Analyzing the Problem and Breaking It Down into Simpler Elements

When you initially analyze the problem or end goal, you will look at the whole and start breaking it into manageable sections that are easily resolved. Most of these manageable sections are questions that you must answer before proceeding with the design phase.

Coming Up with Ideas to Solve the Problem

For the majority of artists, this is one of the best parts of the whole character-design process. The process of generating ideas is a combination of the visual, mental, and written. Without good ideas, you have nothing.

When you have solved all of the smaller problems, combine their solutions into larger ideas that all will solve the original problem. You should be able to come up with several different but acceptable solutions. The differences between the solutions may seem small and hardly significant, yet the more ideas you come up with, the greater your chance of hitting on a good idea.

Choosing the Best Idea

This is the tricky part. How do you tell what the best idea is? To a large degree, you will know simply by looking at your work. Some of your ideas will obviously be bad, and they will be easy to spot. After you have picked a few of the best, turn to a fresh eye so that you can narrow down the field of potential solutions. A coworker, friend, or even the art director will have a fresh perspective and should be able to give you good advice. Make sure that whomever you turn to will not patronize you and say how wonderful all of the ideas are; rather, you want that person to give you a true critique of how well the individual ideas have solved the problem.

Remember that the first idea is not usually the best; it is usually the most obvious one. Yet, if after much work, the first idea still seems to be the best, do not hesitate to go back to it.

Drawing the Character

This is the best part. Most artists find that there is nothing better than sitting down and drawing the day away. This is the reward for all of your hard preliminary work, and if you have successfully followed the first steps outlined earlier, you will know right where to go with the drawing.

Evaluating the Results

If all goes well, here is where you get the compliments and inflated ego. Your work will be loved, appreciated, and pivotal to the success of the project. If things do not go as well, don’t be disheartened; sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t. This final evaluation of your work is often the hardest part.

Have no doubt that the client will evaluate if your character design succeeded and fits his needs .  Do not be afraid of failure, and do not take failure personally. You will succeed and you will fail at various times and on various projects. If what you have done does not work, go back to step one and start again. As the old saying goes, “Success is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration.

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