Tue. May 28th, 2024

Designing a character is an exciting process that allows you to bring your imagination to life. Whether you’re creating a character for a book, a comic, a video game, or a movie, the possibilities are endless. But where can you go to design your character? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various options available to you and provide tips on how to create a unique and memorable character. So grab a pencil and paper, and let’s get started on this creative journey!

Character Design Tools and Resources

Online Character Design Tools

1. Character Creation Software

When it comes to designing your own characters, there are a variety of online character creation software tools available that can help you bring your creations to life. These tools allow you to create characters with different features, such as facial expressions, body types, and clothing options. Some popular character creation software tools include:

  • Adobe Fresco: This digital painting and drawing app offers a range of brushes, pencils, and markers to help you create detailed characters.
  • Clip Studio Paint: This professional-grade manga and comic art software includes a range of tools for creating detailed characters, including brushes, pens, and color options.
  • Procreate: This digital painting app is designed specifically for iPads and offers a range of brushes, layers, and other tools to help you create professional-looking characters.

2. Digital Art Tablets and Styluses

In addition to character creation software, digital art tablets and styluses are essential tools for creating detailed and realistic characters. These devices allow you to draw and paint directly onto a screen, providing a natural and intuitive drawing experience. Some popular digital art tablets and styluses include:

  • Wacom Intuos Pro: This tablet and stylus combo offers a range of pressure sensitivity and pen options, making it ideal for creating detailed characters.
  • Apple Pencil: This stylus is designed specifically for iPads and offers a range of pressure sensitivity and palm rejection features, making it ideal for creating detailed characters.
  • Microsoft Surface Pen: This stylus is designed for use with Microsoft Surface tablets and offers a range of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition features, making it ideal for creating detailed characters.

3. Character Design Templates and Tutorials

If you’re new to character design, templates and tutorials can be incredibly helpful in getting started. There are a variety of online resources available that offer character design templates and tutorials, including:

  • Character Design Workshop: This online course offers a range of character design tutorials and resources, including templates and brushes.
  • Proko: This website offers a range of character design tutorials and resources, including step-by-step guides and reference images.
  • Schoolism: This online learning platform offers a range of character design courses and tutorials, including live classes and critiques.

By utilizing these online character design tools and resources, you can create detailed and unique characters that bring your stories to life.

Physical Character Design Tools

Designing a character requires a lot of creativity and imagination. However, having the right tools can make the process a lot easier and more enjoyable. In this section, we will discuss some of the physical character design tools that you can use to create your own characters.

1. Sketchbooks and Pencils

Sketchbooks and pencils are essential tools for any artist or designer. They allow you to sketch out your ideas and explore different concepts without worrying about making a final product. When choosing a sketchbook, look for one with good quality paper that won’t bleed or smudge. A hardcover book is also a good choice because it provides a sturdy surface for drawing.

Pencils come in a variety of types, including graphite, charcoal, and colored pencils. Graphite pencils are a good choice for sketching because they are easy to erase and provide a range of shading options. Charcoal pencils are great for creating textures and shading, while colored pencils are ideal for adding color to your sketches.

2. Protractors and Rulers

Protractors and rulers are useful tools for designing characters with specific proportions or angles. A protractor can help you draw circles and curves with perfect symmetry, while a ruler can help you create straight lines and measure distances. When using a ruler, make sure to use a light touch and work slowly to avoid making mistakes.

3. Reference Books and Magazines

Reference books and magazines can provide inspiration and guidance when designing characters. They can offer ideas for different styles, body types, and facial features, as well as information on anatomy and movement. Some popular reference books for character design include “How to Draw” by Scott Robertson and “Anatomy: A Complete Guide for Artists” by Gottfried Bammes.

In addition to books, there are many online resources available for character designers, including blogs, forums, and social media groups. These resources can provide feedback, critiques, and advice from other designers, as well as tips on software and techniques.

Character Design Techniques and Strategies

Key takeaway: To design a character, it is important to utilize various online and physical character design tools and resources, such as character creation software, digital art tablets and styluses, sketchbooks and pencils, protractors and rulers, and reference books and magazines. It is also important to follow key character design techniques and best practices, such as balance and proportion, character archetypes, and cultural diversity and sensitivity. By utilizing these tools and techniques, designers can create unique and memorable characters that bring their stories to life.

