Character Design Ideas: Inspiration for Your Character Design

Are you an illustrator looking for some inspiration for your next character design? Character design is one of the most important aspects of creating a character, as it determines how well your viewers are going to accept and recognize the character and will set the tone for your book, game, or movie. Read on for more tips to help you take your creativity to the next level when it comes to designing and creating characters.

Character Design Ideas

Designing a specific style of character may require different software tools or tricks. Read on for more information about designing anime, cartoon, or fantasy characters.

Anime Character Design

Contrary to popular belief, while they are very closely tied and incorporate some similar design elements, anime and manga are two distinct mediums. Manga are graphic novels or comics printed in black and white that are released in chapters or volumes and are often based on anime. Anime are TV shows or movies that are an animated version of a manga source title. The following are several tips offered by graphic illustrators for creating clean, dynamic anime or manga characters:

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  • This character design relies on spare, clean details. Because of this, jagged lines can detract from the quality of the design. Achieve smooth flowing lines by using your painting software's rotate feature to adjust the angle of the image in order to tackle difficult curves.
  • Because anime is generally presented in color, you need to give consideration to the colors you use. An important part of selecting your palette is determining the mood that you want to convey, but it can also be used to misdirect the audience.
  • Create a silhouette that distinctly represents your character. In anime and manga, there are very few variations in body style for characters beyond gender and hairstyle. These are the areas in which to focus on creating 

Cartoon Character Design

With thousands of cartoon characters in books, television shows, and movies, it takes a lot of creativity to make yours stand out. Here are some ways that graphic illustrators suggest that you focus your efforts to make your cartoon character's design stand out:

  • Keep your original. Most of your characters are going to start with an original sketch. This is often where the very essence of the character is born. Try to keep the magic of that character's essence by sticking to the same drawing style and avoiding trying to clean it up. Additionally, the original character sketch was also likely where the idea for your story started to take shape. Referring back to that image can help keep you in line with your original idea and inspiration.
  • Exaggerate your character's features, particularly those that define specific personality traits. These exaggerated features help your character to appear larger than life.

Fantasy Character Design

The difficulty in designing fantasy characters is making them simultaneously full of magic and wonder as well as completely believable. Here are some tricks to creating the most gripping fantasy characters you can dream up.

  • Remember the human element. Humans are drawn to other humans. Even if you're designing a fantasy character that is an animal or a creature of your own imagination, keeping human characteristics to the eyes and other features will make the character more compelling.
  • If you're creating a character that is part human, part animal, consider the character's personality and the activities that he or she needs to carry out in the story. What is the best type of animal to achieve the character's actions and best aligns with its personality? Think out of the box.

Trust CorelDRAW for Design Inspiration

CorelDRAW and other products in the Corel graphic design family provide the tools you need to create characters that stand out and demand to be noticed. Download a free trial today and start bringing your character ideas to life.

Need to Download CorelDRAW?

Download a Free 15-Day Trial Now!