What are the basics of character design
Devin Tucker, US
There are several ways to approach character design; there’s no fixed process that you must adhere to. And rather than dwelling on the effectiveness of the finished art, I recommend simply enjoying where that process takes you.
I often begin creating a character from scratch by branching out ideas from a specific source of inspiration. Start small scale with thumbnail sketches and rough poses to convey the general form. Not having to worry about details will also give you more options. In the example, I chose to create a more or less neutral character (a supporting role, like a particularly flashy shopkeeper in a mystical underground district) drawn from Asian folklore.
Next, do some research. This will help interpret the form in a way that’s believable, by borrowing elements from existing design or being inspired by them. If your inspiration stems from one main source, don’t just limit yourself to that: look up subjects that are unrelated yet can help to enhance the concept. For this example, I base the golden swirls loosely on antique china tea set patterns.
For cohesiveness, I repeat colours, patterns and overall concept throughout. I use a single colour more than once, while maintaining a relatively strong contrast, makes certain elements pop. Bear in mind that details shouldn’t be littered throughout the entire form, but concentrated on specific areas to avoid confusing the eye.
To round them out as an individual, factors such as your character’s posture, fashion choices and even favourite objects should reflect their personality or lifestyle.
I usually stick with a maximum of four base colours that work well together, while keeping the design clean and simple.