Briefly mentioned yesterday, I would now like to formally introduce Paige the genie. While all of my other characters were busily trying on and adopting names, Paige went without one for a very long time. A genie, I thought, ought to have a very exotic name. But then, when I considered it more, I realized that even if she did have a very exotic name, Chester wouldn’t bother to use it. So the genie became Paige, named after my oldest friend (used with permission this time!). Thanks again Paige for letting me use your name!
- All of the characters of the cast should look like they belong together. They don’t have to be wearing matching t-shirts or anything, but there should be some stylistic consistency between them all. For my characters, I employed a regular color palette that each character draws from. I also played around with nose shape. My characters’ noses are broken down into basic geometric shapes (check out Chester’s nose). There are lots of options to ensure that your characters look like they belong together. It just wouldn’t look right if you paired SpongeBob SquarePants with G.I. Joe. The two artistic styles just don’t work together.
- Characters should be visually diverse. This statement seems to contradict my last bullet point, but even though characters may stylistically match, there should be a range of body types, costumes, and facial features among them. Characters should be obviously identifiable in silhouette. Personally, I like to play with proportions. Some of my characters have huge torsos and spindly legs. Others have massive foreheads, long chins, or tiny hands and feet. Groups of characters should be fun to look at.
- A character’s appearance should say something about his/her personality. I don’t think it’s a mistake that Carl Fredricksen (from Up) is built out of cubes. Look at his head: a cube. His fingers are squared. His glasses are square. That’s because the animators and designers were trying to say something about Carl’s character. He’s not soft and cuddly; he’s sour and crotchety. Furthermore, all of the characters from The Incredibles look like their personalities. Violet has hair over her eyes because she is shy. Mrs. Incredible is flexible because she is the mom, and moms have to be flexible. A lot about a character can be communicated by the way he/she looks.
Tomorrow, I want to share a few of the tips I’ve picked up about developing a character’s character. I’m learning as I go along, so I hope you find these tips as useful as I do.