Bright Colours & Bold Strokes: An Illustrative Guide

 In Blog

We’re always looking to mix things up in the studio. For the ‘Natcen Data Linkage’ animation we created an illustration style that embraced a strong colour palette and bold strokes (outlines). Here’s how we went about it.


1. Geometric Drawing

We set ourselves the constraint of using simple geometric shapes to construct the characters. Despite this, some elements like the hair and clouds just didn’t look right conforming to the geometric approach so these were tweaked later to be a bit more organic. It’s important to not constrain yourself to the detriment of design. Go with your gut and explore beyond the boundaries you’ve set yourself if things aren’t working.

Drawing the characters in a ¾ pose rather than facing directly at the camera ensures that they can interact naturally with one another, rather than looking like they’ve been set up on an awkward blind date.


2. Colour & Strokes

We used a vivid colour palette to compliment and accentuate the cute, friendly and approachable nature of the animation.

Often with an illustrative style you must use shadows to create believable form. A person moving one leg behind the other can be hard to for the viewer to visualise if there’s no colour difference to illustrate which leg is moving behind. Strokes can help illustrate this without the use of shading by providing break points between different body-parts (see the legs/hip area).


3. Scenery

Another benefit associated with this stroke-style approach is that we were able to considerably simplify our palette. Want to have a character with blue hair walk across a sky of the same tone of blue? No problem, the stroke helps maintain the definition of where one element ends and another begins.

We ensured that the backgrounds all conformed to the same style as the foreground elements for a harmonious aesthetic. The stroke widths were reduced accordingly, to make the foreground objects and characters pop.


Until next time,

Tariq, Lead Animator
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