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…
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.