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.

Chris Hildenbrand

2D game artist, pixelpusher, vector bender, face turner for over thirty years. I worked on more games than I can remember... The most recent release is "Super Crossbar Challenge" for iOS (Android coming soon) with Shattered Box, Fredbear Games and PlayPlayFun.


  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!

  5. Thank you very much for those freebies, wish you best luck with your journey :)

  6. It is very nice post according to my view and I will keep in touch with this place. Click here.

  7. yEAH
    WISH I could upload my before and after...from this blog post ;)

  8. My hat came out more of a Fedora (which is fine) I couldn't get that cylinder shape for some reason
    and another variation is a old taxi cab driver hat =D