Are you interested in designing characters that are visually engaging and have a lot of personality? Here are a few tips to consider when creating characters that will resonate these qualities with an audience.
Instead of jumping straight into sketching and drawing your character designs spend some time establishing the parameters of your character. This will provide you the clarity needed to create designs with a stronger sense of purpose. Make a list of key elements that will affect the design visually and emotionally.
It's always great to start by exploring the world that your character exists in. Elements of your character's surroundings can influence the design. If you're designing a character for a world primarily composed of snow and ice, then you might want to incorporate lots of cooler colors for example. Spend time thinking about the character's back story. Where are they from? What are the challenges they face? How do they overcome them? Just a few questions like these can start turning the gears of your imagination.
Knowing your character's role in the world they exist in is also very important. Is the character a villain, hero, sidekick or the comic relief? Once the role has been established, knowing the personality of the character is also key to creating a design that communicates well with the audience. Is the character bashful, sneaky, silly, loving, assertive or melancholy? Having an understanding of the character's role and personality will allow you to direct the emphasis of specific visual traits and components of the character.
The style you use to create the character will play an important role in how the character is received by the audience. If you are planning to use a cartoony style, then you'll want to choose certain visual qualities of the character to really exaggerate based on their role and personality. The style can also dictate how detailed or simplified certain parts of the character should be.
The use of shapes in a character design can also reinforce the character's role and personality in the style of your choosing. If the character is a muscular male hero, then you might want to incorporate square boxy shapes into the design. Blocking out a character design with shapes is a great way to lay the foundation for the placement of all the physical traits that make the character unique. Also consider the proportions of the shapes you use and their relationship with one another. The relationship you establish can determine if the character is masculine, feminine, old, young, strong or weak.
Finally, never commit or settle with the first design you create. Sketching numerous designs for the same character opens the door for variety and will push your imagination creatively. You can often make improvements with each design you draft and further develop specific visual attributes to better fit within the realm of your character's parameters. There are many things to consider when developing character designs, but just considering these few aspects can allow you to breathe life into a design with purpose. You'll spend more time sketching and drawing the elements you want and less time on those you don't.