Lucario Custom Playamat Or How to Draw a Lucario

While thinking about how I could present this post I realised that for the most part I tend to give a overview of the process involved in creating the mat but very rarely do I go into the details of how to actually draw things in the first place. So this time as we look at the Lucario mat I’ll go though some of the stages involved in sketching out the character at the end I’ll also go over a few of the other techniques involved in colouring it.
The main idea here is to give an insight into the theory and technical processes at each stage, while I encourage people to follow along its more about the process than a final product so saying its a  ‘How To Draw Lucario Tutorial’ in the title is probably not entirely correct but still.
We have a lot to cover today so with the preamble over lets dive straight in.

Stage One: Starting Somewhere

So you have a rather intimidating sheet of paper in front of you and a pencil and eraser to one side and your stuck because you have no idea of where to start.
Click on the image to enlarge

Thats relatively easily resolved since your not starting here but will first need to go to your preferred connection to the internet to do some research and gather reference material. Two paragraphs in and I already have you doing homework but this stage is important, we could work from memory of course but human memory is incredibility unreliable when it comes to this sort of task I could draw Lucario without reference but how much detail would I be missing and would the various body parts be to scale?. Go to your search engine of choice and do an image search for Lucario.

Well at least now we have a basic idea of what our subject looks like. Lucario has an essentially human body plan with a fox/wolf head and very odd knees and lower legs. I want to liken the process to life drawing, except we aren’t trying to copy the poses or style.
Back at our blank sheet of paper unfortunately nothing much has happened in our absence. We will rectify that by drawing a circle. Don’t get hung up on making it neat, sketchy is fine better at this point anyway. You can see that I’ve just roughly gone around a few times and got something that is mostly circular.
The next thing to mention are the various digital overlays.
The Green line is where I initially placed the characters feet, the Purple line represents where they will end up by the end of the process but we wont worry about that just yet.
The red box represents the general space that I want Lucario to occupy. Going over the lines isn’t an issue, in reality the box is purely imaginary, but if your too far out it might be an idea to check to make sure the various limbs are actual as long as you have made them.
The blue I-bars represent the length and width of the head and will later show up again used in the characters skeleton. The length/width of the head is a universally important measurement for working out the scale of the rest of the body so its a useful trick to know.
You will notice that my Lucario seems like he is only going to be two heads tall with a bit extra at the bottom thats because I’ve already drawn the final image and this is a redraw so I know exactly how things will end up looking. Normally you wouldn’t know though and in Image 2 you can see that there are two sets of circles.
Look back at your reference material and hold your pencil up to the image with one end placed at the top of Lucario’s head (ignore the ears) Place a finger/thumb on the pencil where the bottom of the head would be then move the top of the pencil down to where the head meats the neck you should notice that the area between the top of the pencil and your finger/thumb is filled by Lucario’s torso. Moving down again and the area between them will be the upper legs and then finally the lower legs. This lets up know that Lucario is usually 4 heads tall if he is standing up straight.
In this example though our Lucario is going to be closer to 3 heads tall. Its not because he’s short but because we are drawing him in a more dynamic pose causing various body parts to get tucked in behind or foreshortened. Foreshortening happens when elements of an object are closer to the view than others, in this particular case Lucario’s head and the front of his upper legs are the elements closest to us and its torso and right arm are further away.
So in Image 3 instead of placing the circle for the torso directly below the one for the head we shift it up, the top of the circle will help us identify where the neck would be (in this instance it is hidden by the head) We can also use the bottom of the circle to tell us where the torso joins the upper legs at the hips.
While in Image 2 there is only one circle representing where the legs will be in Image 3 it has been replaced by two, there are after all two legs and they wont be directly under our character. Much like the torso the lower legs will tuck in under and behind other elements of the body which again will result in Lucario not being 4 heads tall.
Normally at this point if I didn’t know exactly what I was drawing I would just be laying down circles and seeing what positions looked good. We would have ended up with a selection of variations that looked similar to the one in Image 7 but we aren’t skipping ahead to that point instead we are going to go over a process that can be quite helpful when it comes to drawing characters.
So at the end of stage 1 what do we have to show for ourselves? Mostly a bunch of circles and a slightly better idea of the placement of various body parts. In part 2 we will look ad turning those circles into something a bit more substantial.
After the break I will finish off the main tutorial, mention a few other techniques and wrap things up.

