ANIMATION: Characters #1- Character design

Table of Contents

Who is your character?

For this post, let us examine the thought process behind the Platformer Starter Pack’s character design. 

Having a general idea WHO your character is before drawing helps out a ton. It gives you direction on what features your characters will have. 

I’m not an experienced character designer myself, so I enjoy combining existing characters features and personalities. This gives me a general direction to work towards.

I chose to go with these two classic game protagonists: Mega-man and Sammus.

I chose these characters because I plan on animating a ‘cool’ looking character with stylish effects. That means our character needs to have a trinket (cape, hair, armor, etc..) to animate secondary motion and a weapon to show off those flashy effects. 

Get the silhouette right

I personally start out every drawing with a silhouette sketch. The absence of color opens the realm of possibilities, which in turn, allows for your creativity to fill in the gaps!

This concept applies to animation as well.
Strong keyframes allow for higher quality/complexity animations because your mind is able to clearly visualize the in-between frames when the foundation is set in place.

Define your character's identity

With the help, Mamoruhik, we came up with this character style.

It matched the basic criteria we were aiming for: a flashy weapon & stylish hair.

How many colors?

I recommend only using 3-4 color hues with each having 2-3 shades. 

Yes, a character can look better with more detail. ( Omegachainoboy‘s work is the perfect example of high detailed characters!) 

But in the context of animation, more detail does not equal better. Effective use of color is more important if you’re planning to animate it. 

Why less color is better

Take the classic cartoon Tom and Jerry for example. The characters are flat compared to the background. 

It does not necessarily look bad but making it just as detailed as the background is NOT worth the additional effort. 

Get creative, Explore different permutations

I played around with the design a bit & ended up with this design.

The hair is more readable & flashy.

The eyes have emotion in them.

The dark suit compliments the character’s body language & facial expression.

Characters without well-defined characteristics


I’m excited to go deeper into this topic as I improve. I also plan on getting other artists to chime in & share their perspective on these topics.

Thank you for reading! -j

Categories: ANIMATIONCharacters



I'm a Game-Dev specializing in 2D VFX & Animation. I wish to simplify the learning process & help creatives learn new skills through LearnIndie.


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