A. Theinert – Becker College - 2013
So you want to create a character? You’ve had some
practice with gesture drawing but that was the easy part!
Here are some questions you should ask yourself
before you begin:
• What type of game is your character for?
• What genre is it? What is the art style of the game?
• More importantly – Who is your Target Audience?
This answer will help you to answer other questions
about your design.
Decide what style is most appropriate for you project. Note
that cartoon & stylized characters will usually have
exaggerated features and exaggerated posture.
• Where is your character from? This may help determine
what they are wearing.
o Your character has fur accents on her armor because
she hails from a cold environment.
o Your character has visible tattoos from a tribal heritage
Designing a character is not all about drawing good
concept art. Good characters have depth and meaning.
If you enjoy creative writing then you may want to try
fleshing out a backstory before you even begin sketching.
• What was their past like? Did they have a rough
o Your character carries a variety of weapons
because they were forced into a life of
o Your character enlisted in an assassins guild and
is equipped with an assortment of knives &
• Complete the Character Design Sheet
• This sheet will also help you create a functional
character. How much armor is the character
wearing, how will it move when the character
moves? Does the character have scales? Why do
they have scales?
• Do 4 quick (5-10 min) Gesture Sketches of your
character in 4 dynamic different poses, (use a
model if possible).
• Sketch in Details on top of the gesture drawings. (2 options):
o Add rough details to your sketches based on your
• Fill in your sketches (on a new layer) to create a silhouette. Use
smaller brushes to get details around the edges such as the hilt of a
sword or the edge of a boot.
• Pick one of these silhouettes to render out in color
o New Layer > highlights
o New Layer > shadows
o New Layer > colors
o New Layer > details
Use reference images!
Concept artists keep vast collections of images &
books on anatomy, history, nature, fashion, etc.
The best way to make believable, realistic
drawings is to study life!
Fabric is defined by highlights and shadows.
To make your fabric look like it could naturally
flow – make sure the shadow varies on either
side of the fold, one shadow should be larger &
have a more gradual fade.
• Fabric folds will generally flow in straight lines,
when it curves it will fold over itself, creating new
• Not all folds are equal,
each should have varying
sizes and varying amount
• Block in Color
• Use the Burn + Dodge Tools to add:
o Joint/plating details
o Highlight & Shadow
o Specular Highlights
Metal armor is highly reflective. Most often it is jointed,
with overlapping plates. Different areas of the armor will
have different textures- dirt, dents, rivets, tarnish, etc.
One of the best things about working in Photoshop (or
other painting programs) is the ability to work in Layers.
After rendering out the skin tone &
facial details you can paint the
clothing on a new layer.
This way if you want to draw the character in a different
outfit all you need to do is turn off the clothing layer
and try something new!