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Designing a Character: Switch it up!
mkarinam asked you:
Hello girls! Your art is so inspiring!!! I wanted to ask you, how you come up with so many scribbles while designing characters? I’ve been struggling so much to design this girl, but seems like I ran out of ideas. Any tips? thank you!
Thanks for the question (and the compliment!). :)
A lot of it comes out of pure randomness, which happens to be how a lot of people end up creating a character. Here are a few tips and personal tricks on how to go about creating a character our way, which can also be the wrong way.. (not always successful, but atleast satisfying at that moment in time, haha.)
- Col erase Pencils (preferably light blue or dark blue is a good underlying base for sketching). It keeps a “rig” in a way for you to be able to form out your initial drawing. The blue can always be adjusted on programs, which is what we do most of the time.
- If you don’t use col erase, or choose not to, make sure to go about you sketch with a light hand, and not too heavy. It gets harder to erase and it makes the sketches messy and unclear.
- Mechanical pencils and Blackwing pencils are our preferred tools for making any type of sketches. Blackwing for the bolder, thicker lines, and the mechanical pencil for the more refined, precise details.
Now for the actual drawings and shapes. We tend to really like the contrast of straight and curved lines, like this example Olivia did.
It gives the drawing some interesting variation as well as some clarity in reading a design. If you just drew circles on circles, then it would either look like a fat snowman, unless you were aiming for that. Like for instance, Mickey Mouse. His structure is mainly composed of circular shapes, BUT he has a strong silhouette in the sense that his nose and ears are parallel to his head in most angles, and not just in the frontal view. In real life, well, that won’t be entirely possible to have a strong silhouette at every angle, so in the cartoony, stylized world of art, you just cheat!
For the personal touches to making a character:
- Things like texture and detail always help! But if you are not able to replicate texture just quite yet, or if you do not have the available tools, a strong sense of design is the way to go!
- If you can’t get the design down, think about the personality of the character. Put the heart and life into the character you are going to create, and then build their body/face after that.
- Be simple, not detailed. You can eventually add detail, but think about the overall shape of your character. Keeping it simple if the key word. Don’t jump the gun and make a Da Vinci out of your picture.
For example of the recent post I did below, I always imagined Doll being fierce, but with a fairly soft exterior. But of course, that can always change. Attitude can be associated with shapes. Ferocity can and usually is associated with sharper edges and features; intimidating or a cold personality. Spunk, sweetness, or maybe a little on the not so bright side is usually associated with more rounder, softer shapes. But you can always spice things up by NOT doing that and just making something totally awesome! (Not like the picture below. :p)
Rounder features: She may look nice, but she has a mean bite!
Sharper Features: Cuddly and soft with pointy appendages.
Create something visually appealing! Bend the rules, take those lines in your own hands, and make it unique!
Other than some of the unnecessary information we just gave you, just go experiment with shapes, draw unnecessary lines, scribble to your heart’s desire. Trust us, we never get the right design the first time, as you can see from the collage of doodles we usually do… of some of the same characters! Anyway, hope this helps some. Sorry if this got too carried away. The right design will come, so don’t push yourself too hard to create the perfect one in a weeks time. Even we’re still trying to get it right !
For amazing reference, here are some of Tom Bancroft’s books on character design. http://www.charactermentorstudio.com/products.html