back to list

Basic Shapes in Character Design

Banes at 12:00AM, April 6, 2017

From the Best of Banes Collection…


I've never consciously designed characters this way, but I recently remembered hearing about this notion some time ago, on the dvd special features for an animated movie or show. I don't remember which one.
Characters derived from basic shapes can give a very strong impression of their basic personality type. This can help the audience feel a certain way about the character before the creation does anything. In my opinion, there's something to it!


A character designed around circles has a soft, or at least likable and approachable feel. It's a good way to design a protagonist in certain settings. Examples would be our own kawaiidaigakusei's avatar, The Peanuts and South Park kids, and various manga and anime protagonists and romantic heroes and heroines.


A character designed around a square or rectangle is either a stoic, dependable hero, or tough, sturdy and strong. A powerhouse! See Superman (at least in his animated iterations), Wreck-It Ralph, The Hulk, and the Tazmanian Devil. Of course, SpongeBob Squarepants is a rectangle, but I'm not sure if his personality fits properly…


The triangle is an interesting one. This is often a scheming villain, or if not, a hero we are not entirely comfortable with. Maybe an anti-hero or a somewhat unpredictable character. Check out many Disney villains: Jafar from Aladdin, the Queen from Snow White, Batman, and Pinky from Pinky TA.

There is a visual philosophy to character design, and I think there's something to it.

Have a good one!




Zaptoid56 at 2:36PM, April 6, 2017

I go with me old fashioned...but don't...

Banes at 10:47AM, April 6, 2017

@KL - thanks! I didn't even realize before doing this post how perfectly my cast members fit these major shapes!

Banes at 10:44AM, April 6, 2017

@oz - thanks! @Gunwallace - grazi!

KimLuster at 9:21AM, April 6, 2017

Nice!! Nifty renderings there too Banesy!! Even though you've never consciously done this, I can pick out your characters that fit these shapes!!

Gunwallace at 1:16AM, April 6, 2017

Simply the Best ...

Ozoneocean at 12:19AM, April 6, 2017

Always admired your clever images on this post!

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved Google+