Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Drawing Crowd Scenes
Blackmoon at 12:37PM, March 27, 2008
posts: 60
joined: 2-24-2006
This is something I've been struggling with for a while. I can't draw groups of large people. I have this tendency to get too anal-retentive about crowd scenes, and I always end up wanting to create unique (if not necessarily interesting) character designs for even the useless people in the crowd. Not only that, but I tend to get tired after drawing three or four people.
This is one of those things I wish had been covered in “How to Draw Manga” type books- the problem with those is that they'll tell you all about how to draw characters and action, but never give you the slightest clue about drawing lots of people, or scenery, or plant life, etc. etc.

So, does anyone know a good, relatively quick way to draw a lot of random people?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
mattwandcow at 1:00PM, March 27, 2008
posts: 69
joined: 11-3-2007
It depends on your level of realism. A stick figure comic can just draw circles. the higher level of art you have, the longer it will take. You can try drawing a solid shapes, the entire group of people as one form and color them dark so certain people not in the crowd stand out.

I duunno. Each to his own
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
lba at 1:01PM, March 27, 2008
posts: 2,684
joined: 5-29-2007
Use the concept of depth perception to your advantage. As things go further back they naturally lose details and the edges become less refined. So when people in a crowd become far enough away you can get away with putting in little to no details on them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
Frostflowers at 5:54AM, March 28, 2008
posts: 689
joined: 10-8-2006
Iba's got it right, I think. Also, if you want to skimp out on details on people in the foreground, have them turned the other day - it's much easier/faster to draw the back of someone's head than it is to labour over the getting the eyes right on a character who is never going to turn up again.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Skullbie at 5:11PM, March 28, 2008
posts: 4,709
joined: 12-9-2007
You can still make the background people cool, just do this:
make the outlines simple and disconnected at times.
never add details inside of the body, not really detailed at least.
Avoid drawing the face.
They get less detailed far away.

Also use a real life reference pic for it- goes faster, looks better, etc. (key word-'real life')

BTW-you can learn 150x more by just looking at a professionals manga rather than those terrible how-to books everyone hates.

Well hope i helped-
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:45PM
spacehamster at 2:11PM, March 30, 2008
posts: 504
joined: 8-3-2007
I can't draw groups of large people.

Well, try drawing skinny people instead?

Teeheehee. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Don't have much advice to offer you, I stink at crowd scenes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
RentAThug at 7:16PM, April 12, 2008
posts: 226
joined: 12-11-2006
I tend to approach crowd scenes in the laziest way I could come up with that doesn't look terrible: I ink it. The crowd becomes a big black space with a few people close to the foreground actually drawn in. Usually the same few people, actually. Generic “guy in suit” and “woman in suit”.


Crime Pays, updating Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:05PM
cartoonprofessor at 12:13AM, April 13, 2008
posts: 396
joined: 9-2-2007
I agree with all these tips.
My own, use the ‘camera’ angle to your advantage… for example the correct angle means you can express lots of people just by drawing those in front (another tip, do a few fat people in the front row) and then just the tops of heads going back as far as you want.
A low angle can even mean not having to do the heads, just a few outlines of legs instead.

Have a look how Uderzo draws forest scenes in Asterix comics, you can apply this trick well for crowds as well as trees.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
deletedbyrequest03 at 1:38PM, April 13, 2008
posts: 815
joined: 8-13-2006
A good way to look at this is through an example. I found this picture through google:

Now, I'll add lines to differentiate the detail:

Under the red line: This is where you will draw the most detail. These people will be either your main characters, or characters that represent the kind of crowd you're drawing (angry mob time).
Between green line and red line: You will have some detail, but less than the main focus.
Between the purple line and green line: You will have almost no detail whatsoever. The most detail you may need are outlines of people. You can also shade this part with a very light grey.
Over the purple line: Here, you can put even more faint outlines of people. If you would like, you can shade this part with a grey.

There are different ways of doing this, depending on style. The people that have already given advice said basically everything that you need to know. Good luck.

Edit: Also, if you are having a hard time finding ideas for the appearances of other people, just design 5 different people, and either repeat them in completely different stances, or change them just a little bit. You can have your own generic group of people. That's what I always see in manga. There seems to be the same guy walking around.

This year, school's full of BS!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:05PM
harkovast at 10:12AM, Oct. 30, 2008
posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
So far, all my crowd scenes have shown the front rank in detail and everyone behind as a shadowy horde where you cant really pick much out. You get in the impression of the crowd, without having to waste time picking out literally hundreds of folk.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:42PM
NickGuy at 12:56PM, Oct. 30, 2008
posts: 988
joined: 2-22-2007

17 and 18 specifically but all of this is a must-read.
you're welcome.

“Kung Fu Komix IS…hardcore martial art action all the way. 8/10” -Harkovast
“Kung Fu Komix is that rare comic that is made with heart and love of the medium, and it delivers” -Zenstrive
“Kung Fu Komix is…so awesome” -threeeyeswurm
“Kung Fu Komix is..told with all the stupid exuberance of the genre it parodies” -The Real Macabre
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
ozoneocean at 7:12PM, Oct. 30, 2008
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
I can't draw groups of large people.
Well, try drawing skinny people instead?
I was thinking that he should have a car accident, or try nude juggling while singing opera… That can help you draw large groups of people :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
Metruis at 9:57PM, Nov. 17, 2008
posts: 60
joined: 11-17-2008
For crowds, people in the background can become practically a single block of color. Pick a color suited to the scene… say you're outdoors at night going to a party… people in the background could be purple with some lighter highlights. People in the foreground could have detail, but you could also just blur them and get away with less detail. In fact, I suggest blurring them anyway, as cameras don't focus everywhere at once and you don't want to draw your reader's attention to things that aren't important.

Just draw the ‘shapes’ of the people and if you're coloring, make them one color with highlights. You want the illusion of people, not actually people.

And if you simply MUST draw everyone, just make them cameos so you can get publicity! WOO.

I have a tendency to do too many details for my NPCs as well, but that's my style…

But yeah. Draw the shape of them, fill it in with one dark color and just dot in a couple highlights or something or the other way around. Unless the crowd is important, you really don't need to draw any detail onto them, they just need to have the shape of people.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved