How to de­sign a manga char­ac­ter

Think­ing of work­ing up your own char­ac­ter con­cept into an il­lus­tra­tion? Low Zi Rong shares his step-by-step process for do­ing just that…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Workshops -

Low Zi Rong shares his step-by-step process for work­ing up a char­ac­ter con­cept into an il­lus­tra­tion.

Com­ing from a hob­by­ist back­ground, I started out by drawing fan art of my favourite car­toon and game char­ac­ters, just for fun. Like other artists who I spoke to, I thought it would be good prac­tice to in­clude new char­ac­ters from my own imag­i­na­tion into my il­lus­tra­tions. That was when I learnt paint­ing an ap­peal­ing char­ac­ter de­sign based on a con­cept wasn’t as straight­for­ward as sim­ply imag­in­ing it.

A cool char­ac­ter de­sign that ex­ists only in your head might not look as good once you’ve put it down on pa­per. There might be some fea­tures that ei­ther just seem ‘off’ or un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of the fig­ure you had in mind. But un­til you try to visu­alise your cre­ation on the can­vas, how are you go­ing to know?

Over the years I’ve picked up use­ful steps and point­ers to help build up a char­ac­ter with plenty of per­son­al­ity, but who’s also vis­ually in­ter­est­ing. Given how im­por­tant char­ac­ter de­sign is for or manga-re­lated il­lus­tra­tions, grasp­ing th­ese con­cepts will be use­ful for any as­pir­ing char­ac­ter illustrator.

In this work­shop I’ll be shar­ing my de­sign process for cre­at­ing an ap­peal­ing char­ac­ter with per­son­al­ity. I’ll start by com­ing up with a sim­ple story and premise, then ex­plore the var­i­ous po­ten­tial as­pects of the char­ac­ter, in­tro­duce ad­di­tional de­tails to get her to stand out and, fi­nally, ap­ply the fin­ish­ing colour­ing touches to bring her to life.

Do note, how­ever, that while the art di­rec­tion in this work­shop veers to­wards an anime or manga style, the meth­ods I’m shar­ing can still be ap­plied to most forms of char­ac­ter de­sign.

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