How do I make my char­ac­ter art look more in­ter­est­ing for my port­fo­lio? Kenny Cale, US

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Paco replies

The most im­por­tant thing is to ap­ply the ba­sics of vis­ual com­po­si­tion. If you have a fin­ished char­ac­ter study and you want to make it look in­ter­est­ing on a char­ac­ter sheet, then in­clude el­e­ments that will bal­ance the com­po­si­tion and fill it out. These could in­clude a turn­around, early sketches or the name of the char­ac­ter.

There are some other tricks, such as us­ing some tex­ture for the back­ground, adding a close-up of the char­ac­ter be­hind it, us­ing pho­to­graphic fil­ters such as Gaus­sian Blur or lens dis­tor­tion to sim­u­late the depth of field, or the chro­matic aber­ra­tion ef­fect to give it a cin­e­matic look.

In­deed, there are plenty of ef­fects that you could ap­ply to your char­ac­ter con­cept – it all de­pends on the style you’re aim­ing for. But re­mem­ber that those are just cheap tricks to make a char­ac­ter sheet more eye­catch­ing. Noth­ing can im­prove a poor paint­ing of a poorly de­signed char­ac­ter. Don’t for­get what’s im­por­tant.

The up­per im­age fea­tures the char­ac­ter and some al­ter­na­tive view­points. The lower im­age is the same, but the pre­sen­ta­tion is more ap­peal­ing.

Us­ing some fil­ters such as Gaus­sian Blur or lens dis­tor­tion can quickly help you to achieve a

semi-pho­to­graphic qual­ity.

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