Drawing Tips | The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories

- Tip -

Creating a character using simple shapes


How do we, the creators of stories, design characters for them?

When designing a character for a story, it’s important to stay consistent so that the character becomes easily recognizable from one illustration to the next. This is one of the challenges of story illustration:  consistency.

The best way to go about creating a consistent character is boiling your character down to very simple shapes—shapes that you can easily imagine from many different angles. We want to work with circles, squares, rectangles and triangles and use these shapes to create a sort of basic skeleton for the character.

Step  One: Notice how the figure is constructed from simple circular, rectangular and triangular shapes. This will be her “skeleton.”


Step Two:  I’m adding in some basic shading for hair, clothes and shoes. Keep it simple!


Step three:  Now I am adding in details, and, in doing this, I reshape a bit of my skeleton to give more shape to the body.  I also add a few touches to give the character some personality!


And, here’s one more secret to character design.  When choosing the simple shapes for your character, work with shapes that match the personality of your character. Happy and friendly characters can be constructed from round shapes, as round shapes are more inviting.  A wicked witch, on the other hand, might be made from triangular shapes, as these shapes signal danger.  (Speaking of witches, Scoble did some tips on witches that you might also want to see!  witches-for-the-waking-prince)

Give this method a try and see how your character comes out!  Also, if you want to turn your new character to the side, you will want to read this tip…  how-do-you-turn-a-character-sideways

—By Valkiri

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The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories