Character Design Illustration

Creating an original character is something very common in the design and illustration world. It goes from just a little something on a design campaign to complex characters for an animation, to have a few examples. No matter the purpose, creating your character with Gravit Designer is very easy.

Know your creation Early concepts for the character Rajah, from Disney animation Aladdin (by Concept Artist Aaron Blaise).

You want to create your character for a purpose. Could be for a game, an animation, a comic or even just because that’s your hobby. The best approach is always the same: you need to know who your character is going to be. In which universe does it live? Which kind of audience is it aimed at? What does it do?

It might sound complex (and it can be complex, if you’re producing for a big animation, for example), but these are just guidelines to help you when the time of creation comes. Even coming up with a just a few simple key words helps.

Early concepts for the Disney animation Moana (by artist Bobby Pontillas)

What I wanted for my character, as I began to sketch for this article, was already defined in my head: a cute astronaut cat. That’s enough to get started for this simple example.

Inspiration

The basic of the basics: Inspiration! To come up with ideas and concepts for your character, don’t hesitate to look for things that insprire, be it great resources like DribbbleBehance or Artstation or even movies, series, cartoons … whatever gets your creative juices flowing!

This is just part of my inspiration for my Space Cat: The cats from Disney’s Aristocats, the traditional Japanese Lucky Cat and a beautiful illustration by Marko Stupic.

Sketching

After gathering some inspiration, it’s time to let your ideas flow. You can do this in any way you like, but from my personal preference the good old pencil and paper work best. Just put your ideas there, experiment, erase and start over again. Add details and create a style until you’re satisfied with the result.

Sketch concepts of the character Rapunzel, from the Disney animation Tangled (by artist Glen Keane).

Tip: Let your final creation rest for some hours (or even over night) and then look at it again. With this resting time, you might see a lot of things you could possibly improve or change that you didn’t notice before.

After you have your final sketch, you can scan it or take a nice picture and open it in Gravit Designer. Here is my final Space Cat sketch:

Remember, it’s a concept, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s just a guideline!

Vectorizing the sketch

There is no right or wrong way to continue with your creation, but what I particularly like to do is to first create the line art, which means creating the vector contours over my pencil sketch. Let’s do that!

Open Gravit and create a new file (with 400 x 475 pixels for my example):

Now you can import your sketch to Gravit. Go to File > Import > Place Image and choose your sketch, or simply drag it from your folder to the canvas inside Gravit.

Place your drawing centralised on the canvas, then lock the layer on the left panel (with the lock icon, so that you don’t move it by accident). You can

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