Designing a cast ensemble means balancing different “types” of characters. Choosing a variety of shapes and proportions, costumes, and colors helps to make an ensemble cast more interesting and inviting to the viewer. Here we’ll look at what several lead character designers do to ensure a wide variety of characters and use contrast of design to help ensure that your designs aren’t overly similar or static in character lineups.
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- When a fantasy character is purely…an invention of the artist's mind,…establishing authenticity is critical.…Making the viewer believe in the character's reality…stems from drawing upon elements…that the viewer recognizes,…and reimagining them in a new context.…Juxtaposing elements to create…a new kind of creature or being…resonates believability with the audience.…For Nick Kole's Forest Guardian creature,…he starts with the basic premise…of the Greek mythological creature, the Minotaur,…which is half man and half bull.…
Nick's character explores this theme…and adds wood elements to suggest…the character's role in the story.…From the first gesture sketch to the finished color image,…he tries to capture the spirit of the Forest Guardian…using a framework we recognize from mythology…and elements that make sense for his character.…When developing the mythic beast for Copernicus,…Nick similarly drew from characters that we recognize…and reconfigured them, mixing and matching elements…to create something new.…The bat character is mostly bat,…
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