Creating Your Own Cartoon Character

TBTCartoon

Drawing by Heather Ledbetter

One of the hardest things to do when you want to create your own comic series is to come up with the character (or characters). The possibilities are endless, which means your journey is often going to be a long one to discover your perfect character design.

To begin, I recommend creating a folder or portfolio of characters that you love from popular cartoons, comic strips, and books. Ask yourself what features draw you to those characters? Is it the way the eyes are drawn, or is it the silly proportions? Start to compile a list of character styles that you enjoy looking at.

Next comes the sketchbook. Start drawing! Compile sketches of different feature combinations like big hands on skinny arms, small eyes set in a big head, realistic versus plain eyes. Doing a variety of combinations will help you start to eliminate the things that don’t work for you.

Once you come up with the basic concept for your character, start doing sketches of the character in different poses and positions. When drawing a comic you have to be able to give your character some amount of movement and expression, so practice creating movement and different angles of your character.

When you’re confident in your ability to “animate” your character, you can start doing the detail work. Smooth out your lines and decide on your final color palette. You can also decide on the environment your character will live in and how much effort you want to put into the surroundings.

Once your character comes to life, the only thing left to do is start telling their story!

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