the better!”

Iris Yip

Iris Yip
2018 Intern

“I had a lot of fun working on the project! On one hand, working in pen from the very start definitely highlighted some of my more prominent mistakes. I admit, it is pretty frustrating not being able to just go back and erase them, but this project is really one of those things that gets easier as you gradually get with the flow of things.

Overall, I liked how things turned out in the end, though if I were to re-do this, I would strive to be more relaxed. By the end, my hand was somewhat aching since I was holding onto the pen tightly in a vain attempt to keep the lines smooth, which I felt didn’t really fit the nature of this project.

Drawing in this particular way is something I really want to improve on, since whenever I sketch things as a first draft they tend to get too loose and messy, which in my opinion, doesn’t fit the overall aesthetic of these ink and pen sketches. I almost wish I had gone for more variation and hesitated less when it came to playing around with shapes and lines, but alas, I think I ended up being way too caught up over how the lines ended up looking to pay that much attention to overall design.

Still, it was really fun just letting the lines dictate what went where. Most of them ended up looking pretty funky, but I still enjoy them nonetheless. It was definitely a very fun project, and I felt a lot more comfortable breaking out of my usual style to try something new.”


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