5 Steps in Character Design

5 Steps in Character Design

I had a few art commissions already particularly in character concepts and designs. I did not have the privilege to go into an art school to draw, but this came down from hobby and self study online. There’s actually a lot of free stuff with regards to drawing. Two of my favorites are from Ctrl+Paint and Feng Zhu Design. Both of these links does not really focus on creating a character design. But both teach on the fundamentals of creating one.

As for my workflow, it’s not that perfect, but it’s what I used when creating character designs. It’s just about just 5 steps:

  • Sketch

During this phase, I comfortably just let my hand flow, and have a really graceful sketching, I usually use reference materials from Pinterest, Google, etc., to establish the foundation for the art.

  • Line Art

Once, I’m satisfied with my sketch, I clean the what we called, the line-art, so that I could clearly see the details, for me, this is the most time-consuming part, cause this takes a lot of thinking, especially when coming up with details. This phase also is where I re-iterate from sketch to the clean line-art.

  • Flats

Actually, I only learned this term from my Artists friend, when I had the privilege to work on a somehow “Art and Game company.” So what flats mean, is to put in the base or “flat” colors for the character, so that’s why maybe it’s called flats. (I’ll make this one my assignment)

  • Shading

For me, this is my favorite part, cause, I can usually just do shading and listen to music or podcasts simultaneously. This phase I can free my mind and have fun coloring and shading. From time-to-time, I usually look in reference materials also.

  • Effects

Last phase is the effects or shall I say polishing, In this phase I add in glow effects. Sometimes I cheat by adding an image effect like fire, flare etc. and just paint-over it to match the character. This way it saves me time and allow me to cycle through different effects.

I know there are more phases that other artists use or other technicalities, but somehow it boils down on what workflow best fit for you. Having this steps just allow you to have a clear progression of your work, and this is important if you have a deadline or you work with someone.

So if you ever want to start drawing for character design, I thought this video might be a great resource. Or if you want to have a character design from me, you can request for art commission here


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