Top 27 character design tips
Character design can be a tricky beast to tackle. Creating your own character from scratch involves a lot of creative thinking. Although many of the classic characters familiar to us all through cartoons, movies, and advertising look straightforward, a lot of skill and effort will have gone into making them so effective.
From Mickey Mouse’s famous three-fingered hands – drawn to save production time when he was first developed for animations in the 1920s – to the elegant simplicity of Homer Simpson, character design has always been about keeping it simple.
But aside from clean lines and easily readable features, what else do you need to consider for your character design? There’s knowing what to exaggerate and what to play down, what to add to give a hint of background and depth, and what to do to develop a personality.
And then there’s the matter of the technicalities of how to draw your character design. If it’s going to be used in motion or as part of a comic strip, you’ll need to make sure it works from any angle (easier said than done, as this unsettling top-down view of Mickey Mouse proves).
For this article, we asked a range of leading artists and illustrators their advice on creating memorable, unique character designs. Many of these tips come from Pictoplasma, an annual character design festival in Berlin.
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