What is design and what are we looking for in ChoW?
"To decide upon the look and function of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it." That is a basic definition of the word, but let's apply it to characters. For simplicity's sake, lets assume that characters are always humanoid in nature, unless specified otherwise.
ChoW was created to help artists become better by giving them a description of a character and a time frame as motivation to complete the character. It was not created to make elaborate illustrations which tells a story of the character you are designing. This is not against the rules by any means, but if the story telling is distracting you from the whole objective of this, then you are doing it wrong.
You must convey a message through the design of a character, to tell the viewer what it is. You have to ask yourself, "does this portrait the given description, if there was no title to this piece?" Many new artists don't step back from their work to ask this question and the end result is something from their head that doesn't work.
Of course, all designs won't always convey the message of what the design goal is, but that is where the combination of character attitude, posture, mood and movement comes into play. These are just as important as the design because they can also convey a message.
- When designing a character, the goal is to be unique and non-generic. That is the hardest thing about being a character designer.
- Accuracy and believable are the next hardest things, because we want our characters to be convincing.
- Research and reference are key when it comes to designing a character, because without either of these, the first two goals become negated and the design usually falls apart or isn't as interesting as it could be. Never be afraid to use reference, all professionals use it at least part of the time. We are in the Information Age, so obtaining any visual help is as easy as going to Google and typing in some key words.
- Observation is a huge factor. Find artists that influence you, study from books that are published to teach anatomy. These are all resources to help you become a better artist. Study from life as well. You will learn more if you build your foundation skills from studying from life.
- Study, practice and improve. You MUST do all of these to get better. Skill is not handed to you on a silver platter, you must earn it and to do so, it requires hours upon hours of your time and dedication. Ignore distractions of entertainment, like video games, television, facebook (a serious offender). They will all hinder your progress. Embrace the fire of your passion to create and do your self a favor of feeding that fire by learning.
What we want to see:
A developed character. Apply these requirements to your routine. It will reflect in your work and you will see how much you can really do. Don't settle for generic; again, many new artists don't go out of their way to use reference to help their design. The hardest thing for the Mods to do, is to cut someone due to a lack of quality or design. Read the briefs carefully, they are there to help inspire your ideas and to keep the designs on track. Before you start sketching a final version, you should always map out some quick thumbnails, go online to research possible design influences and apply them to your character.
What we don't want to see:
We are all artists here and drawing the nude figure is something you must do to learn the body structure, it is all part of the process. But don't stop there and call it finished, that is not a character design. Throwing on some jewelry over a nude figure is not acceptable either. The work you do on here should be fit for your portfolio.
Keep the nude figures, in provocative poses, to your self. This is a professional environment we are trying to uphold.
What is provocative? There is a thin line between clean seductive and dirty provocative.
: The biggest offender...
Dirty Provocative: Though the goal is the same, to be seductive, it doesn't portrait the female sensitivity.
Clean Seductive: The whole point of being seductive is the suggestion, not the flat out flashing.
So when you are thinking about the design, you must really think about these things. Is there enough to the design to convey what the character is? Is the design clean enough for most audiences? Is it unique and non-generic? Does the anatomy look correct?
Of course, not everyone will be spot on in all of these areas, but we want to see that you are trying, learning and improving.