Character Design 101

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Character Design 101 Empty Character Design 101

Post by Uncanny-Illustrator on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:25 pm

Hello this topic is here to help people design characters.
It will come in multiple posts every now and then.
It will be updated every now and then.

What is covered:
How to start a base design
How to do the hair and clothes
How to pick a color scheme
How to design offspring of two characters
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Character Design 101 Empty Re: Character Design 101

Post by Uncanny-Illustrator on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:36 pm

How to come up with a base design

The first thing I would advise if you are to create a character design is to put down ideas that you have for it.
This can range from certain elements, a theme, a certain style to just wanting a character.
It might be handy to start off filling in some of the information for yourself to work with such as a gender and personality.

Next comes picking the species.
Here already comes an important part.
Picking the right species for your purpose can be a bit of a hassle at times since a species already can give away quite a bit about the character and their behavior.
For example: Most wolves in the fandom tend to be your typical loners or dark characters.
In my case I am going to pick a cat because of the breeds it can have.
This also tends to count for canine characters, bird characters, fish and the likes.
Why is this so important?
This is because every breed tends to have their own characteristics.
Examples being: Scottish folds with their folded ears, American curls with their cured ears, Norwegian forest cats that basically are walking fur balls and Japanese/American bobtails with their tiny/non existing tails.
It helps to look up pictures of the species to get a good idea on some of their most prominent features.

This right away leads me to a rather big problem, not many people do their research.

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See how the top two look the same as well as the bottom two?
Well that is a problem that happens all the time.
But in reality the animals don't look that much alike so let’s change this issue by looking up images!

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In the case of the wolf and the fox let’s list the differences!
- Fox has larger ears than the wolf.
- Fox has a longer tail than the wolf.
- Wolf muzzles are much broader than those of the fox.
- Wolf ears are a bit more rounded than those of the fox.
And in the case of the hedgehog and the porcupine
- Hedgehog has a more pointed muzzle than the porcupine
- Porcupines have much longer spines than the hedgehogs
- Porcupine has more of a visible tail compared to the hedgehog
Now with this info let’s adjust the bases!

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See the difference it can make to actually look up things?

And even then you can vary widely with details.

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And that would just be the jaw area.
Do think about this because in cases it really can give an insight to the character.

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Same goes for the eyes.
Eyes in my opinion are one of the more important parts of a design.
Why?
Eyes are the windows to the soul.
The shape of the eyes can give away so much about the character and their personality!
And at this point you can add eyelashes to your heart’s content.

For the ears I'd advice to look up images of the animal you want to make sure the ears are correct.
That means that by now we have the head as good as set!

Next up is the body.

I won’t go too much into the different body builds since that could get plain confusing but I do advice to try and vary.

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Don't make all your males slender and tall or muscle bound.
Don't make all your girls bit chested and curvy or flat and square in build.
Try to add some variety between your characters.

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Now is a good time to pick the chest fur/patch.
Try to pick based on what animal you are making!

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Now legs and hands should also be adjusted according to species.
For example a deer shouldn't have quite the same legs as a snake.
Just as Tasmanian devils should have different hands than a bird.

Now for the tail, once again look at images of your animal for what to do.
Same goes for the wings and horns.

It's time to combine all these details into one creature and you have your base character.
And once you do that you can start thinking about markings.
Tip for the markings; look up actual animal markings for ideas.
That and don’t overdo the markings.

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And now to demonstrate!
I Picked 4 animals and looked at what amde them special and used that in their designs
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See how setting up the base already can give your character a lot of personality?
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