Now lets get started, we'll start out with proportions. Messing around with the size of your character's body parts in relation to the rest of the body can give your character a different look. If your character is say 6-8 heads tall, you can have a a very stoic, very hero like character, great for a main character. 5-6 still gives you a strong character, but great for secondary or somewhat cuter lead roles, or sidekicks. 5 or fewer heads are good for sort of comical characters.
Now onto size. Just because your character may by 8 heads tall or 4 heads tall, it doesn't mean that they are that tall feet wise, you could have an elf who is 7 heads tall who might only stand about 5 feet tall and have a troll next to her who is only 5 heads tall but stands almost as tall as the first story on a building. To help show the actual size of your character, show a bit of surroundings, to express their size in comparison to what is around them.
You also want to understand where your character is coming from. Knowing and understanding where they grew up, how they were raised will help you with things like hairstyle, clothing, skin tone and color, and might even help you create their personality. Say if you have a girl who was raised by dragons, she probably wouldn't be to sociable with other humanoid creatures and would seem frightened or nervous around them. Her clothing would probably be made of cloth or hides and she would probably spend a lot of time in caves or up high in the mountains so her clothing would probably be warm, or she built up a resistance to the cold. Working on a fleshed out character bask story is perhaps one of the most important things you can do when creating your character and I high suggest working on it. Don't worry about doing it out completely, just a bit, it will give your character room to grow.
Decide on a symmetrical design or an asymmetrical one and stick too it. Once you're devoted to one or the other, things start flowing easier. If you want to go with an asymmetrical you can pretty much free form it. However if you want a symmetrical look, I suggest picking up a program called Alchemy. It's free and ti's great for doing rough sketches and it gives you an option called mirror which will pet you do a symmetrical look real easy and you can easily load the image up in photoshop and continue your work from there.
Don't over invest your character design. You can go overboard, and then things start to go bad. Just because some fantasy games do it and make lots of money, it doesn't mean it looks good. Keep it to the point, you don't need all the belts, buckles and zippers. All you need it what it takes to get your point across.
Knowing your character archtype will help you decide more on their design. You could have a wise knight or a young experimenting mage. There are several different types of character you can explore. The Knight, the holy person, mages, demons and more. Think about your character's role and occupation.
There are also different elements that you can add to your character. You can add a animalesc sort of element, making them seem catlike or fish like and giving them features that you might find on an animal...
an organic element where you give them plant like features, such as seaweed for hair, plants growing out of their skin...
or a non-organic element or man made element, robotic or machinery parts suck as robotic limbs or wires from the back of their head that connect them to electrical devices in the area.
Mark your characters to make them stand out from others. Distinctive tattoos and scars on the body can give you both good design features and good things to add to their backstory, telling how they got the scar or why they got a tattoo. For instance, a female has a rough scar from her belly button to her hip. It could be a battle scar, but no, she slipped and slid on a battle cap stuck in the cobbles while she was playing baseball in a back street. Markings help make your character interesting, but once again, don't go overboard like with the clothing, keep it to the point and appropriate to the character story.
Another way to mark your character is with symbols or patterns on their items that they wear or carry on their person. A holy symbol on a tabard or a crest of a lord on a guard's shield help show where a character is from or what sort of deity they worship.
When you're picking colors for your character try to stick to color schemes instead of trying to use every color of the rainbow to deck out tour character in. There are several types of schemes (four of them depicted here for you). There is complimentary, using two colors from opposite sides of the color wheel. Warm color schemes which use colors from the red-orange-yellow side of the color wheel, like the colors you're normally going to see in a fire. Cold which is made up of the green-blue-purple side of the wheel. (There are someplaces where these two schemes overlap which is fine and you can use it to your advantage. Also there are warm and cool versions of grayscale, gray that has a bit of blue or red hint to it). There is sequential, which is when you take three or more colors that go in a row on the color wheel, not necessarily all warm or cold. Then there is triad scheme where you pick three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel.
Don't go overboard with the saturation of your colors. Use faint hints of color to help bring out features of your character.
You can use lighting effects to help you draw the eye to distinctive features, such as a dragon-like face, or mechanical limbs with glowing LED's, eyes that seem to glow in the dark.
Now bring your character's to life, giving them an interesting pose, having them doing something that they would do often, or putting them in a picture that tells a little bit of a story about them.
Now we'll put together a character with the main skills we learned. We're going to make a timid changling (a fae creature) who has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and the arcane arts. She grew up in a high elf society, but because of how changelings are weeded into a group, normally by replacing their babies with the newborns of a society, they are shunned and often hated, causing our character to be wary of what goes on around her. We'll show how timid she is with a defensive pose.
Now we'll flesh her out a bit so we know where her muscles are and to show her pose a little bit better, we'll also map out her face.
Now we'll do a rough sketch of her form, facial features and we'll do a rough sketch of what she is holding. Since she is a fae creature, she will naturally have long ears. In her arms, since she thirsts for knowledge, we'll give her a book. Changelings have very strange eyes. The 'whites' of their eyes are black and normally the rest of the eyes are solid white.
Now we'll give here hair and sketch out her outfit as well. Since she grew up in an elven society and is aspiring to be a mage, she would wear robes that would both be practical, but also show off the features of her torso, sexy but not showing a whole lot off, her belly button showing through the eyelet down the front of the garment. Also she would probably wear gloves because magic can be harmful when practicing.
Now we'll finalize and add a few last details and outline her. I added a title to the book and I also gave her a holy symbol around her neck for a goddess called Senahine, goddess of the moon and change. Also don't forget to shade in the 'whites' of her eyes. Even though we don't have her colored, you can see that she is very defensive and timid. I'm not going to go over coloring her but here are some tips if you want to color. Changelings skin is white like fine stone, making them look almost statue-like, only softer. Their hair normally has a slight tint to it and natural blush and flush looks sort of purple on their skin. They normally wear colors that stand out against their skin color, dark tone like black, blue, and purple. I hope that this tutorial helped you and I wish you much luck on creating your own characters and coming up with great ideas! Don't forget to share them of course, no good in making a character if no one is ever gonna see them!
Here you have it. All sorts of tools, tips and techniques to help you create a character that is all your own, unique to you and your story. Every element that you need to get you started and see you through it right here for you disposal.
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