Step Two: The Leg Bone’s Connected To The What Now?
With the rough outline in place its time to work in more detail. In Image 4 the circles have been swapped out with dark blue I-bars to represent the characters bones. The new smaller circles represent where the various joints and hands would be and the light blue line helps us place the shoulder joint that would mostly be hidden by the head it could probably do with being on the same diagonal as the upper bone on the leg to the right but we wont worry about that to much right now..
In Image 5 I have added the let arm bones in red, the other red bones represent things like the ears, right arm, feet and the weird section that sits between Lucario’s shorts and the knees. Its a slightly strange leg layout which is one of the reasons i’ve hidden them in behind.
In Image 6 we can start to apply flesh to the bones so to speak, the easiest way of doing this is with triangles. The upper legs obviously aren’t triangular, they are more like sausages, but we can fix that in the next step. The triangles however do give us a good shape to work from when it comes time to figure out how the various muscles are going to shape the limbs.
Like I mentioned at the end of Step 1 this stage is more theory than a process that I go though every time I draw a character but at the same time its something you need to know in order that you don’t have to bother going though the steps, you could even take it further and start pinning real muscle groups onto the skeleton building up more and more detail so as to give a better base to work on when it comes to adding the skin you may for example find that where a group of muscles twist in the torso the skin should be under tension. Another stage further and having added the skin you could then tell areas where clothes would be lose or bunching up. Its all about how far you want to take the level of detail and in this instance since Lucario is not exactly the most detailed character to start with we wont be going as far as al that.
Image 7 (which can bee seen bellow) takes us back to our sketching, and we can see that I’ve rounded out the upper legs and blended them to the torso. Everything else is also somewhat more rounded because its a physical sketch rather then an example done on the computer but you should still be able to make out how the triangles on the arm connect tot he shoulder and hand to look like ice cream cones just like in the previous image.
I have also added a circle to show where Lucario’s nose will end up being and a curved line that runs from the top of the head down the middle of the body to help me find the center line which will be handy when I’m trying to get the eyes and spike on the chest in the right place.

Step 3: Splines

Usually I would just get a darker pencil for this next section and draw over what I already had but since that tends to result in something somewhat less than easy to untangle visually I’ll start over on a fresh piece of paper.
In the last section we figured out our pose and scale then moved on to an initial attempt at fleshing things out. With that image as a guide we can now go a bit further and start to add more detail and generally be a bit more careful and clean with our lines.
Image 8 shows the first stage of the redraw and I am attempting to keep the lines much more fluid using single strokes. While this might not be the style you choose to use every time (theres something to be said for sharp angles) I am currently somewhat obsessed with drawing everything using S-curves.
This has partly come out of the fact I tend to use a lot of spirals in my layouts and partly because of other artistic influences I have been exposed to recently. As mentioned above you don’t always have to do things this way but one of the benefits is more natural looking shapes and another is that its quite an easy way to draw smooth lines especial on the computer using a graphics tablet.
In any case Image 9 highlights where most of the various curves are. You don’t have to stop at one S either they can flow into each other like the long snaking line that starts by the ear on the right and goes all the way down and around to bellow the elbow.
This Image also starts to show how the body bulges around joints, in a human there would also be more definition in the arms but Lucario isn’t exactly a weightlifter and even the slight hints of muscle I have added aren’t really cartoon accurate since normally the upper arms would be almost flat.
At this point increasing the level of detail is just a process of repeating the last few stages, take the curved image and redraw it again adding things like the eyes mouth and accessory’s (in this case the spikes and the fur around the neck and ears). The hardest part of this particular image I found to draw was Lucario’s nose it took a large amount of tweaking before I got the angle right and without the nose in the right place its hard to place the eye on the left. Much like the rest of the image the mouth is just a really curved S, its just one side is much wider and bigger than the other, drawing eyes also involves an S for the brow followed by an elongated circle with the top cut off for the iris.

