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Unappealing Character Designs

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LDAF
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Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-17 11:09:45 Reply

Hello! Recently, I've been trying to hone a visual style that I can confidently call my own. This, of course, includes character design. From some feedback I've been getting, I understand that the faces of some of the characters I've worked on are generally unappealing (this extends to the characters in these links below, but in hindsight, I'd chalk most of that up to wonky, inconsistent proportions and generally weak drawings):

  • Gesundheit!
    Gesundheit! by LDAF

    A boy just wants a pet for his birthday. Is that so much to ask?

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  • Where Have YOU Been?
    Where Have YOU Been? by LDAF

    Starting to hunker down and take the time to solidify a process for different styles. I've been thinking about how to show th...

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I've finished the image I attached to this post much more recently. One criticism I've received is that they lack three-dimensionality, and I can definitely see that. Moving forward, are there more specific comments I can receive on what makes the FACES of these characters unappealing? Proportions, eye designs... anything you see that I'm not seeing, please let me know! Thanks so much for any critiques you can give!

Unappealing Character Designs


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Troisnyx
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-18 04:27:44 Reply

I can say with certainty for the girl, the shape of her head is abnormal.

Human heads are decently rounded at the top. This is especially the case with girls, most of whom wouldn't go for a flat top in the way of hairstyle. The flat top is the first thing that threw me off.

Then there's the issue of her features. Perspective is really lacking there. The eyes are almost as big as each other, the nose is as big on one side as it is on the other. SHE IS TURNING. THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING.

I mean, I take issue with the body and the shading as well, because it seems that anatomy is slightly lost there as well. The shading is generally porcelain all around, something that doesn't change between hard and soft surfaces in your drawing, something which should be avoided.

EvilRaccoon
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I agree with Troisnyx is saying.

My thoughts are that there is a style, however dimension is indeed important. Good style is all about taking the foundations of existing structures and then altering them, but understanding the reasons why it appeals is through experience. The right methods and rules therefore have to be learned first to break them correctly. Whether you create the simpsons, american dad, anime, comic art, etc the foundation art is still evident.

My suggestion is possibly develop your ability to draw with a strong foundation, your style will then naturally come. Don't try to reinvent the wheel, just keep applying the ones you like and you'll eventually find whats right for you, and through experience adopt what works best for you.


aka. Peter

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Cairos
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-18 11:57:54 Reply

Why did you paint a bubble? It doesn't fit the theme or message. If anything it's misleading.

LDAF
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-18 17:23:33 Reply

Thanks for the feedback, guys! Yours was especially helpful for me going forward, Troisnyx. The gist of what I've gotten from all the feedback I've gotten is to sharpen my anatomy skills, especially in the head/face.

As for the bubble, it goes hand-in-hand with the tire. As I was finishing up the piece, I thought it would be odd to address having person A looking at themselves while person B looked at person A, when both A and B looked at each other, but NOT when both are looking at their own reflections. A certain level of self-love/appreciation is needed for a person to be able to confidently look at themselves in a mirror for an extended amount of time. The bubble represents this self-love/appreciation. There’s also a sense of distance in that you don’t see the person you’re with, but a sense of closeness in knowing they’re right there with you anyway. This reminded me of long-distance relationships, with the tire representing the literal distance that needs  to be covered for two people to meet again, and the bubble manages to take on a secondary meaning when juxtaposed against the tire, representing a couple's hopes and dreams.


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Cairos
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-18 23:54:15 Reply

I understand what the usage of bubbles are and traditionally it's known to be quite morbid. Usually it's reserved when there's only one person or when the piece is just filled with symbolism.

Bubbles are normally used with the idea of things short lived but it's being contradicted by this machine that looks like it was specifically made to connect these two people.

I think the whole idea of the piece is more illustrative than an attempt to be surrealist. Ideally you want the picture to speak for itself and try to avoid writing instructions for it.

LDAF
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-19 12:21:09 Reply

Huh, I'd never heard of bubbles being used that way before. Interesting!

