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How to Create Top-Rated Animation Character Design?

Animation has become an integral part of marketing as well as entertainment. As video marketing boomed, so did animation! Marketers and business owners are resorting to video content for promoting their brand. The reason is simple & clear! Animation catches the attention of the viewer in ways text can’t. 

Animation does an excellent job of simplifying the message or idea while making it easier for the viewer to understand. Character design is one of the foremost steps to creating animation. 

Read this piece to learn all the tips & tricks on how to create animated characters to develop the best animation for your project. 

An Overview

There are so many animated characters which we really can’t forget! Think of Spiderman, Superman or Mickey Mouse. These are a few famous characters which are etched in our minds so much that you’ll definitely recognize these characters in any format. This memorability of a character is the core of its design. 

Character design is a lot more than just designing the character. It’s about developing a concept and more importantly a backstory in order to bring the character to life. Character isn’t an art form limited to just illustrators, but various types of artists like animators, video game designers and authors incorporate it into their work. 

A substantial amount of research and hard work goes into creating animated characters that can be globally recognized. 

What is Character Design?

character designs | Domestika

Character design refers to the process of creating and illustrating characters for any type of visual storytelling. These characters are usually used in video games, TV shows, movies, even a comic book, children’s book, or a novel. 

The key to developing a good character design is designing a character that instantly connects with the audience - something that is attention-grabbing and memorable. This is why an artist shouldn’t just focus on making good character designs; but also must thoroughly understand the character’s personality and the story behind it. 

Necessary Steps on How To Create Animated Characters Design

1. Choose a Theme & Research 

Creating a new character design is similar to looking at a blank canvas. It is exciting, yet scary. Not to mention, it can be quite intimidating too! So, don’t get overwhelmed by looking at the complexities, especially if you’re a beginner. Take it slow. 

Think about what you want the audience to feel, perceive or understand when they first see your character. Let this judgement fuel the fundamental theme of your character. 

Simplify your theme into descriptive single-word answers such as retro, western, nerd, villainous, etc. Then, compile a list of details to reinforce whatever theme you pick. 

You can also find inspiration from magazines, or the internet. Your theme may differ based on the character you’re trying to design, whether it’s an animal or human, and the time period they belong to. 

The overall goal of this step is to identify the kind and style of your character. 

2. Create a Backstory

This step involves imagining your character’s life in different stages. Right from the moment they came into existence until they last, and what kind of life you wish them to live. 

A backstory includes all the background details of your character. It’s important to know your character so that you can easily translate this backstory into your design. 

Creating a backstory involves listing out a few important questions about your character. They are: 

  • Who are their parents?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do? Their job
  • What food do they eat?
  • Who’re their friends?
  • What’s their favourite colour?
  • Their daily routine

You can add even more questions to the above list. Preparing this list will greatly help you in coming up with a backstory. 

3. Write Down your Character’s Physical Traits

Once you have an idea of what type of character you prefer to design, you can move ahead with jotting down your character’s traits. Some of the main physical traits are as follows:

  • Age
  • Weight 
  • Height
  • Eye colour
  • Hair colour
  • Physical appearance
  • Marks or scars 

If you invest some time in thinking about your character’s backstory and personality, it benefits your viewers. 

Make sure you’ve a clear answer to these questions before you move ahead as these points will help you determine the nature of your project. 

4. Understanding Different Animated Videos

This step involves knowing the prominent types of character designs to pick the one that best suits your project. 

  • Iconic design - Iconic character designs aren’t so fancy. They are mostly faceless, however they’re attractive. These designs can influence the audience’s minds and heart, regardless of their caste, religion, gender, class, etc. 

These are perfect for corporate videos that try to educate people on different complex concepts. This type of video conveys the message without overhyping any specific characters. 

  • Editorial Style Characters - Such type of character designs are quite visible in newspapers like ‘The New Yorker’. These character designs are quite realistic and minimalistic. They work excellent when portraying elegance. 
  • Pop-style Characters - Pop-style characters are quite common in comic books and cartoons. The purpose of these character designs is to catch everyone’s attention and dominate the screen. They give out a sense of energy when viewed in action. 

5. Begin Sketching 

Once you have properly understood your character, the physical appearance as well as the backstory, you can start drawing. Initially, draw a rough sketch of your character’s general anatomy, the attitude, expressions and more. Mainly, the sketch determines what kind of posture the character will have. 

Now, try to fit your characters into your story. Get some feedback on it. You can also try experimenting again. Even great animators or illustrators go through a trial & error phase before creating the final masterpiece. 

6. Create Poses for your Characters 

If you write a story exceeding the length of 10 minutes, it means you deal with the character in different phases of it. Draw each character and showcase different emotions that must be represented in various stages of the video. 

7.  Animate the Characters

The final step includes animating the characters you’ve designed. Animating refers to giving motion to your characters and testing them out. You’ll be surprised by all that you can learn by observing your character’s movements once you animate it. You can also use character animation after-effects tools to give life to your characters. 

There are many animation maker free or tools available in the market these days. Some of them are Animate CC, Animaker, Toon Boom Harmony, Blender, and Autodesk Maya. 

Apart from this, some of the top animation software maker for kids are Synfig, OpenToonz, Pencil 2D, and Animatron. Tupi is one of the best animated cartoon maker for children as it easily allows them to turn different shapes into colourful animated characters. 

What Makes a Good Character Design?

900+ 2D Characters ideas | character design, character art, character  design inspiration

Like any art form, character design is also subjective. There aren’t any specific rules that define a good or bad character design. It’s not necessarily true that a complex animation character design will be better than a simple one. 

However, there are few fundamental rules that can help you create a good animation character design that is both unique and memorable.

1. Simplicity

Your animation character design shouldn’t lack details, but some beginner designers might get too involved in complexities, which isn’t necessary. Avoid creating a character too detailed or else it would be difficult for you to replicate it throughout your animation project. Try designing a character that’s simpler as it will make it easier for the audience to connect with it. 

2. Visual Interest

A good character must be memorable. In simple words, your character design must be unique from other characters. As an illustrator or designer, don’t hesitate from experimenting with various principles of proportion, colour and exaggeration to build your character’s personality. 

3. Memorability 

Make your animation character design in a way that it becomes easily recognizable anywhere. If you think of different iconic characters like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Shrek, or SpongeBob SquarePants, you already know that these are quite well-known across the world. So, it’s better to create a character design that is clear and has identifiable shapes so that you can define it properly. 


Use this guide as a pathway to create animated characters. I hope you get an idea from this blog on how to go about developing an animated character design for your project. 

Besides, if you’re finding it difficult to come up with a great concept for your character design, try looking online for a character design generator. These are usually free tools that give you an idea. 

In a nutshell, a good character design is about its backstory and other details, rather than just drawing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best free animation app for Android?

Some of the best free animation apps for Android are FlipaClip, Adobe Spark, Toontastic, Animation Desk and Stop Motion Studio. 

2. Can you animate on Android?

Yes, you can definitely animate on Android devices. There are many software and apps available for Android smartphones and tablets. 

3. Can we do animation on mobile?

Yes, absolutely! All major whiteboard animation software have their mobile applications these days for users who wish to create animation on mobile devices

“What we love most about animation is, it’s a team sport, and everything we do is about pure imagination.”


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