Developing an environment with a story or description will help to establish a context for your characters. Sketching it out helps you to understand how to design your characters so that they fit into their world believably. You’ll learn some easy methods of brainstorming environments, contrasting elements to envision fantasy realms, and utilizing various visual elements from the real world to help make your invented environment feel authentic.
- Knowing the world that your character inhabits…allows you expand on the character's back story…and informs their basic design.…Saving images to a Pinterest page…or creating a mood board…can help you to more fully realize that environment.…and provide a wealth of source material for your characters.…As a book writer and illustrator,…to finding the environment for characters…generally happens as I'm working on the text of a story…and directly affects the attributes…I might give a set of characters.…For "My Little Pony: Under the Sparkling Sea,"…I set the location in an underwater world,…which meant designing creatures that would both…fit a fantasy story and exist in deep in the ocean.…
I was inspired by the idea of the imaginary city of Atlantis…and decided that everything inhabiting the world…would be a combination of land and sea.…And so the world might have once been above water…and the creatures had to adapt.…Mermares are a combination of mermaid and mare,…exhibiting the elegance of a mermaid,…but demonstrating some horse-like features.…
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