"Life is too short to make bad art."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character design - some tips and tricks

I just had a friend send me his inkscape character design and asking for my opinion.
Hadjoudj Mohamed did a good job for an initial design but there are a few easy to avoid beginner problems.

This tutorial is based on showing him how to improve, alter and easily modify his character. A lot of the hints work with pretty much any character you create for an illustration or a game. 

I hope you enjoyed this quick (and out of the planned order) tutorial and can take something from it for your own creation.


  1. I really like your simple sense of art, great job as usual!
    As for Hadjoudj Mohamed, that's pretty awesome :D

  2. Really worth to read. Waiting for more posts like this. :)

  3. Hey Chris, great post. In fact, it made me want to go back and read every single one of your past posts, and buy your tile tutorial guide :-)

    Two questions that you might consider for a future post, to help clarify things for us non-artists: First: How do you address perspective in your art? For example your tiles are mostly top-down (although grass doesn't look that different from the top versus an angle), while a lot of your characters are from the front. Do you consciously select a viewing angle when starting a project, or does it just sort of naturally come to you. The other thing; could you cover hills/mountains at some point? I guess that follows from my first question, as they look a lot different from the front than from the top.

    Anyway, it's been a great series so far! I had been using Photoshop Elements for game art, and I will probably do a lot of it in Inkscape after reading your blogs.

    1. Hi David,thanks I am glad you like my ramblings...

      As for the questions... The perspective usually derives from the gameplay (What makes most sense for the game?) and the budget/ timeline (How much time and money can be thrown at art?) 2D side on or top down being the fastest to create, 2 1/2D a little longer and full 3D pre-rendered or full 3D take longest - as you need to create the model, texture it, rig and then animate it. Saying that, 3D might make sense in 2D or 2 1/2D games to speed things up - e.g. when you need rotations of complex elements that are just quicker to create in 3D.

      I did start on a tutorial for backgrounds, layering and depth in a scene. I could add mountains there... I will find it and complete it.

      Think about combining the advantages of those two tools. Create elements in Inkscape, make variations and alterations there and then import the art (via a pdf) into Photoshop for sizing, effects and bitmap based touch ups.

  4. Hey Chris,

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the hard work that you put into this website! It was a great help to me when I was developing my game. I just released it recently enough on iOS and Android. The game art in it wasn't great until I came across this site.

    Here's the final product in case you are interested in seeing it.

    Thanks again!