Drawing Characters

“My stories are usually about people interacting with each other, so I’ll start by drawing the characters. At the same time I’m drawing a character I’ll draw the space around the character. I used to draw the character in detail and then draw the set around the character, but I found it made it look like a diorama. Now I draw the shape of the character and the shapes of things in the background and slowly fill them in all over the page at the same time… I’m not as concerned with realism and getting everything exactly right as I am with communicating the mood or intention of the character in a way that isn’t cheap or obvious.”  (Sullivan 2003, 164-165)

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray.
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

“To me, the whole thing is the faces, in a way. That’s where you really have to get across the specifics of the emotions and connect with the reader.” (Parille 2009, 187)

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray2
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.


“The eyes have to show some humanity behind them—even if they’re very simple circles. That’s how you can tell if a character is alive or not. It’s not something you can consciously do. I don’t really know what the secret to that is, except you have to sort of believe that they’re alive.” (Salaysay 2012)

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Character Sketches for The Death-Ray
Ca. 2003-2011

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.

Sketches of Marshall for Mister Wonderful
Ca. 2007-2008

Daniel Clowes Archives. Copyright by Daniel Clowes. No reproduction permitted.