Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: How To Become An Expert Character Designer

How To Become An Expert Character Designer

Becoming an expert character designer might sound pretty challenging.
However, we have written several checklists of how you can become one. Let's find out!
Created by Vago |

Graphic design has a pretty vast major and job. One particular job that is quite loved yet limited is the character designer. As the name says, the job mainly focuses on visualizing and creating the look of individuals. In many cases, expert creator work for character creation will do the projects under the description given by the director. 

However, at the same time, creators also work by taking inspiration from concept art or script. The particular way to create individuals is to connect personality, characteristics, and detail through the project. However, being an expert character designer itself is not as easy as you thought. 

Brittany Myers, who is working as the designer in the Netflix animation Over the moon, says that there are not a lot of jobs available. It makes the competition very fierce. However, there are always ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Being an expert will take time, but at least these ideas can help you step up your character designer career.  


How To Step Up Your Game 

1. Do Some Experiment 

Many people consider the career only focuses on doodling and drawing. But in fact, their job is more than that. You can also say that graphic designers, in general, are secret scientists. They need to do a lot of research and experiment to find the best formula for their project. It also happens for those who work creating the individual in animation or film. 

Character designers need to take a lot of consideration before doing the job. At first, an expert character designer will experiment with many possible designs. They create a person based on the film style, the imagination, the concept, and many more. In other words, understanding the film style will help the experimenting process.  

However, the takeaway from this case is to take a little moment or scene of the film or the project. Reading or knowing the whole story will only waste time. And it is something that every expert modeler needs to avoid. So, a single or two scenes should be enough to learn about the proper style. Again, researching and experimenting are both the fundamentals of a designer. 

In this part, there is nothing called final. Due to the limited information about the film, character designers can either miss or hit the jackpot. Experts can start to illustrate the individual from the script. However, it is also vital to make the design look dynamic. In this case, experimenting with many poses other than the regular standing position will be perfect. 

But again, the poses also need to capture some of the detail about the character's personality. How to do so? The best example is to make a posing position in front of a mirror, which helps tell a proud personality. You can also sketch an observing sitting position that shows doubt. A frantic running or fun jumping help accentuate the cheerful personality. 

After creating some character design, the creator will present it to the team to earn more feedback. If you want to be an expert character designer, make sure you take note of every detail to make improvements to the role. This process can take months to eventually get the best design. The key to this idea is to shed your ego and follow the details. 

Created by Foreal Studio |


2. Observe people 

To be an expert, you need a long experience and practice. But you have a range of options and ways to learn. The good thing about creating or designing characters is that they tend to has humans-nature. So, when one creates a creature for film or anything, they are bound to design with a human-like personality. That is why many people or young creators practice by observing people. 

The main point to be an expert is to master pose and gesture. It is not an easy point to nail because there are many poses and gestures humans can make. In this case, doing a people-watch can help to add a lot of material for the practice. Technique-wise, expert character designers already had plenty of practice to nail it. 

But in this case, a newbie can go around to capture people's movement in a static drawing. The idea and practice are one of the many art school practices. The practice forces the designer to observe many dancers or children models that keep moving and would not stop moving. It is a challenge that every expert designer has to do. 

The idea is that a character needs to be able to convey feelings. And one way to do it is by using expression, pose, and body language. That is why you need to make designs more than just a static standing pose. Expert designers can add objects to interact to enhance the action. Thus, you have to increase the pose and body language. 

Another point that character designers need to learn is that shapes and lines will also tell personality. It takes quite a lot of practice to nail. But it is something that one has to study and exercise to become an expert character designer. Capturing people's movement also helps the creator to focus on the feeling.  

Created by 一粒 FAFA |


3. Determine The Target

To be an expert in creating individuals, one needs to know who is the target audience. Again, designers need to learn, observe, and research about the project beforehand. It is pretty much vital since the design for children will be far way different for adults. At some point, it also affects the expert's decision to choose the fundamental design elements such as color or shapes. 