Step Four: Check, Edit, Enlarge

At the end of the last Step you will have been left with an image that is almost finished, theres just one problem you have have hit a wall in terms of the detail you can pit down at the scale your woking at. The two main option would be to start using a light box and mechanical pencil to create finer lines or to go big, since mats are large anyway my preferred method is to scale up to A2 (if you don’t have an A2 piece of paper a piece of A3 set up vertically is also fine in this instance)
First though we need to do a little more editing. You could do the next few sections on paper as part of the last step if you wanted, I’ve just chosen to split them off and and talk about then here since I will be doing this next section on the computer after scanning the image in.
In Image 10 the blue lines from Image 1 are back I’ve also added a diagonal grid to check how the various components are lining up and while I like the way the ear in the right leads down to the nose and the leg on the left also follows that diagonal I have noticed the elbow could possibly do with being shifted to the left slightly in order to get the angle of the arm more in line with the leg on the right.
After pushing the body up to the purple line I also notice that the legs and arm might be a tad on the thin side in comparison to the head so I have enlarged them which has had the added effect of hiding more of the leg on the left.
All this messing about adjusting things, including any changes that you notice need making after mirroring the image are based on an eye for detail and form that you will build up over time, much like any other skill its not something that your going to have straight away however if you are looking at something you have drawn and can sense that there might be something not quite right even if you cant quite tell what it is thats a good start.
By now you should have redrawn the image enough times to have a reasonable ability to draw it at a larger, scale either freehand or by printing out an enlarged sketch and working from a light box. The greater scale will give you space to add more detail you could even combine all the methods and add a mechanical pencil to the mix if you were going for super detailed designs .
By this point Lucario had also gained a tail and those weird things that make the black thing over his face look like a mask I had left them out up until now since they didn’t add much to the tutorial side of things but again like the rest of the image they are made up of S-curves this time flowing in the same direction as the special effects to add more sense of movement. Just remember the tip of the tail needs a crook in it. The extra space available has also let me get a more pointed feral definition to the shape of the head and I have spent a bit more time moving the arms into positions I found more pleasing in relation to the ball of energy and the other limbs
When your happy with your finished design you can either go straight to redrawing it on the mat or scan it into the computer and mess about with it more there. Or you could start over and create another or perhaps do some sketches of other Pokemon and add then into the design. There’s really no right or wrong at this point.
That said this brings us to the end of this section of the tutorial, in the next Step I will look at some of the colouring techniques.

Step Five: Because This Tutorial Wasn’t Long Enough.

Finally I’ll skip ahead now to the end of the colouring just to quickly go over a few other techniques. Since I wasn’t going for a cartoony look anyway I decided to add a fur effect. Adding the effect mainly involves spending some great deal of time painting alternate light and dark patches, first in lines following the contours of the shape (knowing where the muscles are would be handy here) and then moving up to an area above that line and doing the same thus creating a layered effect.
Similarly by alternating light and dark in larger patches you can create a better impression of realistic lighting. You can use this effect to create edges by having a shadowed area follow a line of light or vice versa.
Taking the idea one step further you can create quite realistic metallic objects especially if your careful with your gradients and make sure it looks like its reflecting the environment around it.

Step Six: Wrapping Things Up

I realise its been quite a long post today but I hope that perhaps others may have picked up at least one or two things along the way. As it turns out it was quite a useful exercise for my own learning also since it forced me to try and find a way to get the various concepts that I take for granted across through the use of images and text.
It also showed me why many people charge for teaching others things, because putting together all this stuff can take quite a long time.
Next time, hum the adams family theme, or the musters for that matter because we are going ghoulish with the Wright family.

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