Two character design books I REALLY recommend. Seriously. by jonas

Creating Characters With Personality, and Character Mentor, both by Tom Bancroft.

Tom's one of the '90s-era Disney feature guys. He's done a whole bunch of other stuff too, too long to list here. Anyway, he wrote these two fantastic books on character design (which are really essentially two volumes of one book), and they go far past the basic 'circles and boxes' stuff. They get into the conceptual place where design philosophy and all the "illusion of life" concepts converge. To quote one reviewer, these are basically the books Christopher Hart wishes he could make.

The reason I'd very strongly recommend this, especially to younger artists, is because I've seen several Default Furry Styles emerge over the years. (And I know I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else, and I'm still working to break out of it.) There are certain visual tropes -- body types, facial proportions, particular angles, poses, expressions, etc -- that many artists in fandom fall back on because they're popular and easy. And there's nothing wrong with that, but challenging your default style can lead to some interesting results.

I realize that when it comes to commissions, artists don't always have the time or motivation to engage in complex character design. Sometimes you just want to make deadline, or follow the model sheet, but I gotta tell you: sometimes it really pays off to break out of the same visual routines, even if it's just for single experimental instances. If you're feeling stagnated with your art and can't figure out why, this might be one thing to consider.

Two character design books I REALLY recommend. Seriously.


28 January 2014 at 10:09:12 MST

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    awesome, thanks for the recommendation! i will check them out!

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    I've always been shy of art books, mainly because I'm afraid they're gonna be of a "tell you exactly what to do and not to deviate from the method" ilk…I know, completely irrational, but I very easily go down the path of paranoia that someone's trying to tell me the best way of doing art, "because science" or something similar. :B

    If you're unsure what I mean by that…perhaps it'd be best if I left that clarification to another message format, such as an e-mail or something. It's a long, complicated, and convoluted issue I have with a lot of "art method" stuff, and tends to send me on an existential trip wherein I find myself debating core human principles and moral philosophy. I know, I know…sounds insane, and probably is, but that's because I'm probably insane, in my own small way… v.v

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      Oh blargh…I thought this was someone else's journal entry…shows how tired I am. >.<

      Never mind about the e-mail thing. o3o;;

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    Oh hey, I own the first one of these! c: I love it too!

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    Do you know of an suggestions for a book on story boarding?

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      Hm. Not offhand, but I can ask around!

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        Spiffy! I like the second book best from the preview.