Designing a character can be a tough job, especially if you are doing it from scratch. It requires a lot of creative thinking. The characters we see in our favorite cartoons, movies or advertising look simple, but in reality, a lot of skill goes into creating them. Whether it is Mickey Mouse’s three-fingered hands or the Homer Simpson, the design should be kept straightforward.
There are some technicalities which you need to keep in mind in illustrations. Clean lines and easily readable features are one. You should know which features to exaggerate and which ones to tone down. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind to start designing your character.
Ditch the reference material
While you may take inspiration from somewhere, you should always opt for something original. Designer Robert Wallace suggests that you should not keep the reference material in front of you while you work. So try to examine the material and then work on your own. Jogging your memory would help you remember pointers which will help you with your work.
Create defined silhouettes
One great way to make your character stand out is to create clear silhouettes. Understand the emotion of the character and then pour that into your illustration. A simplified figure can help understand the character’s gesture. Make sure nothing is overlapping. Also, try to feel the personality of the character and find the right posture.
Consider all angles
Whether you’re designing for a video game or comic strip, the movement of your character plays an important part to define which angles need to be designed. You need to see that the character looks similar from all angles as the persona should not change. A flat character can look different if he has a huge belly from the side, so keep dimensions constant.
Create in 3D
If your character is going to be in a 3D world, toy or as an animation, you need to work out its weight, height and physical shape. You can also create a model to cover all aspects of design. Sometimes you can learn a lot by your character by simply turning it into three dimensional.
Colors can say a lot
Choose the colors of your character carefully to portray the personality. Usually, dark and bold colors, such as black, greys and purples can depict the ‘baddies’ and those with evil actions. Light colors radiate innocence and purity, such as blue, pinks and yellows. Comic-book reds and blues are used for heroic characters. Understand the basic principles of rules and just apply them in the process.
Study about who you are creating your character for and then work accordingly.