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BASIC

LESSON 4
Creating Characters

In this lesson, I want you to begin thinking Or, do just the opposite make your
about a character that you want to bring to character outgoing and wild! In other
life. words, your character can also
reflect the personality that is
hiding within you!
This lesson include:
1. Character design check list
2. Sample of character designs
3. Self-evaluation

Character
Before you begin: Design Checklist
Suppose I said to the room full of student Name
artists, Everyone, draw a picture of an apple Age and gender
for me. Some of you would draw red apples. Height
Others would draw green ones. Some of the Species / Nationality
apples would be big, some would be small. Personality
Most would probably be ripe (I hope!), but Status
some might be rotten. Only if I said, Likes
Everyone, draw a picture of a large, red, Dislikes
fresh apple for me, would the pictures Abilities
probably look the same. Family
Clothes
Well, the same thing is true when we draw Special features
characters. If we have a specific idea of what Background
our character is like before we draw it, then
drawing it will be easy! So, when you prepare Check the next page for more
to draw a character, think first about the explanations!
characters traits.

It really helps if you put some of your own


personality into your character's personality. I want you to decide on a personality for your
If, for instance, you are shy, then it might be character, and then begin drawing that
easy for you to make your character shy. character for me to critique.

Copyright 2005-2016 Japanime Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Manga University is a registered trademark of Japanime Co. Ltd. Lessons are for personal use only
BASIC
LESSON 4
Character Design Form

Design form:
Completing this form will help you get an idea of what your character will look like. Make sure to
be as detailed as possible:

Name The name of your character. Include nicknames or secret code names!

Age and gender How old are they? Are they male or female?

Height How tall are they? 5? 611? This will help you decide how many heads
they should be drawn (as we studied in Lesson 2)

Species / Are they human? Half-animal? Robot? Elf? Monster? Where are they from?
Nationality Somewhere in the human realm? Perhaps a nation in a fantasy world?

Personality This is important! Are they aggressive or passive? Loud or quiet? Calm
and collected, or nervous and erratic? Be as detailed as possible!

Status Are they a student. If so, what are they studying? Are they working? If
yes, what is their job?

Likes What do they like to do? What is their favorite food? What traits do they
admire in other characters? Are the animal-lovers?

Dislikes Are there any foods or drinks that they dislike? Any activities they
wouldnt join? Certain personalities that rub them the wrong way?

Abilities Do they have any special abilities? Are they good at doing something in
particular? Cooking? Sports? Secret powers?

Family Do they live with their parents? Do they have siblings? How are they like
their relatives, and what sets them apart from others in their family?

Clothes What do they like to wear? Do they have a certain style? Do they only
were specific colors? If so, why?

Special features Do they have scars? Wings? Horns? Tattoos? Moles? Or maybe even
animal ears and tails?

Background This is important, too! The background of the character can strongly
influence your characters personalities as well as their design.

Copyright 2005-2016 Japanime Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Manga University is a registered trademark of Japanime Co. Ltd. Lessons are for personal use only
BASIC
LESSON 4
Creating Characters Examples

Here are some examples of the types of characters you might create based on their personality
and back story.

My clothes, hair
and pose show
Im a rough-and- Im friendly and
tumble fighter! energetic! You can
see that I also
love music.

Im a strong
and active but
shy girl
who carries
a secret!

We Ninja may
be tough, but
speed and
stealth is most
crucial. Notice HoW
Im drawn thin but
muscular to If your
refleCt that. character is more
the brawny type,
dont be afraid to go
a little overboard
and really
pump him up!

Copyright 2005-2016 Japanime Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Manga University is a registered trademark of Japanime Co. Ltd. Lessons are for personal use only
BASIC
LESSON 4
Creating Characters Continued

Novice artists often say that hands and feet look. However, always remember that
are the hardest to draw. Others have trouble manga characters are (most of the time,
with hairstyles. Some say they can never get anyway) simplified and stylized depictions
the eyes quite right. And a few artists have of humans (or animals).
trouble with all these things. But thats OK,
were here to help! 4. Draw it over and over until you begin to
feel more comfortable with that feature of
the character.
Self-Evaluation:
Focusing on yourself is as important as 5. Dont worry about parts that you are not
studying other artists works. In order to confident of drawing. Try to draw them
improve and develop your own style, you need again and again, and you will improve in no
time. Good luck, and have fun!
to know:

1. Strengths - What are you good at?


2. Weaknesses - What needs improvement?
3. Interests - What do you like to draw most?
This is a great drawing,
but conspicuously
hiding the characters
hands behind their
Overcoming Weaknesses: body not only suggests
that you didnt want to
1.Redraw the same character over and over. draw them, but that
you wont get any
2. Each time, adjust only the parts that give
better at drawing them
you the most trouble.
either!
For example, hairstyles: Dont be afraid
Draw a bald version of your character, to try!
and then photocopy that drawing several
times.
Give the bald character several different
hairstyles. Curly hair; straight hair; long
hair; short hair; a mohawk; a mullet.

You can use this same approach for anything


eyes, noses, mouths, ears, hands, feet, arms,
legs, clothes, shoes, etc.

3. Study photographs of real people to get a


sense of how different body parts should

Copyright 2005-2016 Japanime Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Manga University is a registered trademark of Japanime Co. Ltd. Lessons are for personal use only
BASIC
LESSON 4
Heads Above the Rest: Troubleshooting

All right, its time to send in your homework! So I Good


have enough time to critique your drawing, please luck and
submit it to me within two weeks of completing this have fun!!

lesson. Draw up your best character and send it to


homework@mangauniversity.com.
Please put Manga University Homework in the
subject line of the message. The drawing should be
scanned at no less than 150 dpi and no more than
300 dpi, and saved as a jpeg. If you have any
trouble sending it, please let us know by sending us
an email to the same address as above. I will then
send you my critique of your drawing and your
diploma within a month of your completion of this
six-week course

Your Feedback

We want to know what you think of the job were doing! Each week we invite you to rate our
lesson and, if you wish, comment on what we can do to improve and provide you with what you
want to learn.

This lesson was:

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d) Lousy (>~<)

Please e-mail your rating (and any additional


comments) to comments@japanime.com with the
subject header Home Study.

See you during the next lesson! An MU staffer hard at work responding to
your questions and comments.

Copyright 2005-2016 Japanime Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Manga University is a registered trademark of Japanime Co. Ltd. Lessons are for personal use only

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