top of page

Master the Art of Stylized Character Design: Creating Bold Proportions and Dynamic Forms!


Learn how to create a stylized character with exaggerated proportions in this step-by-step tutorial.

Explore techniques to sculpt the body, enhance specific features like the chest, arms, and abs, and use specialized brushes for a cleaner and more stylized appearance.







- Workflow

  • For today’s class, we’ll be using an already-made block out of a stylized character.

  • The process of creating stylized anatomy is almost the same as creating real-life anatomy with the exception of getting into too much detail.

  • We’ll also focus on exaggerating the shape by making everything look more sharp and blocky unlike how normal real-life muscles look.

  • The shapes of the muscles are the same as always and in the same position, so we are not completely going out of the boundaries of anatomy.

  • We’ll first DynaMesh the character on a high enough resolution to work with but also not lose the details from the block out.

  • With the Move brush move any parts of the arms that are too merged with the rest of the body.

  • In this case, the front and back of the armpits are too merged with the torso.

  • To fix it we have to move the parts up and afterwords use DynaMesh again.

  • With the DamStandard we’re going to make the chest muscles, drawing them out and making them stick out more by holding down Alt and using the brush where the chest is facing forward.

  • We want to exaggerate the form as much as possible and make it look more blocky.

  • For the ribcage, draw it out with DamStandard from the bottom of the chest leading all the way to the back.

  • Make sure you exaggerate the indents on the sides.

  • For the abbs, we’re also going to draw them out with DamStandard and use ClayBuild up to add volume as usual.

  • Make the shape of the abbs more blocky by holding down Alt and outlining them with DamStandard.

  • We can also add in the muscles below the arms with ClayBuild up and smooth them out a bit.

  • Draw out the shoulder with DamStandard but this time we won’t separate the muscle into 3 parts.

  • Instead, we’ll leave it like this and make the form more blocky.

  • For the bicep, we’ll sue DamStandard to create the indents on the side for the muscle and add volume in the middle with ClayBuild up.

  • We’re going to be going a lot of back on forth on the muscles and keep refining them as we slowly build up the character.

  • With ClayBuild up add a bit more clay on the back of the shoulder and with DamStandard make the form more blocky.

  • Afterward, smooth out the brush strokes and create a nice line below the back of the shoulder to make the form stick out even more.

  • For the Tricep muscle, we’ll do everything as per usual, separate the muscle into two parts in the middle and add volume with ClayBuild up.

  • For the Bicep use the Flatten brush to flat out the ends to sharpen the form.

  • Moving forward we want to work with a slightly bigger topology.

  • We’ll DynaMesh our model on a higher resolution, enough to give us more topology but also make it easy to smooth out and form the clay with no issue.

  • After DynaMeshing smooth out the front of the torso.

  • From here use the DamStandard brush to carve out the side of the abbs to exaggerate the form and add some clay on the side to connect them better with the rest of the body, we still want the model’s anatomy to make sense.

  • With ClayBuild up add more volume to the Bicep, smooth it out and from the side use the Move brush to make the muscle stick out more, the same for the Tricep.

  • In between the Tricep and Bicep use DamStandard to create a gap and in the gap use ClayBuild up to form the small muscle between the Tricep and Bicep.

  • Moving down to the forearm, use DamStandard to form the muscles.

  • With the Flatten brush flatten out the side of the muscle to make it more stylized.

  • Going back to the chest muscles, outline them again by holding Alt while using DamStandard.

  • Do the same thing for the ribcage below the chest where it’s sticking out.

  • Outline the abbs as well using the same DamStandard method.

  • For the Saw muscles add clay on the front sides and use Alt + DamStandard to make them stick out more.

  • Separate the abbs more with DamStandard to make the muscles pop out.

  • For the elbows add in clay with ClayBuild up and use the Flatten brush to flatten the top and bottom part of the elbow.

  • With DamStandard make the indents on the side.

  • Make the bone of the forearm with ClayBuild up, DynaMesh the model, and smooth it out.

  • Use DynaMesh every time you add in a lot of clay and when creating shapes on the character.

  • For the back muscles draw them out using DamStandard and add in clay using ClayBuild.

  • Smooth out the clay a bit and with Alt + DamStandard make the muscle stick out more.

  • With the Flatten, brush flatten out the sides of the muscle.

  • Connect the top of the muscle with the rest of the back so it isn’t just a big square attached to the back.

  • With DamStandard carve out the back more where the torso is outlined and with ClayBuild up add more volume.

  • With Alt + DamStandard outline the muscle more and with the Flatten brush flatten out the sides of the muscle.

  • For the lower back muscle, make a line going down the back using DamStandard then add clay on the side, DynaMehsing and smoothing out the clay.

  • With DamStandard add indents on the side and with Alt + DamStandard make the sides stick out more.

  • Outline the hips using DamStandard and add more volume.

  • For the glutes use ClayBuild up to add more volume and outline it using DamStandard.

  • Keep forming the shape with these two brushes till you are satisfied with the form.

  • From the front outline the waist to separate the torso and legs.

  • Moving to the legs we’ll start to outline the muscles with DamStandard.

  • Use ClayBuild to add volume following the same principles as we did in the Leg anatomy class.

  • With Alt + DamStandard make the muscles stick out more.

  • With the Flatten, brush flatten the sides of the muscle.

  • With Alt + DamStandard make the other muscles stick out as well.

  • With ClayBuild up add in clay where the knees are.

  • Add clay down the leg and with the Pinch brush pinch the clay to create an interesting shape.

  • Add clay around the knee to connect it to the rest of the foot.

  • Use the Flatten brush to get a sharper and flatter look on the knee just like we did with the elbow.

  • From the side move the knee more outward to give it that stylized look.

  • With the DamStandard add indents on the side of the knee and more clay on top and on the bottom.

  • With the Flatten brush flatten out the surface.

  • For the Calf muscle start by outlining the form using Alt + DamStandard.

  • Add clay on the top one you’ve outlined it.

  • With Alt + DamStandard again outline the bottom of the muscle and use the Flatten brush to flatten the sides.

  • With ClayBuild up connect the Calf muscle with the rest of the foot, adding a bit of clay before DynaMeshing and smoothing.

  • Outline the calf muscle again on the top and bottom before smoothing out the form.

  • On the back of the knee add an indent with DamStandard and add in clay on the side of the indent before smoothing and DynaMeshing.

  • Use ClayBuild up to make the collar bones, using DamStandard to outline them to separate them a bit from the chest muscles.

  • Add clay where the side muscles are and connect them slightly with the collarbone.

  • Make sure you add in the hole between the Back muscle and the neck. using ClayBuild up.

  • For the Trapezius muscle add more clay on the back and smooth it out.

  • Before we continue adding in the last details, duplicate the model and ZRemesh the Duplicate.

  • Once ZRemeshed and still has the duplicate selected and the original visible, go into the Project options inside the Subtool and click on the Project All button.

  • From here we will hide the original and continue working on the duplicate.

  • For refining the shape we will load in a brush made by another artist, it is called Pinch_3DCW.

  • With this brush start outlining the muscles of the character.

  • We first started with the tricep, outlining the edges to give it a nice clean finish.

  • Outline the abbs to make the indents more noticeable before making the edges stick out more.

  • We’re going to do the same to the Saw muscles, chest, and ribcage.

  • For the legs outline every individual muscle on the thigh.

  • Outline the knee to make it look more sharp.

  • For the back of the knee on the sides of the indent in the middle, draw outlines sticking out to add a blocky look.

  • For the glutes make the indent on the side again and also make the edge of the glutes stick out more.