Character design stuff

putuksstuff:

I think you all know I really love animal character. I probably like animals more than people.

But here’s something that ALWAYS bothers me when people design animal characters. More often than not, you see them having tiny snouts and human hair. They’re practically more like humans with some animal features (nose, fur and ears, usually) added. If there’s something that pisses me off in character design, it’s when people drop human hair on top of an animal and call it a design. ESPECIALLY if it’s an animal that doesn’t even grow fur, such as reptiles or amphibians or invertebrates (although birds might be a better example, since the species I listed are rare to begin with as characters).

It just seems like a super lazy way to make a character more appealing and make them more relatable for us humans. It’s as if the creator cannot even be assed to do more than just do humans, but with animal features and maybe a single behavorial quirk of whatever animal they’re portraying.

Of course, you might wanna call me out here. “What about Papaya, she’s a lizard with hair!” The difference between Papaya and the types of designs I mentioned above is the following: Papaya is a parody. Her design is making fun of and mocking such laziness in character design. That aside, it’s not real hair. Papaya wears a wig.

She’s bald, as a lizard should be. She wears the wig because she’s self-concious about her baldness.

Besides that, Papayas wig doesn’t even give the impression of human hair and her overall features arn’t very humanoid, with an elongated snout and bulging eyes. Her mouth always reaches from one end of the face to another, she cannot contort it much and she doesn’t have lips. I gave her certain elements that would generally be considered “ugly” or “weird”, since I feel most people try to prettify characters too much, so they are, again, conventionally appealing.

Above an example of how I’d handle a cat and what sort of design I’d find lazy and unappealing (note that this is something I slopped together within a few minutes, if I were actually to design a cat character, it’d look better than that). The hair that’s been dropped on top of this example is just in the way. I really don’t like how it gets in the way of the face. Granted, here we’re very much getting into the territory of personal preference, but I feel hair like such is just distracting and detracting from the design.

In pretty much all of my designs there’s a certain movement “backwards”. It’s a bit hard to describe, but my design mentality is to have a certain backwards momentum, in order to prevent elements to be distracting from the design. It also leads to lovely shapes in characters. Animal characters that are very human-ish and have human hair dropped on top of ‘em lack this momentum.

I don’t really have any closing words for this, since I’m not even half as clever as I’m trying to make myself out here. I guess I just wanted to talk about character design a little, since it really bugs me when I see crap like how I described.

Maybe it seems arrogant that I’m listing my own characters as “good” examples, but they’re simply characters designed according to my own tastes. I just really wish people added more “strange” and maybe even “ugly” elements to their character designs and didn’t try to make them way too human when they don’t need to be. If that’s how you’re going to design characters, why not just stick to humans in the first place?