I made a post about a year ago concerning thoughts about design, and thought it was about time I make another.
There are so many things to talk about which affect how we view a character. It isn't as simple as big versus little- there needs to be a reason for that conflict, a definition for what makes it extraordinary instead of ordinary. I decided for this post I would focus on one aspect of design and expand on it.
In nature, everything is constructed for function. It does not design simply to make something look beautiful- there's a purpose for everything, and any feature that lacks a use becomes a burden.
The greatest difference between natural selection and character design is what side each approaches from. Nature approaches all things from the outside and selects features based on outward situations. Everything depends on environment- the more harsh the atmosphere, the more specialized the organism. Personality, though present, is not of importance unless it serves a benefit to the organism's survival.
Character design takes the opposite approach. As artists, we enjoy working from the inside out. We ask ourselves "Who is this character?", and based on the answer we begin drawing. The character's psychology is what determines their anatomy instead of the physical situation.
Both methods produce successful characters for their reasons. However, the best character designers are able to take both elements and use them to play off each other.
I will continue this thought later, but I wanted to end this post with a question: When drawing, do you start with the shape first, or the personality/story for the character?
For myself, I tend to work with shapes first. I look for something that looks interesting and enjoy creating a world based on that character's quirks and shapes. These shapes tell me exactly what the character is thinking and what he/she has gone through.
Thanks for reading,