Author Topic: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist  (Read 5768 times)

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Offline Meadow Whisper (Natasha)

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A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« on: November 15, 2011, 03:47:43 pm »
I saw this post by a talented artist and friend of mine, Genesis Whitmore, and thought it'd be a good thing to have here.  The original post is here, and is transcribed below.

I powwow with artists sometime and during one discussion the subject of people's characters came up. I'm altering the specifics just in case someone is afraid I'm singling them out, but basically it came down to someone loudly insisting their character was unique because they had different colored markings. Their cheetah had blue and purple spots while someone else's cheetah had purple and blue spots.

 I can almost discern the age and creation timeline of someone's character by their appearance these days. A lot of the old guard represent themselves with fairly common characters that resemble their creators. As time went on people started picking more exotic creatures, then we ended up with characters that had wings, multiple tails, horns, then hybrid animals, then exotic colors and more horns and wings and tails and elaborate tattoos and jewelry, and they were no longer known by their creator names. Joe Fox became Steeltalon Dragonwolfen (And if there is a Steeltalon Dragonwolfen, I apologize for taking your name in vain).

 All this is well and good, but one of the problems is that people are creating characters for the sole purpose of them being different with no thought to design. They just want MORE wings, MORE bright colors, MORE words in the name, MORE hybrid.

 One thing I find in common with the really detailed and strange creations is that the creator always has the same complaint about their commissions, “Nobody ever gets my character right!” It's amazing how few people consider that they just have a crazy design that needs to be simplified or changed instead of simply blaming the artist.

 During a livestream I pulled my blotter sheet under the camera view so people could see the mad swatches of color that covered it from me testing the hundreds of colors I use as I work. Then I got a black marker and drew a simple black rectangle next to it. I asked the audience which was more memorable and the answer was the black marking.

 Look at iconic characters from comics and consider how many have very simple color schemes. Their uniforms are 1-3 colors. Some have weird physical characteristics but not all of them. The thing that makes the character unique is what it does and how it acts.

 People are losing sight of what makes a character unique and turning them into impressionist paintings rather than characters. Having spots that are six different colors isn't the thing that will make you stand out, and in the long run it might, in fact, make you more of a complicated mess that nobody really finds that memorable as it gets lost in a sea of sparkledogs.

 Weird colors are fine, wings and horns and other things are fine as well, but remember that more isn't always better, or as memorable.
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 08:49:26 pm »
I saw this post by a talented artist and friend of mine, Genesis Whitmore, and thought it'd be a good thing to have here.  The original post is here, and is transcribed below.


All this is well and good, but one of the problems is that people are creating characters for the sole purpose of them being different with no thought to design. They just want MORE wings, MORE bright colors, MORE words in the name, MORE hybrid.


OH MY GOSH.
This, THIS THIS THIS.
It bugs me TO NO END when people do ridiculous things just to stand out. Speaking in terms of fursonas, apparently they've changed from something representing YOU to WHO CAN BE THE MOST UNIQUE. Hybrids and colors I understand, but do you really identify with a shark-tiger-werehorse? I think not.

Seriously, it's just ridiculous now. I remember an artist awhile back looking for unique species to draw. I entered my ref, jokingly saying, "if you want something unique, how about a platypus?" And this girl who was an ~albino~ platypus commented, saying how hers was OMG ~MORE~ UNIQUE, as she was the "first and ONLY ~albino~ platypus.
Like, really?

Maybe an albino platypus does represent you, I don't know. But no need to rub it in other's faces about how "unique" your fursona is. We all know you're a special snowflake.

Of course, I kinda feel the opposite way, in terms of species, as well...I always find it hard to believe that SO many people identify the most with wolves or foxes.

[edit: Just saw this was a sticky instead of just a general thread ^^; Sorry for ranting so much if that wasn't your intention of this thread]
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 08:55:47 pm by Panda »
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Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 03:28:03 pm »
As always, the MSLT to save the day, docks you 3 points for each of the following:
- Part of the name is a noun.
- Part of the name is an adjective.
- Character is perfectly normal except the color scheme.
- Character's body is more detailed than their clothing.
- Name has at least half as many diacriticals/apostrophes as syllables.

