Because color is such a critical element of finalizing your character designs, I’ll review one of my projects to reveal my decision-making and clarify why I chose a particular color or palette. Color choices are often made based on common associations, backstory, and to create contrast in the overall composition of characters in a scene.
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- Once you've established the backstory…and the framework of the character through drawing,…it's important to understand the role that color plays.…Choosing a palette that expresses…your character's personality can be a critical element…to the exploration of your character development.…As humans, we associate certain colors…with emotion and expression.…Color becomes an icon or symbolic idea…when applied to a character,…and can help the story that you're trying to tell.…But only if you know what the message your palette…sends to a viewer.…
When I created the color choices for the characters…that I invented in The Dragons on Dazzled Island,…I had to think about how they would…contrast the background.…Be different in color from the existing…My Little Pony characters,…as well as how they would look…when they were all together in a scene.…The biggest issue here was contrast.…I wanted the characters to be different from one another,…and to be easily identifiable,…but also pop against the cool color context.…The most challenging choice was for the mother dragon.…
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