In character design as in life, opposites attract and react. Once you’ve defined who or what your character is about, designing an opposite character—a foe to the hero—will help to define your main character more clearly. Here you’ll learn what “hooks” can capture the essence of a universal sense of evil and how to key into emotions like fear, disgust, or malevolence, with carefully chosen elements to make your villain more memorable.
- In character design, as in life,…opposites attract and react.…Once you define who or what your character is about,…designing an opposite character,…a villain to the hero, will help to define…your main character more clearly.…Carter Goodrich relies on the contrast…of size and facial expression to define…the difference between the good and bad characters.…The bully is a bulky mass with a kind of unibrow,…and a mean-spirited expression.…Contrast this with the child he's bullying,…who is small, innocent-looking, and bewildered.…
The pencil rendering of darkness for the bully…and soft, light marks for the child,…further emphasize the difference between the two…and hint to the story that could unfold between them.…Sometimes, simply tapping into something…that is universally disturbing or frightening…can be an effective tool for designing a villain.…Carter's use of a skull-like face with no visible eyes…and a boxy, machine-like body creates…a distinct lack of empathy, as his characters look…not quite human.…He used a similar design for this character,…
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