4 points for:
- Part of the name is a body part.
- Character has no clothing - because clothing is less interesting than the characters body.
- Name has more diacriticals/apostrophes than syllables.
- Name includes a celestial body.
- Character is a fashion plate.

I've seen people fail based on name, age, gender, height, and clothing before - and that's just two sections of an 8 section check for sanity. However, that's less important if you just want a character and more and important if eg; you're a writer who wants a decently rounded character.

I really think people need to stop going for "wow" and "my 'sona has better/more/etc than your 'sona" and embrace what they want. And maybe that is what they want, and I'd encourage those people to go ahead and take it - but I find it hard to believe that every single outrageous one I've seen isn't an attempt to either outdo someone else or else be popufur by trying to fit in with other people's insanity.

Yes, I just said popufur. Twice. Deal with it. Or don't and get yourself fur-ious. That's okay too. Last claws - woof woof! :3
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 03:31:00 pm by copb.phoenix »
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 06:08:55 pm »
I fully agree with that post. Simpler designs often make far more memorable and visually pleasing characters. I honestly cringe sometimes when I see people with characters which have absurd colour pallets, which possess wacky accessories, which have strange physical attributes, and which happen to be ridiculously biologically-unfeasible hybrids. I could also say I am somewhat critical of overly bland character which are usually overused species and have little to define them. Really, I think there needs to be a stable balance of both "extraordinary" and "normal" traits to create an interesting character.

Of course, I still believe all members of the fandom should be able to create any types of characters that they wish and I know that this is ultimately just my own personal opinion. But I still think it is fair to politely share your opinion on what you like/dislike about particular fursonas.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 05:31:02 am by Gage »
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Offline Blaidd

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 06:41:09 pm »
I completely agree. I've seen some of the most wackiest 'sonas out there and, you know what? I can only remember the fact that they were severely oddball and way too flashy and not much else. I like simple character designs because it really does let the character them self speak and not their looks.
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Offline Daniel A. Skirtandzy

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 12:48:14 am »
Yeesh, this is basically the complaint I've heard with the 'sparkle-dogs'. And I agree.

To me, (and most people if you ask) a fursona is supposed to represent yourself in the fandom. When you start going crazy, for the sake of being different, you lose that aspect of it being you.

One of the best things I have found about my fursona, is I have met a few other people on FA and elsewhere, with similar characters. It typically has us all thinking on the same page, which can spark a conversation pretty easily.
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Offline Ecklestein

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 05:24:14 am »
I'm just a bunny rabbit! ^-^

Although, I'm thinking of creating a new fursona, for my girl side.

A rainbow unipeg... Because when it comes to unicorns/unipegs, they just have to be rainbow. That's not weird - that's science.

Trust me, it's science.

Offline Neil

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 09:47:19 pm »
  In a fandom where the general public's eye is focused on the sex-crazed, sparkly, weeaboo, genderbending fursuiters, the line between attention whore furs and everyone else has become quite thin indeed. The representation I make of myself as a furry is just a plain old coyote anthro, nothing special. Apart from that, my character is just me.

  I will never understand the mindset of people with a rainbow colored fursona that's one half wolf, one quarter dragon, and a second quarter alien space ninja.
I only think in the form of crunching numbers.

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2012, 08:58:56 pm »
For my 'sona I took my fave anamal (Fox) and what ALL my friends sayy im like (Tiger) and took my one of my fave colors (yellow) and added stripes to the fox part of my 'sona (tail) and reversed the color layout of a tiger and boom the strips have difrent colors 1st one is yellow the 2nd one is white and the 3rd one is black the tail is the same as a normal fox tail only with stripes... yeah thats kinda complex but still I'm a Tox not a Spigeat (spider/badger/rat) just a comboof the animal I am and my fave animal together

wow the idiodicness of some ppl


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Offline Ecklestein

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 04:49:45 pm »
-snip-

Despite the fact I'm now pink, it's still science.

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2013, 09:15:58 am »
How I've heard this before. I'm just a regular kid with headphones and a hoodie. And how and why I'm a fox, it's because I actually match with being a fox. I'm small and I like to sneak around. If I wasn't a fox, any kind of vermin would fit me.

