Emotions is what breaths life into a character

Feb 13, 20212m read
Emotions is what breaths life into a character

We are all driven by stories. Already as small children we like to watch movies and read books with nice illustrations. Many of us have begun our life longing for a career in Arts during that early fascination and love for stories. 

But even though it is hard to draw realistic or cartoon characters what makes a difference from one designer to the other is the way they are able to convey an emotion with their character. 

From the first brush stroke to the last, we as artists struggle to find the right balance, anatomy, and features for our characters and somehow their emotions become secondary. We end up with perfect characters that look and feel exactly the same and we can not connect to the audience. 

Think of the superheroes who have no flaws, how boring they are. They become more real to us when we add some variety of emotions. 

We are all characters in our own movies and we are multidimensional. So it is important to add that to our own characters. 

There is a difference in how each character laughs, for example, that correlates with this character´s personality, facial features, age etc. 

We can aim to deliver a story through our designs rather than just a nice and clean drawing of a random character. This is what separates a great designer from the good one. 

So what can you do to bring your character to life. 

Here are some tips:

What energy does your character have

Think of who your character is? Is it a lighthearted person or someone who thinks too much? Is the person have a positive outlook on life or is rather cynical? How would those types of character laugh, or cry? How would they stand if nobody is watching them. 

What are your character´s body weight and age

This has nothing to do with being mean, but our bodies define the way we move or stand. That also defines the way we express emotions through our body language. Define how your character keeps him or herself fit, or not, how they eat, what determines their choices. This will give a new and unique body languageand a very interesting character.

What is your character´s emotional state at the moment

Has your character received good or bad news? Are they trying to hide their emotion about it or are they overwhelmed and try to hold back on a smile/tearing up? Those subtle features will change your character´s emotional expression and will give your audience a quick peek into your character´s soul with just a single image. 

Note of advice: 

Keep a notebook where you sketch people in real life and try to guess their emotional states based on their posture and facial expressions. 

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