Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Character Communicators


Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Work has been especially crazy the past few weeks.  I've started teaching character design again at Woodbury University.  Teaching is fun and challenging, and it also affords me the chance to reflect and learn myself.

I discovered that in my first semester teaching a word kept coming to the fore front of my lectures and discussions with students.  The word is "communication" and as I thought about it more this semester I came to realize that character design is exactly that, Communication.  We are communicating who these characters are to our audience.  Not how handsome or how cute they are or how cool their costume or weapon is, not how well we can push and exploit shapes but WHO they are.  What are their dreams and aspirations, how would they treat the people around them?  That's what character design is.  The "design" only serves to communicate who the character is and that's it.  Design is often thought of as a form of communication.  It communicates purpose and intention, so if you really think about it we are not character designers we are character communicators.

Sorry for the long post.  Just thought I would share my thoughts as I discover these things teaching.  I am in no way claiming to be an expert or that my thoughts are the end all be all.  Character design is a very subjective topic and I think there is room for many ideas and theories behind it and they can all successfully coexist.  Also this is something, since making this connection, that I am WELL aware of I need to work on and will keep this in the fore front of my mind going forward.

Also here are a few drawings from recent @sketch_dailies topics on twitter.  give them a follow some rad stuff going on there.

3 comments:

Finbar Coyle said...

Hi Justin, thanks for posting your opinion on what makes good character design. I found it very informative and will definitely be focusing on that with my designs in the future.

Karoline KD A. said...

Interesting view you have. I agree much. I think people judge a character by the design, before you actually get to know the person. Much like in real life. Thanks for sharing!

http://www.theartofkaroline.blogspot.no/

Ken said...

Awesome pirate! From a huge pirate fan.