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Character Design

Before you start animating, it is worth considering what to animate. Considering that animation takes time, a lot of it, it's best to start with something you want to carry on with for the rest of the course. 


Character Design

Character Designs for animation must have Appeal, be based on Solid Drawing, and easy to replicate quickly. Keep in mind, you aren't just drawing a few images, you are drawing Thousands! A good test of you design is: can you draw it in under a minute and a half? If you can't, you might have too much detail.

 1. Character Study (Cos-Play)

Select a character from an animation of your choice (favorite character?) and create a 2 minute presentation on the following:

A.  Who is this character and why is she/he significant?​

B.  Why did you select this character? What is the character best known for?

C.  What are the mannerisms/characteristics of this character and how are they portrayed in the character's design?

D.  How are those characteristics portrayed in the character's animation/actions?

E.   You may show a very short clip exemplifying your character (30 seconds)

2. Keyhole Ken

Let's start simple. Take a look at the Keyhole Ken drawing booklet. Do you see how the character starts with a VERY simple shape? That's what your character design MUST be based on! Form finding is the fundemental process of consistent animation. You need to be able to recreate the same character over and over and over. Follow up with Keyhole Ken by completing the Keyhole Ken Exercises. Use lined paper to keep your character consistent over several drawings. Here's an example of the finished Keyhole Ken Exercises.


Research a character that meets the needs of animation:

  1. Character has appeal (see top video)

  2. Character is based on the Solid Drawing Principle (see top video)

  3. Character can be redrawn quickly (rough drawing in under 1.5 minutes)

Once you have settled on a character, draw a formal Character Preview Sheet.  The Character Preview Evaluation Rubric will be used to mark this assignment. The preview sheet should show:

  1. The character from 4 views: front, side, back and profile (3D). Include the drawing lines and forms!

  2. A collection of 5 facial expressions

  3. The character in a dynamic pose

*See finished example to the right. You can see an excellent student version of the Character Preview Sheet here.

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