Audrey, the face that launched a 1000 designs…well at least 3 anyway

Back in 1994 , when I was working as an assistant animator at Amblimation studios in London. I noticed that some of the animators had pics of Audrey Hepburn pinned up alongside the usual approved model sheets and reference photos. this struck me as odd because we were working on Balto, a movie primarily about sled dogs in Alaska.

It turned out that the female lead, a Siberian husky called Jenna, was based at least in part on Audrey Hepburn. As strange as this may seem. Amongst the animation community, Audrey Hepburn is widely considered to have had THE most perfectly proportioned female face, a face that  I suspect has been used many times over the years as a model for animated heroines and yes, even animated animals.

It has been documented that Audrey was the original inspiration for Tom Oreb’s princess Aurora character design from Disney’s 1959 movie, Sleeping Beauty and again 32 years later with Mark Henn and James Baxter’s Belle from Beauty & The Beast. Therefore it does seem that there is some truth to the notion that was held by the ancient Greeks that true beauty always conforms to certain timeless proportions and as such is not subject to the vagaries of fashion.

Above: From woof to waif Jenna – Audrey comparison

Now, I don’t normally do caricatures, or portraits of  famous people, but I thought that it would be highly remiss for someone like myself  who calls himself a character designer, not to at least attempt to get on the Audrey Hepburn bandwagon so here’s my take on the gorgeous Audrey below.


Stuff I drew this week videos 1 2 & 3

blessed-col-03-fltWelcome to my new blog. I decided to discontinue my blogger posts and start up a blog that’s properly integrated into my own website. For anyone interested in looking at the old Blog you can find it here.

Here are some recent videos taken from my You Tube channel

The videos show me at my desk drawing away. Each one is speeded up a lot but shows my drawing process. All my characters start out as pencil drawings. The final coloured versions are scanned and coloured in Adobe Illustrator. The whole process can take between 4 to 10 hours or a lot longer if a client requires a lot of revisions.

The equipment I’m using is a perspex disc for resting on (This is a relic of my animation days rather than a necessary piece of kit). Blue and red Col Erase Pencils and a 3B Faber Castell graphite pencil. My process involves starting with light red rough drawings, firming up the line with a dark blue and then solidifying the character with a black pencil line.

I sharpen my pencils a lot, so I use a Dahle Automatic 00220 electric pencil sharpener, another relic from my animation days (I’ve had it since 1995 and it’s still sharpens just as well). It’s definitely a necessary piece of kit though, as I don’t want to have to stop every 5 minutes and spend 2 minutes sharpening my pencils, that adds up to 24 minutes over the course of a 2 hour drawing sesh and sometimes I’ll spend 8 hours straight drawing. Anyway as the Americans say,  “You can do the math”.