Characters rarely spring forth out of nowhere. Typically they have some kind of description or backstory, or come from a fully developed narrative or script. Using words and descriptions as a way to understand your character more fully is an excellent place to start character design. Here you’ll learn how the expert illustrator get into their characters' purpose and motivation in a story. You’ll walk through the steps they take exploring many variations before landing on just the right design.
- Because words inspire visuals, starting with a story…ignites the first ideas for developing characters.…Once you have some basic descriptions or ideas…about your character and the world they come from,…it's time to explore who your character is through drawing.…When Nick Kole is developing a character,…some of his favorite moments have come from…talking deeply with writers about their characters…to better understand the motivation…and purpose in a story.…When sketching, he generally starts with a face…as the focal point of a character.…
He feels that getting a sense of a personality…through expression and facial features…is his guiding star for the rest of the design.…In these sketches for television animation,…he tries many different head shapes and expressions,…and leaves the early stage of his drawing…loose and expressive before his final color finish.…For him, the first step of any design after that…is understanding the character's context…or environment, and gathering reference…that provides the most elegant solutions.…
Mary Jane explains how the components of good character design can be broken down into concrete elements. She shows how body shape, posture, anatomy, facial expression, costume, color, movement, and abstract aspects like archetypes and environment bring a character to life. The lessons are illustrated with examples from Mary Jane's books, as well as famous, heart-warming characters created by a group of extraordinary character designers.
- Capturing the heart and soul of a character
- Using the right tools
- Relying on archetypes
- Adding motion
- Painting shapes and silhouettes
- Understanding anatomy and proportion
- Creating easy-to-read facial expressions
- Coloring your character
- Designing a cast of characters
- Making fantasy creatures believable
- Going from 2D to 3D