Character Design Sketches Inspirations
Here are a few things that I think are very important in character design.
This article is about what you need to consider when designing characters, and not a lesson about how to draw them correctly. In addition, even if you know how to draw a character, how to use perspective, how to draw emotions, when you come up with a new character, certain thought processes take place in your head. I tried to identify some of these thoughts about design and I want to share them with you.
I have a habit of constantly watching people. I believe that in order to understand a character well enough, I need to get a certain understanding of people, how they behave, how they express their emotions, why they choose such specific clothes, how they use body language to emphasize or contrast what they speak. The behavior of the person who came to the police, because he had just been robbed, will be completely different from the behavior of the person who was called and said that his stolen car was found. People who are truly happy for you will smile at you in a completely different way than a salesman who advertises his product with a smile.
I think it is very useful to study the behavior of the actors and how they recognize their character. The way they use body language, facial expression, clothing, makeup, etc. to determine your character. Some actors are perfectly able to “become” a character. They know the meaning of every gesture, how to move, speak and even breathe. It can be very useful in this way to approach the design of characters.
It is the task of the character designer to use their knowledge of human behavior and translate it into a believable design.
2. Script reading
I always carefully read the script and discuss it with the author, trying to get as much information about the character as possible, to understand who it is and how to create its authentic image in your mind. Character creation is not a game with shapes and sizes, in fact it is an attempt to find and portray the character of the hero.
When I read the script, I focus: not only on how the character feels, but also on how he uses the subtext to express emotions; if the hero is scared, whether he shows it or hides it, and how it relates to his surroundings. For example, if he is big, does he feel big?
The character is not only emotions and feelings. Also, the personality of the character can be created with the help of clothes and hair. If I want the character to be believable, then I use the objects of the real world and change them in my design. My choice depends on the scenario, starting from which I work and create a variety of different solutions of how a character may look.
Google is extremely useful when you need to find links to images of clothes and accessories, but to go somewhere to observe objects in life and try to sketch them is also very important. When I need, for example, to draw a dress for a dancer, sometimes it is most useful to go to a club, talk to dancers and understand what details are important in a dancer’s dress, instead of randomly combining photos from Google. That way, if someone who understands dance dresses sees my work, they can confirm that I did everything right.
I prefer to combine “direct” documentation and associative material. For example, if I need to come up with a design for a dress, I’m looking for images of real dresses (direct documentation), but I’m also looking for things that would relate to the character of the hero, or even something random that appears in my mind when I think about this character (associative material). By combining these elements, you can create a believable and creative design.
4. Try, make mistakes, start over.
To create the final character design, obviously more than one drawing is required. Sometimes sketching is much more important than trying to imagine something. Ideas are good and bad, but there is always room for self-improvement.
Steps 1, 2, and 3 are important in the process of creating different ideas and concepts. The character designer comes up with many different ideas and approaches to the implementation of one or another character. By allowing yourself to draw something that doesn’t fit or is wrong, you bring your mind to good ideas. Nobody likes to show their bad pictures, but if you want to create something, it is important to approach the issue from different directions. I hate it when the drawing or concept does not fit or when I draw something bad. There is another approach when you simply do not allow yourself to make mistakes, which would mean that you need to do the same thing over and over again … This option does not suit me. The best part of my method is that in the process I “get to know” the character better. If the drawing does not reflect what I want, it means that it does not depict a character. With each attempt to draw a character, I, albeit little by little, but I will surely find out who this hero really is.
There are many books about character design techniques. As I said, here I am not talking about “how to draw characters”, but something about the drawing technique is still worth saying.
It is very important to develop both visual and creative skills at the same time, which will help to create good and original ideas.
Due to the fact that most of the characters are based on people (even if the character is a tree, donut or stone, the way he communicates with other characters, based on human emotions and gestures), you need to go to drawing lessons. During the lessons, I learned to better understand human anatomy, facial expressions, forms, three-dimensional image skills, learned how to make quick sketches, etc.
When you draw something from real life, drawing a caricature of what you see is very useful. Some details of the object stand out, and to emphasize these elements is akin to emphasizing an important line in the text in a notebook. I can look through my album and easily find out what stood out in particular in a particular lesson, and then use this information in character design.
When it comes to building / creating a character, the most important thing is proportions. I’m talking about the relationship between the dimensions of certain parts of the body, textures, colors, etc. In the end, there must be a general relationship of all proportions that suits the character. Based on any benchmark, create a balanced character, or vice versa, unbalanced.
Thoughts of contrasts help me. If a character has curly hair, I can emphasize this by adding straight elements, such as a sword, so that they complement each other (soft curly hair against a straight piece of metal). Or a wise man who knows a lot can have a big head, so his body should be smaller to sharpen the focus on the head. Using contrasts will help you determine for yourself what you want to emphasize in the character. If everything is blue, then red will stand out sharply. When I understand this for myself, I can find a balance between blue and red. So first find what stands out sharply in the hero, and then recycle it in the right shape.