Designing characters that have appeal and impact means capturing the audience with an impression, instantly! Learn how to use the key elements of shape and expression to provide a laser-like insight into who your character is at a glance. Learn to focus your attention on what counts the most: silhouette or overall shape, exaggerating features, zooming in on facial expression, capturing body posture or gesture, and providing contrast with other characters. Watch this overview to get started.
- Deconstructing the visual information…that a character design has to offer…will help you to know if you're on the mark…with your own designs.…Let's start with Carlos Grangel's lineup…for "Hotel Transylvania."…The first thing that we see is the overall silhouette,…or shape of the character, as a first impression…of the personality he's depicting.…Notice how different the silhouette of Dracula…from either the mummy or Frank.…It's pretty clear they play very different roles,…based on their distinctive shapes.…Let's now look at Carter Goodrich's take…on the Frankenstein monster.…
The shape of the large body, contrasting the tiny head,…instantly identifies him as perhaps more brawn than brain.…And though we can't see his face, we immediately…feel his humanity in his all-too-familiar act…of scratching his bottom.…Carter uses shape here to immediately identify…some aspects of the personality,…and humanize him with humor.…In this example of the character Po,…from "Kung Fu Panda," Nico Marlet focuses…on a sense of movement in the body gesture.…
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