1. Developing a Concept

a. Identifying Inspiration

  • Exploring different media: Movies, TV shows, comics, video games, and books can provide a wealth of inspiration for your character design. Take note of what makes these characters memorable and how they are portrayed visually.
  • Researching real-life references: People-watching can be a great way to find inspiration for your characters. Observe different body types, facial features, and mannerisms to create unique and relatable characters.
  • Studying art and design: Look at various art styles and design elements to develop your own visual language. Experiment with different mediums and techniques to find the best way to convey your character’s personality.

b. Creating a Mood Board

  • Defining the character’s world: A mood board can help you visually represent the character’s world, including their environment, setting, and atmosphere. This will give you a better understanding of the character’s background and help you design them accordingly.
  • Collecting visual references: Gather images, colors, textures, and patterns that reflect the character’s personality and style. This can include fashion, architecture, nature, and more.
  • Experimenting with different compositions: Arrange your visual references on a mood board to experiment with different compositions and color schemes. This will help you refine your character design and make it more cohesive.

c. Brainstorming Character Ideas

  • Establishing character traits: Start by defining the character’s personality, motivations, and goals. This will help you create a character that is believable and relatable.
  • Sketching out ideas: Use sketches to explore different character concepts and ideas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shapes, sizes, and proportions.
  • Refining the design: Once you have a few ideas, refine your character design by considering the character’s age, gender, culture, and background. Think about how these factors will influence their appearance and behavior.

By following these steps, you can develop a solid concept for your character design that will guide you throughout the design process.

2. Creating a Design

a. Sketching the Character

When it comes to creating a character, sketching is a crucial step in the process. Sketching allows you to explore different design ideas and experiment with different styles. It’s also a great way to get a sense of the character’s personality and what they might look like. When sketching, it’s important to focus on the character’s overall shape, proportions, and movement. Don’t worry too much about making the sketch perfect – the goal is to get a sense of the character’s overall design.

b. Creating a Model Sheet

Once you have a basic idea of what your character looks like, it’s time to create a model sheet. A model sheet is a detailed drawing of the character that includes all of their key features, such as their body shape, facial features, and clothing. The model sheet serves as a reference for the rest of the character design process and helps ensure that the character stays consistent throughout the project. When creating a model sheet, it’s important to pay close attention to the character’s proportions and to make sure that all of their features are properly scaled.

c. Finalizing the Design

After creating a model sheet, it’s time to finalize the character design. This involves refining the character’s overall look and making any necessary adjustments to ensure that they look and feel consistent. It’s also important to consider how the character will fit into the story and what role they will play. The final design should be unique and memorable, while also fitting seamlessly into the story and world you’ve created.

In conclusion, creating a character design involves several key steps, including sketching, creating a model sheet, and finalizing the design. By following these steps and paying close attention to detail, you can create a unique and memorable character that will bring your story to life.

3. Refining the Character

a. Analyzing Feedback

Analyzing feedback is a crucial step in refining your character design. It allows you to identify areas that need improvement and make necessary changes. When analyzing feedback, it’s important to consider both the positive and negative comments. Positive feedback can help you understand what aspects of your character design are working well, while negative feedback can highlight areas that need improvement.

It’s also important to consider the source of the feedback. If the feedback comes from someone with experience in character design, it may be more valuable than feedback from someone who has little experience in the field. However, it’s important to remember that all feedback is valuable and can help you improve your character design.

Once you’ve received feedback, it’s important to take the time to carefully consider it and make any necessary changes. This may involve revising your character design or starting from scratch.

b. Iterating on the Design

Iterating on your character design is an important part of the refining process. It involves making changes to your design based on feedback and your own thoughts and ideas. When iterating on your design, it’s important to stay true to your original vision while also making improvements.

One effective way to iterate on your character design is to create multiple versions of your character and compare them. This can help you identify which version of your character is the most effective and which aspects of your design need the most work.

It’s also important to remember that iteration is a process that may involve multiple revisions. Don’t be afraid to make changes and try new things until you are satisfied with your character design.

c. Polish and Final Touches

Once you’ve refined your character design, it’s time to add the finishing touches. This may involve adding details to your character’s appearance, such as clothing or accessories, or developing their personality and backstory.

It’s important to take the time to polish your character design and ensure that it is as strong as it can be. This may involve seeking feedback from others or taking a break from your design to come back to it with fresh eyes.

