Book Review – The Silver Way

Stephen Silver’s, “The Silver Way” is a welcome addition to a small selection of quality character design books. Up until now, I would have recommended Tom Bancroft’s, “Creating Characters with Personality,” and Preston Blair’s, “Advanced Animation,” as the most relevant resources on the subject.

But one thing that sets this book apart from even those is how detailed and comprehensive it is. The book features a ton of illustrations outlining the do’s and don’t’s of effective character design.  And while the book is called, “The Silver Way,” Stephen stresses the importance of experimentation with both medium and sketching styles, and explains that there really is no right or wrong way to approach character design as long as you understand the core principles.

Highlights include sections on:

  • Knowing your character
  • Working professionally for various clients
  • The golden ratio
  • Tackling heads and hands
  • Achieving balance in visual weight
  • How to push ideas and poses

Stephen also outlines a number of interesting sketching techniques designed to loosen you up and get you thinking in terms of shape, silhouette, line of action, gesture, and story. Here’s a few spreads from the book:

Copyright © 2017 Stephen Silver, The Silver Way | Courtesy of Design Studio Press

Copyright © 2017 Stephen Silver, The Silver Way | Courtesy of Design Studio Press

Copyright © 2017 Stephen Silver, The Silver Way | Courtesy of Design Studio Press

A lot of work has gone into this book and it’s clear when you look through it (if you weren’t already familiar with Stephen’s work) that he knows what he’s talking about. This is the perfect starting point for those getting into character design, and good resource for those that learned the craft using thinner resources. You will undoubtedly enrich your understanding by reading this book. In short, it’s all here. I can go on and on about it, but honestly, just get this book.