Using Sohn’s easy-to-follow steps in the video above, you can create your own Arlo and Spot. All you need is something to write with, something to write on and the ability to draw a few egg shapes, long lines and assorted spots.
1. Start with an egg. Add a long neck and tail.
“The story has always been about that boy and dog, and flipping it where the boy is the dinosaur and the dog is this little human boy,” Sohn says about the film’s main characters. “Arlo is our dinosaur. He’s about 11 years old and we start off with him as an egg. He’s an Apatosaurus, we figure his long neck and tail at the same time,” explains Sohn of drawing long lines extending from the circular egg/body shape for the neck and tail. “We do a light gesture where that neck would go and a little ball where his head would be, then follow the line of the neck to find the placement of the tail.”
2. Fill in his ‘fun’ legs.
“Because he’s a kid we want to make him feel fun,” continues Sohn, while drawing short, bent legs underneath Arlo’s egg-shaped body. “I start with fun legs here and quickly get it rough in and come back to it.” Sohn then adds small little circles at the “bent” place in Arlo’s short legs. “He’s a grown teenager so he has these knobby knees,” he says.
3. Give him big eyes and a ‘bulbous’ nose.
“Because he’s about 11, we want to make him feel like he has those nice big young eyes,” Sohn says as he sketches two large circles-for-eyes on top of Arlo’s head. “From the bottom of his eye, start getting what his mouth would look like, then his funny bulbous nose,” he adds, drawing an oval shape below Arlo’s eyes for the nose. “Find his nostrils and then find that smile.” Finishing touches on Arlo’s face include: freckles, nostrils and “funny little Chiclet teeth,” says Sohn. “Then he’s got these fun spots on his body.”
4. Now draw Spot.
For the “little dog who’s a human boy,” Sohn recommends beginning with a small circle and a trapezoid. “First we draw his head, a little circle on this fun trapezoid shape,” he says. “Then his eyes, a little pug nose, a messy mop of hair – he’s sitting like a dog – then finish the rest of his feet.”
5. Don’t expect a masterpiece on your first attempt.
Never mind the fact that Sohn’s finished drawing is nearly perfect, don’t expect your first drawing to be exactly like Sohn’s. “It’s all about trying over and over again,” says Sohn. “When I went to art school all they would teach you was to get through all your drawings. You’d go through 1,000 bad drawings before you ever reached one you liked. It would be about practicing and practicing until you found something you got better at.”
The Good Dinosaur is now playing in theaters.