Characters – you’ll find them in comics, storybooks and fairytales as manifestations of imagination. Beyond that, elements like anatomy, expressions and plot are key in making a character appear realistic and relatable, believes character designer Aditya Chari. He explains the realistic principles one must incorporate while creating a character.
The Story Catalyses a Character
It’s important to know the story before giving shape to a character. After all, the purpose of every character is to tell a story. The story is built around their strengths and limitations. The props help them overcome their limitation and move the story forward. Next, figure out the role of the character in the story and layer your vision on top of it.
When you get content describing a character, you actually narrow down the choices and attain a more focused approach. This makes it easier to plan your character. However, when you work on your own conceptual art, there is no fixed direction. And you have to take the idea in your mind and put it down as a building block for the design. After that, let your intuition take over.
It’s All in The Face
Facial expressions are most important when it comes to character designing. The eyes best convey the expressions, especially when in a close-up. The hands and the spine dictate the posture of the body, magnifying the emotion you try to convey through the facial expression. The expression is a window into the character’s mindset. Therefore, if you want people to relate and accept your characters, you need to design them to be expressive.
Exaggerate What Anatomy Allows
When you are trying to draw from life or memory, your knowledge of anatomy is your main tool. You learn to look out for the landmarks on the body which help you put down your figure faster. Moreover, it helps you foreshorten the figure and also dress it up where the underlying body is not visible. Anatomy helps you understand mobility and the function of muscles. Muscles look different when they are relaxed and when they are contracted.
Exaggeration is just an adaptation of muscle and bone structure to the characteristics of the concept you wish to develop. This depends on what you expect the character to do when playing its role in the story. Characters like Popeye with huge forearms, Hulk with massive overgrown muscles or disfigured creatures from visual effects films, all fit into the same skeletal and musculature structure.
Know the Difference Between Muscle and Mental Strength
While working with characters that are either male or female, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two. Apart from the obvious physical differences, you need to bring forth the emotional difference too. Imagine combining the physical frailty of a woman with a very determined look when facing a larger than life scenario.
You have to make her look strong but at the same time maintain her feminine side. It’s about her mental strength. On the contrary, a male character would be more about robust physical posing and an exaggerated angry expression with throbbing veins and a muscular built. Even the design of clothing has a different approach for each type just as in real life.