In conclusion, refining your character design is an important part of the character design process. By analyzing feedback, iterating on your design, and adding the finishing touches, you can create a strong and effective character that will bring your story to life.

Character Design Principles and Best Practices

1. Balance and Proportion

a. Symmetry and Asymmetry

  • Symmetry refers to the balance of parts on either side of a central axis. This can create a sense of stability and harmony in a character design.
  • Asymmetry, on the other hand, involves creating an imbalance of parts, which can create a sense of movement and dynamism in a character design.

b. The Golden Ratio

  • The golden ratio is a mathematical ratio that is found in many natural forms and is believed to be aesthetically pleasing to the human eye.
  • In character design, applying the golden ratio can create a sense of balance and harmony in the proportions of the character’s body parts.

c. Proportion and Scale

  • Proportion refers to the relative size of different parts of the character’s body.
  • Scale refers to the size of the character in relation to their environment.
  • It is important to consider both proportion and scale when designing a character to ensure that they look believable and realistic within their world.

2. Character Archetypes

When creating a character, it’s essential to understand the various archetypes that exist. These archetypes can serve as a guide to help you develop a well-rounded and relatable character. In this section, we will explore three common character archetypes: The Hero, The Villain, and The Sidekick.

a. The Hero

The Hero is often the protagonist of the story and is typically the character that the audience will root for. This archetype is often associated with traits such as bravery, selflessness, and a strong sense of justice. The Hero’s journey often involves overcoming obstacles and challenges to achieve their goals.

b. The Villain

The Villain is the antagonist of the story and is typically the character that the audience will love to hate. This archetype is often associated with traits such as power, greed, and a lack of empathy. The Villain’s journey often involves manipulating and deceiving others to achieve their goals.

c. The Sidekick

The Sidekick is a character that supports the Hero and often serves as a confidant or mentor. This archetype is often associated with traits such as loyalty, wisdom, and a willingness to help others. The Sidekick’s journey often involves supporting the Hero and helping them overcome challenges.

By understanding these character archetypes, you can create well-rounded and relatable characters that will resonate with your audience. Whether you’re designing a Hero, a Villain, or a Sidekick, it’s important to consider the traits and motivations that define each archetype.

3. Cultural Diversity and Sensitivity

When designing a character, it’s important to consider cultural diversity and sensitivity. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

a. Researching Different Cultures

To create a culturally diverse and sensitive character, it’s important to do your research. This means learning about different cultures, their customs, beliefs, and traditions. You can read books, watch documentaries, and talk to people from different cultures to gain a better understanding.

b. Avoiding Stereotypes

It’s important to avoid stereotypes when creating a culturally diverse character. Stereotypes can be harmful and perpetuate negative stereotypes about certain cultures. Instead, try to create a well-rounded character that is unique and individual.

c. Seeking Feedback from Diverse Audiences

Before finalizing your character design, it’s important to seek feedback from diverse audiences. This can help you identify any potential cultural insensitivity and make necessary changes. You can seek feedback from people of different cultures, or consult with experts in the field.

Overall, creating a culturally diverse and sensitive character requires research, sensitivity, and a willingness to listen to feedback. By following these guidelines, you can create a character that is authentic and respectful to all cultures.

Character Design Career Paths and Opportunities

1. Freelance Character Designer

a. Building a Portfolio

As a freelance character designer, it is crucial to have a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and abilities. Your portfolio should include a variety of different types of characters that you have designed, including illustrations, sketches, and digital art. It is important to make sure that your portfolio is well-organized and easy to navigate, with clear labels and descriptions for each piece of work.

One way to build your portfolio is to create your own personal projects. This can include designing characters for imaginary worlds, creating character concepts for books or movies, or even designing characters for your own original stories. Personal projects allow you to showcase your creativity and demonstrate your skills as a character designer.

Another way to build your portfolio is to participate in character design contests and challenges. These can be found online and offer opportunities to showcase your work to potential clients and employers. Participating in these contests can also help you to network with other character designers and build connections in the industry.

b. Finding Clients and Jobs

Once you have built a strong portfolio, the next step is to find clients and jobs. There are a variety of ways to find work as a freelance character designer, including:

  • Networking: Attend industry events and conferences, join online communities and forums, and connect with other character designers and professionals in the field. Building relationships and making connections can lead to job opportunities and referrals.
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share your work and connect with potential clients. Make sure to use relevant hashtags and engage with other character designers and industry professionals.
  • Online Job Boards: There are a variety of online job boards and marketplaces where clients post job listings for character design work. Some popular sites include Upwork, Freelancer, and 99designs.

c. Networking and Self-Promotion

Networking and self-promotion are key aspects of success as a freelance character designer. It is important to constantly be promoting your work and making connections in the industry. Attend industry events, participate in online communities, and use social media to share your work and connect with potential clients.

