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?