Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Undefeated - Character Design

This is part two of how to make your own short comic (I bet you'd thought I'd forgotten this didn't you?) The observant of you will have noticed the project title has changed to Undefeated. That is because between times I had a good think about the kind of stuff Comica / Cape / Observer might go for and decided though I still like my original idea this one would be more fitting for their competition.

Anyway - character design! This is a page of designs for Michael the main (and only) character from Undefeated.

There are two main reasons for drawing character sheets for your characters:
  1. So you can experiment with their physical characteristics and clothing before you start drawing. This is so important if your character is to have a uniform / costume. The last thing you want is to draw a page / chapter and realise you don't like the design. Its going to be a hell of a long time (if any) before you can write in a suitable reason for a look change. This is less important if your character wears everyday clothes - they can wear different clothes every day - but I would strongly advise not changing your characters' looks too much (and not changing their physical appearance at all unless actually part of the story) if you are writing a short graphic story such as my four pages. Your reader needs to connect with your character instantly - it just won't happen if they keep changing, like it wouldn't happen if they kept changing personality.
  2. So you can get used to drawing them. Nothing shouts unprepared / inexperienced than characters that have unintentionally changing hair length / jaw shape / eye size / height etc.
There are no rules on how many character sheets you need to do. Do as many as it takes for you to feel comfortable with drawing them.

Don't just do head sketches (as tempting as it is). Head sketches are really important as they are a great way of drawing your characters' expressions but you also need to know what the rest of their body looks like! Also remember to vary the angles that you draw your characters from. You won't always be drawing your character face on so you need to get used to what they look like from the side / behind.

There are also no rules on what medium you use to draw your characters with. These sketches are, after all, just for you. e.g. I never usually draw with colour pencils however they felt right for Michael. What I would suggest though is that at some point you practice drawing your characters in the medium you plan on drawing your comic in. I planned on drawing my first idea digitally so I drew the character sheets 100% digitally. Here is the beginning of one:

Well done! You are now ready for stage three...drawing your graphic story!

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