Additionally, it is important to be proactive in seeking out new opportunities and making connections. Reach out to potential clients and employers, and be open to collaborating with other character designers and professionals in the field. Building a strong network and promoting your work can lead to more job opportunities and help you to establish yourself as a successful freelance character designer.

2. In-House Character Designer

a. Working for a Studio or Company

An in-house character designer is a professional who works for a studio or company to create and develop characters for various media, such as animation, video games, comics, and more. They are responsible for bringing the company’s vision to life and ensuring that the characters are appealing and engaging to the target audience.

b. Collaborating with Other Creatives

In-house character designers often work in a collaborative environment, partnering with writers, directors, and other artists to create a cohesive and compelling story. They may work closely with animators, concept artists, and other designers to ensure that the characters are consistent across different media and platforms.

c. Advancing Your Career

Working as an in-house character designer can be a rewarding career path for those who are passionate about creating memorable and engaging characters. With experience and skill, designers can advance their careers by taking on more challenging projects, leading teams, and mentoring junior designers. Many in-house character designers also have the opportunity to attend industry events, workshops, and conferences to network and learn from other professionals in the field.

3. Character Design Teacher and Mentor

a. Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

As a character design teacher and mentor, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with others who are interested in the field. This can involve teaching courses or workshops, providing private tutoring, or creating online tutorials and resources. By sharing your skills and experience, you can help others develop their own character design abilities and further the growth of the industry.

b. Teaching Others to Design Characters

Teaching others to design characters can be a rewarding experience, both for you and for your students. As a character design teacher, you can help your students develop their technical skills, creativity, and understanding of the design process. You can also introduce them to industry standards and practices, and help them develop a portfolio that showcases their abilities.

c. Mentoring Aspiring Character Designers

Mentoring aspiring character designers can be a valuable way to give back to the industry and help the next generation of designers succeed. As a mentor, you can provide guidance and support to individuals who are just starting out in their careers, helping them navigate the industry and develop their skills. This can involve providing feedback on their work, connecting them with potential employers or clients, and sharing your own experiences and insights. By mentoring others, you can help shape the future of character design and ensure that the industry continues to thrive.


1. Where can I design a character?

There are many places where you can design a character, including online character creation tools, character design software, and even just using a pen and paper. Some popular online character creation tools include Character Creator, HeroForge, and Make Your Own Superhero. These tools allow you to customize a wide range of characteristics for your character, such as their physical appearance, personality traits, and backstory.

2. What tools do I need to design a character?

The tools you need to design a character will depend on the method you choose. If you’re using online character creation tools, you’ll need access to a computer or mobile device with internet access. If you’re using character design software, you’ll need to download and install the software on your computer. If you’re creating your character using pen and paper, you’ll need a writing utensil and paper.

3. How do I get started designing my character?

To get started designing your character, begin by thinking about the type of character you want to create. Consider their personality traits, physical appearance, and backstory. Then, choose the method you want to use to create your character and gather the necessary tools. If you’re using online character creation tools, follow the prompts to customize your character’s appearance and traits. If you’re using character design software, use the tools to create your character’s appearance and then add details such as personality traits and backstory. If you’re creating your character using pen and paper, start by sketching out a rough draft of your character’s appearance and then add details such as personality traits and backstory.

4. How long does it take to design a character?

The amount of time it takes to design a character will depend on the complexity of the character and the method you’re using to create them. If you’re using online character creation tools, it may only take a few minutes to create a basic character. If you’re using character design software, it may take longer to create a more detailed character. If you’re creating your character using pen and paper, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the level of detail you want to include.

5. Can I make changes to my character after I’ve designed them?

Yes, you can make changes to your character after you’ve designed them. If you’re using online character creation tools, you can often go back and edit your character’s appearance and traits. If you’re using character design software, you can save your character’s design and make changes to it later. If you’re creating your character using pen and paper, you can erase or change parts of your character’s design and add or change details such as personality traits and backstory.

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