Character Design Ideas: Inspiration for Your Character Design

What comes to mind when an artist hears of the term strong character?

Maybe it's the genius of a bubbly SpongeBob or the comical undertones and simplicity of Homer Simpson.

There are few skills as valuable to an artist as the ability to design characters from scratch. Every artist's dream is to develop a character that speaks to their audience, is unique in their own right, and is a strong foundation for timeless artwork that lives on for ages.

Well that, is easier said than done.

Character Design Ideas

A lot of work goes into the creation of a strong character. Having a few tricks up your sleeve may go a long way in making your days of character development easier.

Anime Character Design

There is a thin line between manga and anime, a line that many miss; even others finding themselves using the terms interchangeably. Manga is graphic novels or comics printed in black and white. On the other hand, anime are TV shows or movies that are an animated version of a manga source title.

Clean Details

Spare and clean details are the building blocks of anime design. When drawing manga, avoid overusing jagged lines as they may take away from the design's character. That said, achieving smooth flowing lines can be made easier by using your drawing software rotate feature to adjust the angle of the image.

Pay Attention to Your Colors

Unlike manga that you design in black and white, anime design is colored. There is no limit to the messages and symbolism that color can add to your anime character. There's always black for inner evil, pink and purple for innocence; the options are endless.

Invest in Your Characters Silhouette

Your character's silhouette plays a significant role in their perception in the eyes of your audience. Silhouette should distinctly represent your character. With anime design, an artist is strapped for options outside hair and gender. Pay attention to these areas in generating a silhouette that represents your artist.

Cartoon Character Design

Every day that passes, as designers, we develop more respect for the cartoon characters that shaped our childhood. Be it Elmer Fudd, SpongeBob, or Bugs Bunny, we realize that there is more effort that went to their creations than once met our eyes.

With the right tips, cartoon character design can be less of a hassle. As you draw your characters, always ensure to:

Stick with Your Original

Those first few sketches, following shades, and initial flow are the essence of your character. Don't change your initial style because that's where your character lies. They shape the course of that character hence underscoring the reason why you should always stick to your original.

Exaggerate Their Features

Exaggerating a character's features goes a long way in making them memorable. Don't be stingy with the bulbous noses, elongated necks, and small heads. Think about Popeye's large muscles and small cranium or Patrick's enormous belly; that's the essence of making a character unique.

Fantasy Character Design

Developing a fantasy character design is a delicate balancing act. It requires us to create an awe-inspiring character that is magical and while at the same time being completely believable.

Never Abandon the Human Element

Keep the human element close to your character as you bring them to life. However far human thought and imagination may wonder, to aliens, humanoids, and monsters, the human element is what they will always identify with most.

Stick to Their Personality

Keep the character's motivations, talents, and ambitions in mind. If your character is part human and part animal, always consider the characters' supposed role in the story and build their character according to that role. Will a half-wolf serve as a caring grandma? Probably not.


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