How to design characters is not as easy as that seen in cartoons, films, and animations. It takes long hours of designers to create a character for a particular story. Character designing may have complexities, but the designers always aim to keep them simple. It’s more than just readable features, clean lines that are needed in a character. It is also about where to emphasize and where to downplay based on the personality of the character in the story. We have seen Disneyland cartoons, Tom & Jerry, Ice Age movies, Jungle Book and so many more, and each personality in each one of the afore mentioned has made a strong influence in our minds to remain alive forever. To start creating a character is very complicated but if one has the idea of the character in the mind then following tips would be helpful.
01. Know the Audience
The audience of the any creative project is important in determining its framework. It should be the most significant step on the way to designing characters. The characters designed for kids are brighter in colours and have got very basic shapes. If one is working for clients projects then you need to follow the character specifications shared by your client.
02. Know the Positioning
In which position and how the character will be introduced in the story also plays an important role in character designing. In what medium character will be seen also has a part to show here. Generally small mediums like mobile phone do not need intricacies in the characters as the big screens need. Besides, whatever the medium is, character designing always starts with paper, pencil, lots of sketches, ideas and more.
03. Analyse Other Designs
You should make an analysis of why some characters are successful and some are not. Do a proper research and through study of the various characters appearing in cartoon channels, animation movies, advertisements, etc.
04. Your Character should be Unique
Whether its shape, its personality, its attire or its colour, animation characters must be unique to stand out in the crowd. It could be an animal or a human or beast, the character designs need to be interesting to draw the attention of the people.
05. Drawing Line and Styles to Emphasize
Lines whether thick or thin line should be even and easily sculpted to create a personality that is cute, approachable and influencing. People demand for accuracy in the creation and have become very watchful of the perfection of the personality that is projected in the stories.
06. Magnify the characteristics
If the characters area magnified then it captures the attention of the viewers as it appears larger than life. It also helps audience in identifying the character and recalling it forever besides enhances the personal traits of the character. It could include – big nose, bulging eyes, hands with 2 fingers, big head sizes.
07. Colours Make a Big Difference
Choose colours carefully; as colours make a big difference and help your creation become noticeable in the crowd. Colours like black, blue, grey projects negative intentions, while light colours – white, blues, pinks and yellows describes innocence and purity.
08. Attire and Accessories
Attire and accessories speaks about the traits of the character in the story, besides also about its social status. Lots of diamond and jewelleries stands for riches and untidy and messy cloths indicate poor lifestyle. Besides accessories like swords, flying tools just adds to the personality and the role of the character.
09. 2D or 3D?
You need to decide how you want to project your character and how it should look from different angles. 2D or 3D features adds a completely new look to even a flat picture. If your creation is going to run on 2D or 3D platforms then you need to plan the height, weight and shape of the character very carefully as even a small mistake would change the shape of the character and make it look very different from what you envisioned.
10. Personality & facial expression
Personality of the character is a very important rule to follow while creating it. How it reacts in different situations, how it changes its expression reveals the role of the character. Whether the character is dull or sporty or a genius or a friendly one or has a destructive and villainous nature. Facial expression says it all. Movement of eyes, nose or lips can tell whether one is explosive, irritating, jealous, sad, happy, worried or scared. One can read the emotions from facial expressions depending on its temperament.
11. Character with goals
Whether one is watching a movie, reading a story or watching an animation, the goal of the lead character is the driving force behind a character’s personality. To create a dramatic angle to the story, character should be given goals like – solving mysteries, helping needy people, protecting people from evil characters.
12. Creating a background
A story to back the character makes it more interesting. Where it came from, what are the life changing events in his life, what made it think about takin up a challenging goal, etc. can add interesting and inspiring angles to the story.
13. Investigate and learn
It is not necessary to follow the rule book every time. It also depends on the mood of the artist how the personality of the character will be created. You should be open to experiments that can lead to interesting results.
14. Using paper and pencil is not a bad idea
It is always good to draw your character on paper first. Most of the interesting characters of yesteryears were drawn when drawing with the help of software was a distant dream. While working on paper many interesting things happen, this may not be possible on computers. Besides, it gives a good feel to the artist of creating something with one’s own hands and a feeling of giving life to a picture drawn on paper.
15. Let people share their thoughts
This will help you in understanding if you character is able to interact with the audience or if you are able to put the personality you wanted to in your creation. Whether the character is able to express its traits as planned.
16. Think beyond your plans
It is necessary as an artist to envision your creation on different platforms. How it would look on 2D and 3D platforms. Which platform would enhance the traits better and on which platform audience would love to see it?
17. Right environment makes it popular
Environment in which the creation dwells and interacts is important to make audiences feel the character. It strengthens the life of the character in the viewers mind.
18. Breathe life into the Characters
Your creation should look a real life character. Its facial expressions, the environment it lives in and the personality traits in every situation that is close to real world characters make it accepted by the audience.