When pursuing a career in graphic designing, one must know different types of illustration styles and illustration color techniques before taking any big leap. Although there are no hard and fast rules in designing, it is better to know and understand the essential procedures that one has to follow.
The world of animation and cartoons is fascinating. The story, the colourful characters and settings are all captivating. While these are greatly enjoyed by young and old alike, the amount of work that goes behind the scenes are unfathomable. Volumes of creativity, brainstorming sessions and character illustration design process come up with adorable characters and attractive graphics which might look very simple. Some legendary cartoons stand out as proof about the power of this graphic designing industry. So what is the secret behind these impeccable illustrations and picture-perfect animated characters design? Here we have some exciting digital illustration tips and tricks to give you an elaborate idea about character designing
Target Audience: Cartoons or animation films are mostly aimed at children and other young viewers. So it is easier to work around characters using common objects, simple shapes and catchy colours. Although children's illustration character design gives ample space for the designer to explore and experiment, the work is mostly commissioned for any big bannered movie company and the creative team has to greatly depend upon the client’s requirement and according to the character as described in the script. For instance, the popular Sponge Bob had its eyes as the main feature; so the team had their designs revolve around its head.
Character Positioning: In the initial stage, as you decide on the character, you may also have to simultaneously think where it will be placed – the medium, say whether it will be on TV, magazine or mobile phones. This thought helps a great deal in comic book illustration process, since one can accordingly expand or limit the background or foreground layout and additional features. Still, any type of graphic designing work, be it 2d animation or 3d animation involve the same traditional step-by-step procedure one has to follow. Brainstorming ideas, planning, rough work, colour coordination….everything.
Research and References: There are so many animated characters we have been grown up watching to. On the other hand, we come across many kinds of illustrations in our day to day lives. Take note, take references – for, these are great sources of learning and one can try to analyse their plus points and negatives.
Be Unique: With the animation industry bursting with so many cartoon designs, it is very tough to stand out. While one is set out to design character illustration, they have to consider all the existing popular animations, think how one can create a unique anime character which can make an instant impression. Although one might be using a common animal or normal human character to lead the animation, but one has to consider the creative points to make them distinct and very different from the existing ones. Try to play with the colours or body features to attain exclusivity.
Of Lines & Styles: Each line has some significance. Be it thick or thin; a size of line denotes certain feature of the character. In fact, each designer has his/her own style factor while drawing lines or sketching. For example, thin lines hint the character to be gentle or of soft nature while thick lines are to show bold character.
Over the Top: Animation is a fantasy world. No matter how far it is inspired from reality, they are simply a platform for imagination and has larger-than-life influence. So it is not a big deal to make your illustration have some touch of overstatement. Be bold and go ahead to experiment. Make your design exceptional and distinct by adding highly creative features or over the top qualities.
Colour Play: You may be aware that every colour has a meaning when used in different context. Yes, colours have a language of their own. So it is important to choose the colour palette wisely. There are light and darker tones, which one has to use according to the character’s personality. Soft colour shades signify gentle designs while dark ones are imposing. However, certain bright colours might be effectively used to denote valour and bravery.
Eye for Accessory: What makes an animated character stand from the rest, besides its features and colours, are its clothes, accessories or props. These things give additional effect, enhances the quality and it looks visually more convincing. A character becomes fuller and attractive as well as viewers can have more idea about their personality. Say, a queen has glittering crown while a commoner will be moderately dressed. A superhero would have certain attractive props while a giant might have a dangerous looking club.
Dimension Factor: Once you have decided on your characters and layout, the next thought process would be of its format, whether it is going to be in 2D or 3D character design. While on paper the illustration would look appealing, it would be all the more attractive if it has been given an angle or shape if it has to be projected on screens.
Add character personality: What makes a popular character popular? While one would have done elaborate character designs and catchy layout, it needs to have certain type of personality to make it attractive and distinct. Jovial, humble, evil, solemn, villainous or livid… a character needs to have a personality of its own to describe itself to the audience.
Expressions: One of the most attracting features of an animated character is its expressions and the way it emotes on different situations. Along with clothing, accessories and personality, the cartoon needs to be given certain emotions. Expressions reflect the characters feelings and moods. However, we have come across some characters who hardly show emotions; like the popular dog Butch in the Tom and Jerry cartoons, a robust design who is mostly shown angry. Similarly even Donald Duck is known to be a person who is usually annoyed at the drop of the hat.
The Driving Force behind a character: While presenting an animation film, there is very limited time to present a story. It is not possible to explain everything in detail. Especially one cannot elaborate about a character’s personality in full length. It is done in the course of the story. The audience gets acquainted with the characters through the seamless storyline, when they get to know about their dreams, aspirations and motivation. Even adding some flaws or imperfections will bring some life into the character. This is how the ‘action’ or ‘adventure’ builds up and the very purpose of the story is served.
Backup Story: It will be interesting to have a story in the background to make your own anime character more convincing and audience will get to know about it in depth. A backup story is what makes a character and the reason for its being like that. Like, its birth, any past experiences… Everything will boil down to making this all the more fascinating. In some movies, the past is shown running parallel along with the current situation in the story.
Break The Rules: Running your creative juices wild will help great deal in the output. It is completely perfect to go out of the traditional ways to achieve something amazing. In the end, what matters is the quality.
Be flexible and simple: Technology development has come a long way. So has the way designers work. Gone are the days when illustrations were created merely on paper and then gradually moved on to screens using moderate technical equipment. A true artist knows how to bring life in simple drawings with whatever mediums he uses. Similarly, some designers are more comfortable using traditional means of tools rather than computer techniques. In fact, few experts have observed that by using mere pen and paper the results are really amazing than using digital mode.
Take opinions: Taking feedbacks for your work is very essential. By showing your creations to others, you will get to know genuine view about the work. There is always room for improvement, make necessary changes or add features. By showing to certain viewers, one should be able to check if their animation is matching with their audience target.
Right Settings: You may have gone through extensive thought process to come up with an interesting back story. Likewise you need to also work on the current scenario, its locations, surroundings, co-characters and everything related to it. This makes sense - gives a purpose to the story and a lead to denouement.
Make Improvements: No worries if your work is taking excessive time. It is important to keep working towards perfection. Assess your work and try to see how you can improve your character animation and where there is need for improvisation. Have a detailed check of the character; go through each of the character’s elements. Even a small correction or change can have good effect and can make a huge difference in the final results.
Well, with all these brief character design tips, we are sure that you will have a good idea on how to develop a comic design and different things one has to consider while designing an animated story or illustration. We believe that this article will be immensely helpful to digital animators who are especially into illustration for child books or comic strips. Nevertheless if you are still in fix, there are several professional companies into children's book illustration services provision which have customized artwork solutions for every industry requirements.