To help aspiring animation artists who are designing characters for the APW Character Design Contest, we asked animation professionals – former APW students and friends working in the animation biz to add their character design pointers in the Pro-Tips series.  Pro-Tip #2 comes from APW grad, Vancouver B.C. character designer Nate Gaul Senior Artist at Jump Start Games.

When designing a character it is important to understand the visual language.  An ideal way to accomplish this is to gather reference images.

For an example let’s pretend I have been tasked with designing an elderly reptilian merchant who loves to eat mice.  I would want to make sure I am familiar with the necessary visual language.  What do merchants look like?  What makes someone look old?  What makes a reptile look like a reptile?  What do mice look like?

Pro-Tip #2 Reference Images 1 Pro-Tip #2 Reference Images 2 Pro-Tip #2 Reference Images 3
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