My picture shows me with blue fur only because I was playing around with colors on my tablet.
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 04:22:15 am »
I do think that come furs do identify with the bright colors. For example, my fursona Gypsee is the colors she is because I myself would love to be more bold and bright, so to speak (and since Gypsee represents all that I would like to be, she is oddly colored and bright). Also, my favorite colors are red, purple, and blue so they just kinda found their way into her design XD

Yeah, they're not normal Panda colors and I hope you can forgive me for that, but I just love the way Gypsee looks to much to change it. ^^

The horns.... Well, they just kinda happened. The tail, too.

Offline Ame

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2014, 08:06:13 pm »
I saw this post by a talented artist and friend of mine, Genesis Whitmore, and thought it'd be a good thing to have here.  The original post is here, and is transcribed below.


All this is well and good, but one of the problems is that people are creating characters for the sole purpose of them being different with no thought to design. They just want MORE wings, MORE bright colors, MORE words in the name, MORE hybrid.


OH MY GOSH.
This, THIS THIS THIS.
It bugs me TO NO END when people do ridiculous things just to stand out. Speaking in terms of fursonas, apparently they've changed from something representing YOU to WHO CAN BE THE MOST UNIQUE. Hybrids and colors I understand, but do you really identify with a shark-tiger-werehorse? I think not.

Seriously, it's just ridiculous now. I remember an artist awhile back looking for unique species to draw. I entered my ref, jokingly saying, "if you want something unique, how about a platypus?" And this girl who was an ~albino~ platypus commented, saying how hers was OMG ~MORE~ UNIQUE, as she was the "first and ONLY ~albino~ platypus.
Like, really?

Maybe an albino platypus does represent you, I don't know. But no need to rub it in other's faces about how "unique" your fursona is. We all know you're a special snowflake.

Of course, I kinda feel the opposite way, in terms of species, as well...I always find it hard to believe that SO many people identify the most with wolves or foxes.

[edit: Just saw this was a sticky instead of just a general thread ^^; Sorry for ranting so much if that wasn't your intention of this thread]

Lol repling to a 3yr old post but what ever. Just saying I identify with wolves because
A I love animal especially fluffy ones I can hug
B I see them as strong which I hope to be
C They look awesome
D epression got me to watch Wolf Children and made me happier
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 08:08:01 pm by Ame »
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2014, 08:19:10 pm »
I saw this post by a talented artist and friend of mine, Genesis Whitmore, and thought it'd be a good thing to have here.  The original post is here, and is transcribed below.


All this is well and good, but one of the problems is that people are creating characters for the sole purpose of them being different with no thought to design. They just want MORE wings, MORE bright colors, MORE words in the name, MORE hybrid.


OH MY GOSH.
This, THIS THIS THIS.
It bugs me TO NO END when people do ridiculous things just to stand out. Speaking in terms of fursonas, apparently they've changed from something representing YOU to WHO CAN BE THE MOST UNIQUE. Hybrids and colors I understand, but do you really identify with a shark-tiger-werehorse? I think not.

Seriously, it's just ridiculous now. I remember an artist awhile back looking for unique species to draw. I entered my ref, jokingly saying, "if you want something unique, how about a platypus?" And this girl who was an ~albino~ platypus commented, saying how hers was OMG ~MORE~ UNIQUE, as she was the "first and ONLY ~albino~ platypus.
Like, really?

Maybe an albino platypus does represent you, I don't know. But no need to rub it in other's faces about how "unique" your fursona is. We all know you're a special snowflake.

Of course, I kinda feel the opposite way, in terms of species, as well...I always find it hard to believe that SO many people identify the most with wolves or foxes.

[edit: Just saw this was a sticky instead of just a general thread ^^; Sorry for ranting so much if that wasn't your intention of this thread]

Lol repling to a 3yr old post but what ever. Just saying I identify with wolves because
A I love animal especially fluffy ones I can hug
B I see them as strong which I hope to be
C They look awesome
D epression got me to watch Wolf Children and made me happier

Oh I didn't mean to insult anyone who WAS a wolf, sorry if that's what it sounded like ;A;
I just can't grasp why they're so common when you have the whole animal kingdom to choose from. Not talking down, I just don't understand it ^^;
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Offline Tsuna_Yoshi

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2014, 07:59:39 am »
I'll admit, I was like that first too. I wanted a wierd hybrid and all that, but sooner or later I discovered whatever that I create is already unique. No one else can be me. Sure people can rob my fursona but, they can't be my fursona, better than me. Because my fursona is me. (I think I accidently wrote something perplexing.) Hence I became a well used anthro, wolf.
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2014, 06:10:42 pm »
Cefirul: I shall now show you the guide to creating a unique fursona!

