person sketching characters

Building Characters and Overcoming a Blank Canvas

The vast world of digital art is beautiful. Still, behind every breathtaking landscape and bewitching works of art are countless hours spent brainstorming, sketching, and revisions until an artist deems it perfect. Most people only get to appreciate the end-product, but rarely do the majority of people notice how difficult the process can truly become.

In terms of difficulty, one craft that is most certainly a challenge for most is character design, the discipline of creating an entire being from a mere concept. So, this simple guide goes out to all newbie artists and even experienced veterans who’ve found themselves stuck in a rut, as we’ll be learning how you can overcome a blank canvas.

Create An Inspiration Board

Much like how most of us got into art, even the most complex character designs begin with a doodle, so your first task is creating an inspiration board. You want to have all the bits and pieces about this character and lay them down on a blank document for experimentation and ideation. In this part, there’s no need to hold back as every piece of information you can draw inspiration from will be well worth it in the long-run.

Use Keywords: Another great method for inspiration is breaking down your character into keywords. Simplifying your character design into descriptions like fun, outgoing, mysterious, and tall will help give you a general idea of how they’re going to look.
Understand The Client’s Needs: When creating a character design for a client, you’ll want to reference what they’re asking for as much as possible. If anything seems unclear in their description, don’t be afraid to clarify and ask questions. The last thing you want to happen is submitting a beautiful character design that doesn’t fit their need.

Their Story: A great way to grasp how a character looks is by learning their story and world. Understanding their experiences and what they went through will give hints such as their jaded personality or maybe their unwavering righteousness. These hallmark characteristics help establish a character design.

person sketching

Establish Form and Anatomy

Once you’ve got a general concept art going for you, the next step to building a character is establishing form and anatomy. How you portray your character through poses, body types, key features, and gestures will help portray their personality. And, as much as possible, you’ll want their overall appearance and dynamic to reflect their background.

Break Them Down To Shapes: One way to know if you’ve got a solid character design is by breaking the composition into simple shapes. This will highlight the flow of your character design and is a great way to spot out overbearing details that you can do away with. Shapes also have the ability to showcase personalities, like how squares often depict strength and reliability.

The Impact Of Posture: Posture says a lot about a character because curves, rhythm, and motions displayed in a design elicit an emotional response from the viewer and make the character come to life. You may be required to draw them in different poses and angles, but the first concept art should communicate who they are.

Rule Of Threes: Much like any creative work and composition, the rule of threes is also an important principle to follow in character design. Your character should have three defining features that will make her memorable, and anything more than five will make them feel “too much.”

Take Your Time

Finally, one of the most important things to remember is taking your time. The art of character design cannot be done and perfected overnight, so don’t stress yourself to finish things at the world record’s pace. Calmly go over your work, make progress every day, and do revisions when and where you see fit. Also, don’t forget to use One Drive cloud backup or any safe storage to avoid losing anything important.

Embrace Creative Freedom

Character design relies on creativity, so above all else, you want to embrace your creative freedom and trust in your power of imagination to create something beautiful and inspiring. Feel free to pick and choose the methods that work for you and share this with other artists you think need that extra help.

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