I agree 110% that the picture should speak for itself, though. The intent was to channel surrealism's use of bizarre juxtapositions to convey a thought, but I'm seeing now where the execution fell flat. This discussion's given me a better idea of how to approach what I want to do with my work going forward. Thank you again for the comments!


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Chat-man
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-19 16:11:42 Reply

Moving on from what everyone else has already pointed out, I feel like the proportions are a little skewed to the left. Plus the shading and coloring honestly needs some work if you're going for something 3D. There's very little contrast and hardly any real shadows. It's hard to tell where the light sources are coming from as well. My suggestion is to visualize where the light is coming from, in all three dimensions, and use that to figure out where there would be highlights and where there would be shadows.

When it comes to creating a style with appeal, the best thing you can do is look at what other artists are doing and why those techniques work. For example: Artists who like to draw cute tend to shoot for rounder features and exaggerate features that make something cute, like big eyes and a bright color palette.

There's honestly so much more to style than creating things that look very 3D, because CGI can seriously be the ugliest thing haha. Think about what you want out of your style and your characters and make your decisions based around that. Decisions like line thickness, color palette, body shape, clothing, facial proportions, etc. And if you're really inspired to make a character of a certain type, look and see what other characters of that type look like and see what makes them so successful. There's a lot that goes into style and design, but it'll all be worth it once you're satisfied with your work.


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thepixelizer
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-20 04:00:56 Reply

Aye! Character design right up my alley! So far they are lacking in appeal for many reasons, but the first reason is because they look too generic. If you put them in a crowd they'd never stand out. Give your characters features that define them.
Like Chucky from the Rug Rat's frizzy hair and purple glasses, the Incredible Hulks overly muscular green body, Mario's red cap etc.

The Man
His head looks stretched and the shape of his eyes look pretty blocky and robotic which don't match his round nose. When designing characters you have to compare every feature from the feet to the head, and keep on redesigning it until you have a visual balance, try different shapes until it looks appealing. Also he's not very handsome, and comes across as ugly. He's ugly because his face is long like Squidward, his anatomy's off, one of his shoulders are way down compared to the other. Also many artists do it, but his eyebrows are not wide enough, for my own personal taste I tend to make the eyebrows a centimeter bit longer than the eye. I don't know small brow just look ugly to me.

The Girl
Her head's off like others say, and she's quite frankly more appealing than the man. But her anatomy is off by a lot. She's lacking a forehead, her neck needs to be at an angle, and it's too wide. Her arms are shriveled up and should be as long enough to reach her mid thigh.

Also the style is very boring and gray, try to mix colors when making shading to give it more of a natural look, example if you have yellow you could just move the color wheel down to more default darker yellow color, but it would rock some socks if you picked yellow and add a darker orange in the shadowy parts of the character.

Here's your home work (if you choose to accept it) go to Google and draw people you see in the search, fat ,tall, petite, skinny, etc. Also before you make another picture, put the picture through a rough draft stick man comparing all of the anatomy features to one another in proportions. Learn how to draw an animation dummy, by adding standard shapes together on the stick man.

Also point perspectives are a game changer it really makes your backgrounds look way more realistic. Hoped that helped.

~Pixel out

Troisnyx
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-20 13:46:41 Reply

At 5/19/17 12:21 PM, LDAF wrote: Huh, I'd never heard of bubbles being used that way before. Interesting!

I agree 110% that the picture should speak for itself, though. The intent was to channel surrealism's use of bizarre juxtapositions to convey a thought, but I'm seeing now where the execution fell flat. This discussion's given me a better idea of how to approach what I want to do with my work going forward. Thank you again for the comments!

As for bubbles being used in the morbid sense, @Cairos is right I think. I'm not sure if he's thinking of what I'm thinking, but there was the whole Homo bulla set of drawings and paintings done in centuries past, "man is a bubble" -- a very ephemeral, transcendental kind of thing.

DarkRoxy
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Response to Unappealing Character Designs 2017-05-20 17:34:14 Reply

Try lowering the saturation of your colors, low saturated color palettes would look better for this style. :^)


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