Step 1: Personality. Is your fursona a bright and cheery guy? Does s/he have anger issues? Or is s/he just depressed? Note it down! Personality defines a LOT.

Step 2: Character design. I'm cool with your foxes and wolves, but what I'm not cool with is how hard you're trying to make them unique. I know what you're thinking, Pfft I have five pairs of wings on my back, and you only have one. NO! NOT COOL! THAT IS AN ABOMINATION AND I SERIOUSLY PITY YOUR CHARACTER. Wings, horns, whatever shouldn't be there IRL is cool. But DON'T overdo it. Design the wings if you want them to look unique, don't just add another four pairs. Quantity=/= Quality.

Step 2.1: Color pallets. Try to get them to blend. As in having shades that go well together. Also two colors max if you ask me. Unless you want them to look a little psychedelic like Elisif here
Elisif: RAINBOWS!!!
Step 2.2:  This will be related to his/her personality. A cheerful person won't be seen in a suit and tie. A depressed person won't walk around with colorful ribbons on her hair. Make sure your character wears the right clothes. Remember, dress to impress

Step 3: Names. Please use NORMAL names. Or at least pronouncable ones. Titles are fine. Just make it pronouncable. Please

(Will update when I get to a PC, I'm not used to my current phone)

Offline Saint Judas

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2014, 10:43:03 pm »
See, I am actually guilty of many of the crimes of trying to make my character unique. And for the most part, all of my characters are very unique. But despite the fact that I did some of the stupidest things to make my characters unique, they don't seem overdone. Actually, I don't know how I did that . . .

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2015, 09:39:55 pm »
Just look at my character. Very simple, and very cute XD
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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2015, 02:43:43 pm »
that's really helpful thanks

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Re: A Note About Character Design, From An Artist
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2016, 05:32:20 pm »
So... through this, I have discerned that which I already knew but will put, in way of summation, here.

It's okay to have an outlandish character as a fursona so long as they are not based purely on the need to be unique, yes?

I know that I, for one, absolutely adore 'unnatural' colour schemes (hence me fighting with myself over red and black and purple and dark blue for my fursona, currently) and when I see characters that have these colour schemes, I basically fall in love.

I will, however, note that the characters to whom I refer are not necessarily actual characters that I have ever learned about. I know nothing of their personalities. They are simply flashy faces to distract myself with. That is... they all blend together after a certain amount of time.

To the contrary of that previous statement, it should be noted that if a character's physique has been created without the sole purpose of being unique, I'd say nearly anything goes. (Also, imagine the torture that an abomination would have to go through! The emotional and tragic backstory of a mutant with five wings and half of his body enclosed in scales...!) (Who am I kidding, someone with that sort of character probably doesn't give a damn about backstories.)



Well, this post has been scatter-brained, just as I am. I suppose that I'm trying to say that characters with crazy physical appearances simply made that way to be unique are bad. Characters with crazy physical appearances (and I don't mean absolutely crazy, I just mean, like, an arcane symbol here and there, maybe some strangely coloured fur, a crazy hairdo, idk, wings, sure, why not) who have been created as actual beings with thoughts and feelings and needs and wants... well... that's where the real fun in being 'unique' lies, no? (I'm so scatterbrained. Derpiederpderp. Kudos to you if you understand what I'm saying in my own true-neutral sort of way.)


PS: I am guilty of putting nouns and adjectives in names. They just sound so AWESOME! But that's the only thing on here that I have been deemed guilty of, actually. So... points to me? Also, the 'nouns and adjectives' in names rule had to do with a few stories that I was working on in which it was normal to be named that way... and I've never named my fursona like that... so... I don't know if that counts. Hm.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 05:34:00 pm by Mage_Of_Cats »
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