DrSunshine’s School of Character Design
It’s less a matter of what things to include so much as what to avoid. Follow these simple admonitions, and you’ll be sure to create characters that are, at the very least, not unappealing (to me).
When designing a character, please avoid the following:
- Pointless frou-frou and accessories.
- Details that are just meant to be “quirky” to show how unique and special the character is.
- Gigantic, overcomplicated, decorative weapons.
- Clothing that would be uncomfortable, impossible, or unnatural to move around in.
- Clothing that no sane person would want to wear in reality.
- Egregiously flashy colors on a character whose personality or job is meant to be low-key.
- Drawing a perfectly distinct outline around the breasts of a female character who is wearing a shirt.
- Ruffles, lace, ribbons, strings, fishnet, veils, scarves, belts, and various other miscellaneous dangly bits on a character meant to be engaged in strenuous physical activities.
When designing a character, please do ask yourself the following:
- "If I was them, what kind of clothes would I wear?"
- "Would this make sense, or am I just putting this here because it appeals to me?"
- "What is the purpose of this item? What does it say about the character’s choices?"
- "How does this character maintain their appearance over time? What do they do when the weather changes?"
- "How do they go to the bathroom?"
By following these simple, basic rules, you can avoid such common pitfalls as “looking like an idiot who watched too many cartoons and read too many comic books” and “unwittingly creating and subsequently getting emotionally invested in a Mary Sue”.