Illustration & Writing

10 Tips for Effective Character Design

Here are ten useful tips to use for character design.

1. Know your Audience

Tailor your character to the appropriate audience.

For children, characters can be simple and drawn in a modern art style.

For adults, characters can be more complex or have retro characteristics to appeal to a past era.

2. Know your Medium

Design your character according to where they will appear.

If a character will be rendered on a small screen, like a mobile device, save time and don’t draw a lot of details that will get lost.

If a character will be rendered in a comic book, more details can be made and appreciated by your audience.

3. Know other Designs

Research other character designs and find inspiration from those you like.

Separate your design from those that are less appealing.

4. Use your style

Use your own style to make the character distinctive. 

5. Use exaggerated qualities

Use exaggerated features to help emphasize personality traits. They help the audience identify key qualities.

6. Use the right colors

Use colors to emphasize personality traits.

Dark colors are associated with evil and sadness. Light and bright colors are associated with goodness and happiness.

7. Give them Personality

Give the character traits in their demeanor, posture, and facial expressions. 

8. Give them props

Give your character clothes and accessories that help audience members know a character’s personality, past time or occupation.

9. Give them Goals

Know what drives the character. This will help determine how they can move forward in a storyline. 

10. Give them a Back Story

Know a character’s history. This helps form the character’s present appearance.

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