The best example is the bright and basic color for children's movies. However, most of the time, the audience is predetermined by the project. Even though the target is determined, expert character designers still need to do proper exploration for the product. It mostly happens to commissioned character designers. 

The experts in the project mostly have specific needs to do their things. It is something that every expert needs to learn the hard way. Working as a creator for a project tends to force the designer to work in a more restrictive but no less creative environment. Some of the details might include core features and personality, such as eyes, face, body shapes, or costume. 

Created by Mad Kobra |


4. Shaping Personality 

There are a lot of restrictions, but to be an expert graphic designer, one should focus on personality. One way that can help shape personality is shaped. When you have to create more than just an individual, a different shape will accentuate their personality. It is one of the fundamentals of visual communication, which appears in the form of shapes. 

For example, you can try to make an individual with edges and angular shapes to tell the more grounded or scientific personality. Expert designers again need to understand how the shape, color, and gesture complement each other. It is because every shape or line has a particular perception and meaning. But again, no rule cannot be broken. 

The sense of using shapes and rounder design will also make a great free personality. Designers can also complement the shape's decision by designing other minor individuals. Many expert creators call this large individual modeling crowd work. While there are not many character designers who prefer crowd work, you can learn a lot from it. 

The use of shapes in the crowd work can help people to understand the meaning. It is something that designers need to take as a study and experiment opportunity. It can help complete the whole picture and tell how important your main character is. That is why expert modelers tend to make background actors, and the extra looks different than the main. 

Created by BestPixels |


5. Don't Lose Your Magic 

Does the design look realistic? The answer is no. It goes back again to the project style. At some point, an expert designer has to follow the hard-line or the predetermined design. If the project wants to make an individual and setting, so it is what it is. But the point of don't lose your magic is not only about a fictional model but also about your idea. 

At the beginning of the process, most experts start with a sketch. Most of the time, graphic designers will gradually follow the feedback to alter the original idea. However, you should not lose the magic you have created beforehand. Underline that your original ideas were made by capturing almost every essence of the role. 

The key to nailing this idea is to not get caught up in the details. Expert character designers should comply and communicate the design. It is better if designers start with loose sketches that allow a lot of poses, movement, flow, and acting. As the process and altering are done, the design will eventually lose dynamic. But it also offers ranges of improvement. 

Created by Cabeza Patata Studio |


6. Make A Distinctive Character

There is a point when character designers have a more distinctive characteristic than others. To fight and become an expert, the idea will help you a lot to stand in the competitive market. The idea of creating a distinctive model itself does not always have to be new. At some point, you can make some alterations in the common or similar creations out there. 

Why so? Character designers have a lot of competitive markets. Meanwhile, there are restricted ideas in society. Being held in this limitation, making a unique visual sense make experts' creators different from others. It can be color, shapes, key focus, items, or model. In this case, the best example is the bright yellow skin in The Simpsons. 

Created by LY Wang |


7. Build Up Back Story  

Is it enough? There are many more aspects that separate average and expert character designers. One of them is the back story. Not many designers consider this idea, especially for those who are working on a project. Design for some projects such as animation or comics needs a back story to build up its personality. 

It is also a key aspect that helps the individual look alive. That is why expert designers can build up some back scenarios such as what kind of life-changing event changes them, where they come from, the experience, the belief, and anything. Again, character design will look more complete if you are not only creating a doodle. 

At some point, expert modelers can make a very thorough back story to support the current design. Maybe you use white hair due to mischief or bipolar personality. Your character design will have purpose and meaning. This point can turn into a fun development, which helps to build and create the proper character design.

To help you nail the idea, many expert designers advise others to learn from the story. It works the best to nail or create the essence of the character. It also helps the creator to think about certain situations to build up the character. The story also benefits developing emotion in the design. It eventually provides more ideas for the details and scenarios. 

Created by Hugo Cuellar |


8. Create The Character

There is nothing wrong with a failed project. Tons of expert character designers worked on various projects but never reached the screen. The idea is that you need to do your best to finalize the character design and think about how it changes once generated on the computer. It can be something that is way too different from your initial design. 

