The role of a character designer is a combination of a graphic artist, an illustrator, and an animator. While it is not an easy job, it is one of the high-rating and demanding jobs in the industry.
A character designer is responsible for creating the personality and the appearance of an avatar, whether it’s for a video game or an animation production.
In a traditional setup, the animators and game designers are assigned to take care of all the characters inside a game or an animation. However, in both video games and animation productions, few characters must be polished and emphasized because of their essential roles in the story/game.
So, you are willing to take your shot into becoming a character designer in the game industry. There are lots of opportunities that await you, and your love for animation will surely make you love this job as well.
But before you break into the character designing industry, you must be first knowledgeable of how to become a character designer.
Here are the following tips that will take you to step by step into becoming a character designer.
Get to know your audience.
Before you create a character, it’s crucial to get to know your target audience first. In the end, they will be the ones to judge if your character design is good or not. It is not the modeler or the art director you will chase upon the taste of, but the audience. For instance, if your target audience is young adults in their 20s for a comic series, then whimsical, colorful characters wouldn’t get much attention. For this range of target audiences, realistic characters are more appealing.
Present original designs.
If your goal is to become one of the best character designers in the industry, you shouldn’t be taking after what is done before and then creating your own version. Create new ideas. Don’t be afraid to try things that no one has ever done. Present something new. Only then will you be recognized as a highly-skilled character designer because of your creativity.
When it comes to character designing, there are no technicalities and no rules to follow. It’s just you and your imagination to take control of how the character will appear and what its personality going to be like.
Ask for feedback.
Whatever you do, make sure to ask for feedback. There is so much to improve, and if you lock yourself into your little bubble, thinking that all of your ideas and designs are the best, there will never be room for improvement. Senior character designers with more experience can give you wisdom, especially in trying to present new points of view to the audience. Or you can also join a creative community, post your artwork (with watermark, of course) and ask for feedback from your fellow artists.
Do not detach yourself from the real world where other artists are working as well. Ask for their guidance to continually improve your output and be humble when receiving praises or criticisms of your artwork.
Also, avoid asking feedback from people you won’t take after. There are lots of people online who would criticize an artwork when they couldn’t do a concept for themselves. Only accept criticisms from artists you respect and know to lighten the load.
You can’t expect to be one of the leading character designers in the industry if you are not engaged. That being said, passion is an integral part of character designing. If you’re only going to draw when you feel like drawing, you will never go anywhere. However busy you are, take a few minutes to sit down and draw. Draw every day. Ask for feedback, and continually improve.
Never settle for less, especially when you are still learning how to become a character designer. There are lots of techniques that you can learn, lots of styles that you can try, and lots of ideas you have yet to conceptualize. The key is your commitment to learn and be passionate about designing a character.
Aside from that, do not be afraid to try another medium as well. If you’ve been using your computer for work, you should consider drawing using oil paints, acrylic, or watercolor. As mentioned earlier, there is no limit when it comes to character designing.
As much as you are comfortable with the software that you are using in your home when you’re freelancing, know that when you are in the industry, you need to be updated. There is always new software that is designed to decrease the time you spend drawing and designing your characters. You need to be innovative and adapt to these changes.
There are lots of possibilities when you are in the real world, and the companies often prefer character designers who are willing to continually develop their process and improve their art skills in the long run.
Enroll in art classes.
Some companies hire character designers who only have a high school diploma to present. For as long as they could see the potential, they are welcome in the industry. However, if you want to improve the technicalities of your art skills, you should consider enrolling in an art class or any related courses.
A degree that is related to art weighs more in your resume. It also gives you a proper introduction to what character designing is all about. It is crucial, especially if you’ve spent most of your time sitting in front of your computer at home and drawing characters to post in the art community. Proper education can help you a lot, and if you graduate in flying colors, you may even get a recommendation from your professors who saw talent in you.
Lastly, it would help if you never stopped dreaming and being inspired. There are lots of things that you can draw your inspiration into designing characters. The first step is to believe in yourself that you can do it. Your goal is not to impress others, but to impress yourself. If you have to spend five years of your life, just drawing basic figures to improve your artwork, then do so. Criticisms are vital for improvement, but it should never kill your inspirations. Even though sometimes, it can be excruciating to hear, continue doing what you love, and watch your skills grow.
Drawing and designing characters are not just a hobby. It’s a passion, and just like any other passion, it needs to grow and be cultivated. If you want to take the first step on how to become a character designer, you should get up from your couch and start drawing. The possibilities are endless. Start enhancing your skills and never give up on what you love. Soon, you’ll work your way towards the pinnacle of your success.
Hard work pays off, especially when a big company spots you and your original designs. That’s when your career takes off and skyrockets to success. But as of the moment, all you need to do is grab the pen and start drawing.