So last time I talked about the little extras that can go into dialogue and how that dialogue can be presented on the page of your comic, so I was thinking today might be good to continue in that general trajectory and talk about little extras in your character design.
Now, designing characters is in my opinion a very personal thing, and a very personal process. There are tons of tutorials out there that give you different methodologies on how to go about it but it is my gut feeling that, just like your art style, the process that yields characters you need or you want to work with in your comic is going to be specific to how you and your mind works.
So no way I’m going down THAT path right now.
Instead I’m going to cheat and jump ahead to the next stage- when you have come up with a basic character concept, a good way to start tinkering and fine-tuning the fellow is to go through a character questionnaire- to get you to think about details, answer things about your character that will flesh him/her out. I personally used to use one very much like this one when I started out in character design.
Once you have answers, the quirks probably are going to write themselves. What are they, might you ask?
Character quirks are little behaviors, turns of phrase, reactions or personal little ‘missions’ that the character has regardless of the plot. Things that exist in his/her behavior because of who he/she is and his/her background. The character usually can’t help him/herself and might not even realise he is doing them:
Lucky Luke rolls his cig one-handed. (because he’s that cool)
Gaston from (the animated) Beauty and the Beast can’t help stopping to look and admire himself in the mirror.
Belle from (the animated) Beauty and the Beast keeps tucking a strand of hair away from her face.
Asterix’s helmet wings move in response to his emotions.
Spiderman makes wisecracks all the time.
Zuko from the (animated) Last Airbender has a resting bitch face (which I find hilarious).
You get the idea. The quirk may at some point in the story become a plot point or even an important turning point in the character or the story as a whole but it isn’t required. It’s there to subtly (or not so subtly depending on the aesthetics we want) underline who the character is, their main ‘feel’ or ‘trademark’ that makes them come across as memorable, if nothing else.
On a side note, people watching helps a TON with this. So definitely use mass transport, and don’t stare at your phone the entire time. Watch everyone else do that. ;)
What are some of your characters’ quirks?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, March 25, 2017
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