It is also considered to check about the possibility of 2D drawing or 3D generation. Character designers need to know things that may not work or work for the project. It takes a lot of time to figure it out, but experts consider this to make them secure the deal. Again, it is something technical-wise and practical. 

Another point that you need to consider as a graphic designer is the range of characters. Failing the main role is not the end. Some expert workers contribute to a small portion of animation projects, such as crowd work. If you get the chance to do it, make sure you learn and take the opportunity to do the best. 

Working with crowd work design itself is not easy to do. You are a designer in charge of creating tons and tons of different characters. The key point of crowd work is to toil with ranges of race, gender, and body type. It might sound simple, but character designers need skills to nail the expert's challenge. 

Created by Max Bzdr |


9. Make It 3d

If you want to be an expert character designer, try to do more than just one model. 2d drawing is the fundamental knowledge and skill every expert designer should master. After doing more than just enough, you can try to build it in 3D. The idea is to study more about 3D graphics that are way different from 2D character design. 

At the same time, it also helps you learn more about the possibility of nailing the 3D project. What makes the idea unique and great to try is that designers have to work with height, physical shapes, and weight. At some point, experts that work with 3D projects can also widen their market to toy modeling. 

But doesn't it need more study time and money? The good thing is that many programs allow expert creators to convert their work into three dimensions. It is also pretty much a new practical skill. If you are lucky, some expert art schools or academies also give the students practice to learn 3D modeling. 

Created by Sedryung Hong |


10. Building Up Portfolio

The portfolio is your gate to secure a job. The idea is, to be honest and make sure you put your work in the portfolio. Many expert designers out there secure animation or project deals due to the mesmerizing character design. They build a good portfolio and post it online for the public. 

This kind of action opens the chance for experts to be found by the project creator. The best way to piling up your portfolio is to post online. You can check out other character designer portfolios to learn what they include, the structure, and how they do it. It is also a good idea to look at movie books for a more attractive character design portfolio.

The portfolio itself is also a great option to tell your capabilities. Many expert character designers use portfolios to show specialist or all-rounder abilities. They can include some other artwork, including environment, visual development, and storyboard design. Character modeler can also show off their job and capabilities on the internet. 

Try to include every project or design, not only the finished one. Another point that every character designer needs to know is that they have to work fast. Designers will work on more than just one character and pose. That is why experts tend to show their progress, the references, and how they ended with the mesmerizing character design. 

Created by Sedryung Hong |


Final Words

Working as a character creator is not a smooth sailing career. It is full of challenges that force one to step up their game and make more effort. To fight in the competitive market, one should do more and be an expert. They need to practice a lot, play around with the design, and build up a stellar portfolio to show off in the market. It works with passion and persistence.

Related Articles

The Most Updated Logo Design Trends in 2024 - Kreafolk

The Most Updated Logo Design Trends in 2024

The Beginner's Guide to Illustrate a Children's Book - Kreafolk

The Beginner's Guide to Illustrate a Children's Book

30 Best Viking Tattoo Ideas You Should Check - Kreafolk

30 Best Viking Tattoo Ideas You Should Check

30 Best Abstract Painting Ideas You Should Check - Kreafolk

30 Best Abstract Painting Ideas You Should Check

30 Aesthetic Desk Setups for Creative Workspace - Kreafolk

30 Aesthetic Desk Setups for Creative Workspace

Nike Logo Design: History & Evolution - Kreafolk

Nike Logo Design: History & Evolution

The Complete Guide to Designing Custom Coffee Bags - Kreafolk

The Complete Guide to Designing Custom Coffee Bags

The Essential Guide to Logo Design Grid Systems - Kreafolk

The Essential Guide to Logo Design Grid Systems

The Psychology of Shapes in Logo Designs - Kreafolk

The Psychology of Shapes in Logo Designs

How To Check If Your Logo Is Unique & Unused - Kreafolk

How To Check If Your Logo Is Unique & Unused

Leave a Comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.